on November 19, 2012
I never played any of the LEGO games before this, but always thought they looked like fun. They already have LEGO Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean, so I wondered when they were going to make LEGO Lord of the Rings. Being a HUGE LOTR fan, I had to get this.
For the first 2 or 3 hours, I was a little disappointed. I think my expectations were too high due to all the hype. Some previews were saying things like "this isn't just the best LEGO game, it may be the best LOTR game" and how it was going to be open world. One person called it "Skyrim for kids". It's not the best LOTR game...it's too condensed and too simple, and it really isn't what I consider "open world". Yes you can explore off the path and you can revisit locations as you wish, but you can't go too far and you can't for example take a different route to get to Mordor than they took in the book/movies. Some areas are fairly big while others are really small. Rivendell is pretty big, while Bree is like 4 or 5 houses, then when you leave you literally turn a corner, go over a hill, and there's Weathertop.
Once I got about 5 hours in though, I cast aside my preconceived expectations and began just having a blast. The cutscenes are HILARIOUS. I've laughed out loud so many times. It's a really fun game, and addicting. I like how you actually get to play as Isildur and fight Sauron at the beginning, and fight Saruman and the balrog as Gandalf, and get to play as FREAKING TREEBEARD and just step on orcs, and as Faramir and try to take down the oliphaunts! It covers the entire story and lets you play most of the memorable scenes. The fighting is a bit on the easy side (it's kind of like Fable 2 & 3 where you can't really "die", you just lose some money every time, which could have been used for buying new and better equipment), but there are puzzles that have had me stumped. It doesn't hold your hand and show you what to do.
As of this review I'm only halfway through The Two Towers, but seeing as how I haven't been able to find many reviews online I wanted to let people know how it is. If you're a fan, get it. It's a really good game and does the source material justice. There are little easter eggs in there that only big fans would get, like how Tom Bombadil is an unlockable character, and Peter Jackson makes a cameo in Bree (eating a carrot). I'm 30-years-old btw so you don't have to be a kid to enjoy this. Just don't expect "Skyrim for kids" or "the best LOTR game ever", but it's way better than most of the tie-in games that have been coming out in the last few years. I give it a 4/5.
UPDATE: I've now finished the Story Mode. It will take you about 9-12 hours depending on if you try to collect everything, but after you finish it tells you that you're only about 30% done with the game. Now you begin Free Play Mode and can now roam freely around Middle Earth collecting things and doing sidequests. There's also at least one bonus level (that I've discovered so far) that may be the best thing in the whole game...You get to play as Sauron, and the entire map of Middle Earth is now built out of LEGOs, not just the people. It's a lot smaller than in the Story Mode though. You go around with your mace and smash Minas Tirith, Edoras, Rivendell, Lothlorian, Bree, and Hobbiton into little LEGO bricks. The Mouth of Sauron follows you around as your companion. You can send the LEGO villagers flying with your mace...and there are sheep that you can ride around on as you spread your fear. So much fun. Anyway, it's a short game, but fun. The most open area in the game is Rohan/Gondor which is all one field but much too small for Rohan AND Gondor. You can see every landmark (Edoras, Helm's Deep, Isengard, Minas Tirith, and Mordor) on the horizon no matter where you're standing.
on December 1, 2012
As a grown man in my 20's, I bought this game because I wanted something lighthearted and entertaining to play. I truly love LOTR, still own my Legos from childhood, and own several other Lego inspired video games and this game is already my favorite Lego game. For parents considering purchasing this game, be mindful that the game is intended for children 10 and up. There isn't anything vulgar or too mature for younger children, but I would say that some of the puzzles and objectives may be too advanced for a younger child to figure out on their own. However, if you willing to try the game for yourself, this could be a fun bonding experience.
What you need to know about this game:
1) Prepare to collect studs. Lego games consist of destroying objects throughout the environment to collect studs (think coins) that can be used to purchase additional characters, items (weapons, tools, etc), and unlocks that make the game easier (stud multipliers, quest finders, etc.) These characters and items can the be used during free play to access areas that were not accessible during the main narrative. Ultimately, this system adds a lot of replay value to the game, although it can be frustrating at times because it is sometimes unclear as to what character and item you need to access these areas. There is often a bit of trial and error.
