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on November 15, 2012
This game takes place over the course of the three Lord of the Rings books (it does not include the story of The Hobbit). I've been playing it nonstop since I picked it up at launch, and here are a few points of interest:

1. Like the other Lego games, this is a light-hearted version of the story. If changing canon for the sake of a few laughs upsets you, stay away from this one. I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and I found myself laughing quite a bit.
2. The more mature parts are cleaned up for younger players. Carrots in place of beer, milkshakes in place of Hobbit weed - you get the picture. Safe for the kids.
3. Like the more recent Lego Batman 2, there are actual voice actors speaking dialogue during the cutscenes, as opposed to the pantomiming in the earlier Lego games.
4. There are elements of the story from the books, excluded from the movies, which are included in the game. I won't spoil the surprise.
5. A new inventory system lets you collect and combine gear to add a few RPG elements to the game.
6. If you're unsure about picking this up, there is a demo available for the PC. While it is on a different platform, you'll get a general feel for the game.

A great game, and I consider it the best of the Lego series.
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on November 26, 2012
My son and I are big fans of the Lego games. We've played all of them but Indiana Jones 2, which we were advised to avoid. The games are a perfect match of fun, comedy, puzzles, and activities to perform for those who wish to get "100%". This works well for father/son gaming. He wants to blow through the levels and watch the humorous cinematics, I want to go back and meticulously go through every nook and cranny and unlock all the secrets. We play together and by ourselves and everyone is happy.

We love the Lord of the Rings franchise (books, movies, games) and it is a good fit for the Lego gaming experience. The folks at Traveler's Tales Games have really tried to push the envelope of Lego gaming by adding a more open play space, quests and a map function.

This is one of the first titles to use dialogue, Batman 2 being the first. LOTR pulls dialogue directly from the films, including the grunts made during jumps and when fighting. It's a mixed bag. Some scenes it really works but I found that both my son and I missed the 'lego language' of previous games. Not a big deal, just a little issue. The humor level is down a bit from other games. There are occasional sight gags that made us laugh out loud but the jokes are less frequent.

It's more to do with the subject matter but the color palate is pale and muted. When you are walking around you will get lost just like Sam and Frodo. Tan hills, grey hills... Get ready for grey bricks, dark grey bricks, tan bricks, brown bricks, dark brown bricks. I know, it's reproducing medieval fantasy but it gets a little dull busting up chunks of rocks all the time. It must be taxing for the Wii because you will be walking along and the background will suddenly appear. "Oh, we're in Hobbiton, finally."

There are classic silly minigames (lots of goat and pig races) that bring back the lego game flavor. There are powers and people to unlock, getting you access to more and more - this is the part of Lego games that I love. You gain a new guy, go back into freeplay missions and unlock things previously denied to you. There are red bricks to achieve, through world spanning mini-quests offered by people you find around the map. These quests are silly (A woman in Hobbiton says her husband lost the house key in Moria). You find them via freeplay, and you can use them to unlock 'cheats' like stud multipliers, just like you are accustomed to. One new addition is the gold brick has been replaced with Mithril bricks. These can be spent to forge items at the blacksmith's. Many of these items are used to satisfy mini-quests, others help you level the playing field, gaining other character's special powers.

There are special powers that make every character important. Samwise is by far the most valuable character and you get him from the start. Going through the game you will unlock more powers (like when you are gifted the elven rope).

The giant world is both a curse and a blessing. It's really nice to walk around and feel the topography and music change to announce you are in a new zone. Each area has several characters to find and purchase, a handful of mithril bricks, and maybe some new blueprints for the blacksmith. There are also several mini quests to gather in each area.

There is a system to set destinations, making the blue 'ghost bricks' give you a path to follow. It's not always easy to figure out. There are also map statues around to allow you the gracious ability to simply pop over to another statue in a different locale. Walking around you soon discover some of the issues the game has. A compass would be nice. The default camera angle is odd at times and unless you use the d-pad to move around, you'll find yourself walking off bridges and falling off cliffs. Nobody can swim. You are given a few moments to frantically press A to jump back on shore. Woe to someone who falls off a cliff into water. You can end up rebounding back and forth as you slip off the edge again and again. I've also fallen through the earth into blackness before. I recommend waiting. Eventually the game would revert to a nearby saved point. There are sequences where you must hop from point to point or face zooming back to the start. These can be really frustrating due to camera angle.