2) Don't skip the cutscences. Even if you know the LOTR by heart and have seen the movies, it really is worth watching these scenes. It is nice that the the producers used the actual voices and dialogue from the films to bring this game to life, but what is particularly great about these scenes are the creative liberties they take. I couldn't help but laugh when the rings being depicted are bigger than the Lego characters' hands or to see Legolas comb Gimli's beard when he wasn't looking. Sure these things are highly ridiculous and inaccurate, but that is part of the fun of this game. Just enjoy it for what it is.
3) You can co-op with a friend, sibling, or spouse. My fiancee and I decided to join forces on this quest and really has been fun for both of us. The nice thing about working with someone else is that we can collect studs and find hidden items much faster because the environments are really large (arguably larger than any other environment in the Lego universe). The other thing about co-oping is that if we both want to go off an explore separate portions of the environments, the screen will go from a full screen (as long as we are close together) to a split screen. This is a good feature because you are not tethered to partner the whole time.
Drawbacks to the game:
1) During co-op, sometimes you'll actually damage your partner as you attack approaching enemies. There is no life penalty for "killing" your partner, but before they respawn, they drop a lot of studs you have collected that will need to be quickly recollected before they disappear. If you trying to reach "True Adventure status" on each level (basically collect enough studs to completely fill a gauge at the top of the screen) this can be problematic.
2) Split-screen can sometimes make it difficult platforming (jumping from one object to the next) because it can be hard to gauge distance and direction. If you fall off the map, you lose some studs. Although, there is an option where you can change split-screen to vertical cut through out the game which could make things easier.
3) The instruction manual for the game (provided in the game case) provides bare minimal explanation of the features of gameplay. Luckily, there are in-game instructions that appear at that bottom of the screen and statues that tell you where hidden items can be found. However, figuring out how to buy items, where to buy items, and how to get to where you need to go next can still be difficult if you haven't played a Lego game before. When stuck, you can always look up how to complete objectives online.
With all that being said, if you are a LOTR purist, then this game may not be up to your standards because it does not depict every nuisance and detail from Tolkien's tale, but if you can accept the game for what is designed to be--an entertaining way to re-experience Middle Earth--then this game is quite fun and worth owning. I am certainly glad I purchased it and I hope others will be too!
on February 19, 2013
Let me start by saying I absolutely love the Lego games. I've played a ton of them (Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Batman, Pirates) and have never had a bad experience. There are always parts that are a little challenging, and even parts that became frustrating, but I could always get through them before I wanted to hurl my controller through the TV. This was not the case with Lego LOTR.
First, the good. As with all Lego games, Lego LOTR is very clever in the way that it has turned the LOTR world into a Lego world. Unlike some people, I didn't necessarily have a problem with the whole map being one big hub, although I do wish that the Red Brick system had been a little more straightforward (the quest, get object, craft object, go back to the person, get brick, buy brick was so much more complicated than the old "find red brick, buy red brick" system). The levels were well-designed, and the cut scenes were funny, although they could have been funnier if they hadn't just pulled dialogue straight from the movies (this wasn't a deal breaker by any means, and frankly LOTR is a little heavier material-wise than say Indy or Pirates). The game play and puzzles were (for the most part) right in line with all the other games, and the puzzles themselves were (again, for the most part) challenging without being frustratingly so. I collected all the achievements and (mostly) had fun doing so. The mithril brick collection, design collection and crafting added an interesting new dimension to things and made them a little more involved.
Now for the bad. The inability of the characters to swim (or of the game to give them some means to walk on water) is not necessarily annoying in and of itself. However, when the game gives you five lilypads you have to bounce across and no way to really master doing so, then makes you go back to the beginning every single time you fall in the water... then the lack of swimming/bypassing ability becomes frustrating beyond belief. And there is no way to avoid having to attempt this. In a couple places, you *must* do it in order to get to a quest or mithril brick. I had to attempt one section for what must have been forty-five minutes (I went back to it several times) before I could get it done. This goes beyond challenging and into the realm of ridiculous.
Another issue is that, unlike other lego games, this one won't let you have two of the same character at the same time. For instance if you are playing single player, and one of your characters is Legolas, it won't let you turn the other one into Legolas, even when you've unlocked free play and can select any character you want. This means that if you get to the top of a tower it took a while to conquer and suddenly need the skills of a particular character, there are times you can't switch to them and the game instead forces you back to the other character who is sitting at the bottom of the tower... which makes the first character tumble off the top of the tower and you have to start all over again. I don't really understand why the creators felt this was necessary, and most of the time it's only mildly annoying, but there were a few times when I literally had to stop playing for a bit because I got so frustrated with this mechanic (yes, it can be bypassed with a little modifying of characters before starting the puzzle, but the point is you shouldn't have to do that when every other Lego game has allowed two of the same character to be present at the same time).
The last problem is with the wizard mechanic. I admit I didn't finish the Harry Potter Lego games, but I don't remember the wizard controls (where you have to use a wizard to control an object and place it somewhere specific) being so touchy. In one particular area, you must put a set of bricks into a certain configuration in order to get a minikit. The problem is that the controls are so touchy that the slightest tap of the analog stick in either direction sends the brick much farther than you want. There is no option for fine movement. This wouldn't be so awful, except that the game DEMANDS that you have the pieces in PRECISELY the correct place. It can't just look like the guide illustration all the pieces have to be stacked exactly correctly. Once, I had the shape correct but one piece was off by so little I couldn't see it until I walked up to my 36 inch HD flatscreen and squinted at it. Another issue: there was no way to specifically choose which piece you wanted to adjust, so you essentially had to point yourself randomly towards it and hope the icon to select it came up.
I generally try not to let one little section of a game color my perception of it, and honestly this was the only part of the game where the wizard controls needed to be that finely tuned (every other time you can kind of just throw the pieces into a rough configuration and it's fine), but I probably wasted an hour of my life trying to get this thing exactly correct, and that is just plain bad for a game that's supposed to be for fun. Maybe I was just not doing it right, or maybe I was the only one who had this issue, but it was a definite problem for me. Either the game should've made the controls better or the puzzle slightly more forgiving. Especially since by collecting that minikit I got the last mithril brick, which allowed me to forge the last mithril object, which allowed me to unlock the last character, which allowed me to 100% the game.
Anyway, this game is a great example of a really fun experienced being rendered less so by just one or two things that feel like they could've been corrected with a little thought.
on April 9, 2013
Having played most (but not all) of the LEGO video games, from the very first LEGO Star Wars clear through LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, I've seen how these games have changed since the first release.
LEGO and Traveler's Tales team up again on this release, and the tandem really outdid themselves. I can tell that a lot of the mechanics of this game were based on the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean release from the previous year. The split-screen (which has been a multiplayer feature since the first iteration of LEGO Harry Potter, I believe) is still around, and the use of prolonged cinematic scenes, which harken from LEGO PotC, are another staple of this release, though the main difference between the cinematic scenes of LEGO PotC and LEGO LotR is the inclusion of dialogue from the movies. For instance, Galadriel (one of the elves) narrates the story of the creation of the One Ring and therefore lays out some of the history of the franchise. Players get to play through the "prologue" too, based on her narration. The back-and-forth between Gimli the dwarf and Legolas the elf is also still included; during the "Battle of Pelennor Fields" level in "Return of the King," we hear some of the wisecracks between the two that we also heard during the movie.
There are several things that LEGO has done right with their video games - the fact that when your character dies, for instance, there is no major penalty: instead, you lose a bit of in-game money, fall apart, and then respawn where you left off.
The replay value of these games is high as well. Scattered throughout each level in areas that appear (at first) inaccessible are numerous treasures and in some cases "secret areas," and if players want to complete the game, they'll have to go back through each stage in "free play" mode and reach the areas. Luckily, the game affords players the ability to purchase characters for use in free play mode.
Similar to previous releases, different characters in the game have different abilities; for instance elves have the best jumping ability in the game, and there are also several characters who have more strength (physically) than others.
Continuing the tradition from the first LEGO Indiana Jones release, there are several hints (usually along the bottom of the screen) that help you along as you go. With LEGO LotR, there is an inclusion of an invisible trail of blue pieces that lead players on the correct path toward the next stage (for instance, from the village of Bree to Mount Weathertop). Players can, however, "journey off the beaten path" and collect coins and stuff.
LEGO LotR adds to the experience by allowing users to set various points on the map as "destinations," and the "blue trail" will lead the way to whatever stage players have set as the destination. (This is handy when unlocking characters, which must be done at various stages, as there is no "in-game" area where unlockable characters walk around as in the previous releases).