The screen split is constant when playing two player, which can be confusing. It's hard to coordinate walking together. My son and I were constantly getting separated. You can use C to switch characters but sometimes characters are only available at a given time, meaning you switch to their current location in Middle Earth instead of right where you needed them. An "EVERYONE ON ME" command would have been nice for the world exploration mode.

In closing. The mini quests and tedious world exploration might be frustrating to the younger set, and might not be enough for older gamers accustomed to Skyrim and other traditional rpgs. I like the game but just wish it was a little simpler. I use Lego games for relaxation and bonding with my son. I think they achieved gaming nirvana with the Star Wars complete Saga game. I would have been happy with a game like that, with a LOTR facelift.

[EDIT] We have finished the story mode and finally can play together in the Middle Earth Map. It's still difficult to coordinate movement, and the split screen can make targeting things with the wii remote (Like Legolas's bow) annoying, but at least we are able to use every character we have collected. I'm keeping the review at 3 stars because many of the puzzles are frustrating due to camera position and the fact that nobody can swim (and falling in water sends you back to land, and not the most recent platform you jumped from).
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on November 16, 2012
I pre-ordered this game and have played for several hours already. There are a few changes in the structure of the game which make sense given the story. Like a couple of the other Lego games you have the ability to change characters via a character wheel, which makes it very helpful for several of the puzzles. The map ability is a new and very helpful feature so that you can see where you are and eventually jump from map point to map point. I have not used the inventory feature a whole lot yet, but I can see how it will be useful further on in the game. It seems like Lego is seeing what works and doesn't in the past few games and is improving for customer satisfaction.

Other than a couple of slightly glitchy (which you can't catch everything) or very dark (just turn up the brightness) levels, its a highly enjoyable game for both Lego lovers and fans of the series.
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on November 27, 2012
This game is fun, but a bit more difficult and longer to complete than prior Lego games that I've played (Star Wars and Harry Potters). I'm about 65% complete - finished all story modes, a couple of the free plays, and got most of the white bricks at Middle Earth. Here are my thoughts so far:

- Hearing the actual voices from the movies can be very exciting (e.g. "my preciousssss" (actually captioned with multiple s's)), especially if you are a fan of the movies
- As mentioned by other people, the screen is dark. I had to turn up the brightness to almost 100%
- The new map functions take a bit of time to figure out and get used to
- Like other Lego games, some bugs still exist. Characters still get stuck or fall into darkness sometimes
- The biggest bug with the game is switching between characters. There are several tasks requiring you to switch back and forth between Legolas, Sam, and Gollum. But in single player mode, instead of switching the current character to a desired one, it sometimes switches to the idle character in another location, even if that character was not the one you wanted to switch into. This means if you are climbing on a cliff (e.g. Mount Doom), you keep falling off and will need to start over
- Jumping can be very difficult sometime, and when combined with the bug mentioned in the previous point, can be extremely frustrating
- Unlike other Lego games I've played, simply having the right characters may not be enough to finish a free play. In some levels you will also need to have the right tools forged at the blacksmith to complete a free play. This is an added complexity to the game vs other games

Overall it's still a very enjoyable game and I'd recommend it to any Lego gaming or LOTR fans!
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on December 24, 2012
We have played Lego games for Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Batman. The Lord of the Rings Lego game is the worst of all of these simply because of the glitches, as has been noted in virtually all of the bad reviews. The game hangs at critical times, forcing you to restart levels multiple times and hope that you don't encounter the glitch again. The worst aspect of the game though is that you cannot complete the game because of glitches. In the Dead Marshes, once you collect all three treasures, the computer mistakenly says you have 4 treasures. So it doesn't give you the mithril brick for this achievement. Then you can collect only 199 of the 200 bricks and you cannot finish the game because you need all 200 mithril bricks to make all the mithril objects. Since you cannot make all the mithril objects, you cannot unlock the last character, the blacksmith of Bree. If the glitches are so bad you can't finish the game, the game shouldn't even get one star. This review is for the Wii.
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on December 13, 2012
I have two boys (age 10 and 12) who love Lego and love the Lord of the Rings. When we found out this game was being developed, they could hardly wait for it to arrive. I have to admit that I was pretty excited myself. My kids already have all the other Lego Wii games except the Rock Band one, so we can compare this game to the game play in the other Lego games. If you're familiar with any of the other Lego games, most of the game play is similar, but they've added or changed a few things:

1) There are now quests. After you complete the typical levels, you can approach various minifigures throughout the map and receive a quest. Most of the quests involve getting an item for the minifigure. My kids like these as they were able to beat all the levels within a matter of days, so it continues to keep them busy much longer.

2) There is now a concept of day and night in the map/hub. Certain characters or items are only available during the day or night. You can easily toggle between day and night, but it still adds a new complexity.

3) There are multiple hubs and they're constantly changing and evolving.

4) The characters now have an inventory that they can acquire items and carry them throughout the game.

5) This is now the second Lego game with actual dialogue (Lego Batman 2 being the first).

Finally, if you're familiar with Lego games, you'll know that there are "bugs", or as my kids call them - "glitches", where the screen will freeze and there will be a loud buzz noise, and the only solution is to lose your unsaved progress and restart the Wii. I believe the Lego Harry Potter games were some of the worst on this, and my kids were constantly restarting and getting frustrated. Fortunately, they reported back to me that they've only had it happened once in all the game play in Lego LOTR and they've been playing for many, many hours.

I definitely recommend this Lego game!
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on December 6, 2012
I have played most of the Lego Wii games. My husband and I are in our 30's and it is one of the only Wii series that we play together. Lego is always able to bring their own humor to a familiar story line. As the games have evolved Lego has played a lot with the multi player screen performance. Lord of the Rings (LOTR) takes advantage of the screen splitting so you don't have your friend or spouse dragging you away from that one last bush you need to destroy (Star Wars). However this release is very buggy which is disappointing. On many levels (we just finished the story affiliated with the 2nd book / movie) even when you and the other player are in the same area the screen is still split which makes it a little weird. Bugs aside there is another annoying aspect of LOTR, when playing multi player, for much of the game play you and your friend aren't even in the same area of middle earth and are playing two different levels at the same time rather than the joint interaction I have so enjoyed about games past. i.e. Player 1 cycles through 2 or 3 party members to complete their level objectives and Player 2 cycles through 2 or 3 different charters to complete a parallel level. My final gripe is that middle earth is a bit daunting... There is no Leaky Cauldron / Diagon Alley to return to and find all your shops for extras and unlocks. Instead you wander around ALL OF middle earth trying to remember where you say something and what you need to do to find some of those extras that make Lego game play so much fun. Ok I lied one more small gripe... By using sound bites from the movies I feel as some of Lego's creativity was inhibited as the cut scenes are more Lego Frodo's acting out the scene rather than Lego's hysterical "interpretation" of the story line.

Unfortunately pluses are few for this game. ..
1. Game play is what you come to expect from Lego with smashing and charter switch to accomplish goals
2. Graphics are very well done
3. Game play time is lengthy so it's worth the $
If you are looking for a good Lego Game I recommend India Jones or the Harry Potter games as they have been the most fun for us.
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on December 9, 2012
Okay, let me say I am an AVID fan of both the lego wii series games and of LOTR, even more so. The only reason I gave this item 2 stars is BECAUSE it's lotr! To start, the good. It's set up pretty different than other lego games in the way you earn your items such as bricks and whatnot but I really like the scenery and the music and I LOVE that you could actually WALK from Bag End to Mordor in fifteen minutes (what were these hobbits complaining about ;) It's fun to be all the characters and to basically be inside of a tolkein world. Having said that,and onto the bad, this game is FULL of GLITCHES!!!! Literally making it so frustrating to play that it's practically impossible to play. Now, for those of us used to the Lego games we're seasoned in the annoying camera angles and the typical awkward maneuvers that would be easy in any other video game but because of the graphics and positions in lego games can be hard to tell exactly what you're looking at sometimes. But this game is unbelievable. A few examples: everywhere you go past the pretty beginning is of course full of rocks and rough terrain, problem is that someone didn't do their proper testing and you can literally fall into a crevice and get stuck in a myriad of places (and it seems almost EVERY time you use gollum this happens, SOOOO frustrating to the point where you're jumping up and climbing something and you're deathly afraid you'll fall, not because you'll die (come on, it's a lego game) but because you'll get stuck and have to switch to your second character and go to another area wait for your fallen buddy to rejoin you. This is soooooo frustrating. Another horrible glitch arises when you have to use multiple characters together to climb to gain an item. So each character can do an individual thing just like the other games, so for example when you're climbing the side of a tower for a brick and you need to have Sam's rope to climb, then switch to gollum to climb a wall and then Legolas to shoot arrows to jump on,and you have to keep changing between them but unfortunately if you don't press the C button with PERFECT timing and in the exact right way it instead switches you to your duo character and while you frantically try to switch back (which on towers for some reason has a delay reaction sometimes to switching unlike on the ground) the character you had climbing jumps down. Try this one about ten times and you'll have a total freak out. And the list goes on. As others have said it also takes FOREVER to load, but I could deal with this for an LOTR based game.
Oh and lastly, on the actual game play (I usually don't even care about this in these games, I rush through them and then the fun for me is going back and beating everything and collecting which I'm sure is the same for everyone else who likes Lego games) but this one is soooo basic and REPETITIVE!!! How many levels are going to have the same fighting scenario over and over. I couldn't believe how unimaginative this game was. It's obvious they're just cashing in. What a bummer, it had so much potential.

Basically, here's the deal, was it worth buying? I don't know. I love the LOTR so much maybe it was worth the money just to be able to run around middle earth and be my favorite characters. What was NOT worth it was my time being hair pulling frustrated because a system glitch MADE me have to start again. This I just CAN'T take. I literally started playing again (I'm about 50% through total completion of the game so far) tonight to just run and do a couple quick things because I didn't want to get burned out or frustrated. I literally went to get the first brick I needed and the glitch on changing characters sent me back three times. I decided to write this review because now that I have the game I feel like I will have to finish it because once I start a game that's how it goes. But really, if I could go back, I'd rather not have even bought it. Ignorance was bliss. Buyer beware. Lotr happiness with lego game furry.
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on December 26, 2012
We own every Lego Wii game (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) We love them. This one is a little more difficult to figure out without looking up tips and tricks on line. The graphics are also very dark, which made it difficult to see clearly.
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on January 22, 2013
I have been a fan of LEGO and Lord of the Rings for a long time, so naturally when i heard of LEGO's adaption of LOTR universe i was quite exited, even more so when i found out of the game, and i have to say that it is a far greater experience than i tought...

Based on Peter Jackson's film trilogy, the game represents the Middle-earth seen on the movies from the forest, mountains and landscapes to the most well known lanmarks, like the Shire, Edoras, Minas Tirth and even Mordor, all of them amaizingly well recontruscted, all in marvelous LEGO style.The game uses the same music present on the films, wich fits perfectly with each of the stages and situations in the game, like the peaceful and tranquil tune from the Shire and the epic sounds from the great battles.Like it was in LEGO Batman 2 the game feature voiced characters, whose lines are all taken from the movies wich makes it feel just like it was in the films.

The Best of all is the gameplay, while it certanly retains most of the elements of the previous games, it introduces new elements that makes a compleatly new gaming experience.First of all the game takes place in a large open overworld where the player can freely explore Middle-earth, with the missions located in the points where the events took place in the story.Missions are virtualy the same as in other games, where players have to make use of the characters at their disposal to solve puzzels and overcome other obstacles, but this game brings a new additon.Now characters have accses to an inventory and different items that varies from character to character, like Gandalf who uses his wizzard staf and the sword Glamdring. Depending on the situation it will require a certain character and a certain item to move forward, this makes a more varied gameplay that will require the use of different charactersand items.Through the game are items called Mithril Bricks, wich are used to create new items, some of great utillity, others just for plain fun.The variety of caharcters is huge as the game features about 80 playable characters, from the most well known, like the members of the fellowship, to charcters not included in the films, such as Tom Bobadil or Radagast the Brown.Aside from the story missions, theres much to see and do in the large world of Middle-earth, scattered all over the land are new characters and items to obatain, as well as special side quest given by NPCs.Finally the co-op mado has been retouched as well, the screen now splits whenever the players separate, giving a more independient and focused play.It will also serve when there are simultaneous events, an exaple of this is the mission of Moria, after falling whith the Blarog the first player must battle the beast with Gandalf as they drop into the subterrain lake, while the second player must search the exit of the mines with the rest of the characters.

LEGO Lord of the Rings is deffently one of, if not the best LEGO game so far.Visually is very good and the animations are very fluid, the music and voices taken from the movies makes it more authentic, but the gamaplay is truly it's strongest point, with so many characters, collectables, missions and side quests the game's replay value is great, all of it togheder with the humor that LEGO games are well known for.Overall is fantastic game that shouln't be overlooked, especially by any fan of LOTR or LEGO, it's a great gaming experience and you won't regret that you give it a try!
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