A previous reviewer also mentioned the bonus level, wherein players get to control (and, at the end, unlock) Sauron. This is a very fun bonus level, because the goal is to collect coins... the "traditional" LEGO way - by smashing the level to pieces. And there is no shortage of stuff to smash to bits in this bonus level, which recreates Tolkien's Middle-Earth. Smashing it with Sauron is particularly enjoyable, as is visiting prior levels in "free play" mode with Sauron.
Some of the downsides of this game - the in-game hints can, at times, get annoying, but not to the point where they detract from the overall gameplay experience. The fact that characters must be "hunted down" before unlocking them is a bit of a downside too, though the upside is that it allows players to explore areas where they may not have collected all the hidden treasures.
Bottom line - if you've played any of the previous LEGO releases, this one definitely will not disappoint. Even if you haven't played any of them, but are a fan of Lord of the Rings, this game will still be a pleasant surprise. This game is awesome, and deservedly so. I recommend it to people of all ages - not just kids, but people in general. Anyone and everyone can have fun with this game.
on November 24, 2012
Let me start out by saying that I used to despise LEGO games. But the improvements made starting with LEGO Batman 2 made it into a very decent game, and further refinement in LEGO LoTR make it an outstanding game. It is saying something when a LEGO game does better justice to the LoTR universe and has better cutscenes and story design than most "serious" LoTR games that have been released. That not only makes this my favorite LEGO series game, but my favorite LoTR game ever (and I've tried them all.) Very impressive accomplishment! My only annoyance is that I have no idea how to break certain locks/doors, etc. I know they require certain characters, but the game almost never indicates what character can do it. Needs an official strategy guide badly, but oddly one doesn't exist yet.
I ordered this for my daughter, who loves everything LEGO, and is collecting these games for her XBox 360. In comparison to her non-lego Lord Of the Rings, she finds this easier to play, less frustrating, and just as challenging. As I watched her play, I can see the enjoyment. Colorful, and provides hours of entertainment. Highly recommended!
on October 7, 2014
We love the lego games and I am a longtime fan of LOTR however this is not our favorite Lego game - mainly because the cut scenes are so numerous and totally break up the flow of the gameplay - seriously it's way over the top -- you'll be playing for about 5 minutes and then have to watch a 3 minute cut scene that you can't skip. Over and over again.
In addition, a lot of the scenes have washed out colors - I know its Mordor and all but can we get some color in here?
Too much of the gameplay is forced and formulaic - sure other Lego games also have specific things to accomplish but in Lego LOTR it's so forced and always requires a specific character that you are constantly working on only doing what's required of you and not really able to enjoy any freelancing like in other games. It's just not that fun.
That said, if you are a true LOTR ring you will appreciate basically being able to watch an entire Lego LOTR movie while you play this -- and again because you can't skip the cut scenes you will watch it whether you like it or not!!
I am a huge fan of LOTR so I was over the moon when this product was announced. However, I have to say that it lacks the simplicity of previous games such as Lego Batman. The open world concept is a bit challenging when you take in the epic story and characters. Essentially you play through the entire story in story mode, and then you may replay parts of the story in Free Play mode. That does feel odd since you are essentially taking other characters where they wouldn't have been in the books. But if you are enormously attached to the books, this game may bother you as it had to make changes in order to accommodate two players at all times. In order to have two players, new characters are introduced or characters may appear earlier than they would have otherwise. The story follows the movie closely, with identical voice acting.
Two of the standout parts of the game are the Ent battle, and when Sam saves Frodo in the orc castle. I enjoyed the novelty of the first, and the puzzles and humor of the latter. The game is rife with humor, a lego trademark. The earlier parts of the game are more of a visual delight, with the elf settlements and Hobbiton. I enjoyed the game much more in this earlier part, then when the landscape became pretty much the same later on. But then, Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite book of the three.
Following Golem through the swamps is one of the most annoying sections of the game, along with some of the battles (the oliphants!). Sometimes it felt like every battle was also a puzzle. Some of these are easier if you have two players, as when you play single-player, the second "player" doesn't play very effectively.
The interface is more challenging than previous games, since now you have inventory. It isn't always obvious how to access your inventory. There are many characters to choose from, and buy, but it's not always easy to figure out how to swap characters. Sometimes the character you swap goes into the player 2 spot. Some puzzles are extraordinarily annoying (certain jumping sequences especially) in a way that I don't recall from previous Lego games. And every major story scene had some annoying battle where you had to do a certain sequence of movements. After the first runthrough, one has no desire to repeat these experiences, especially if many minutes were spent trying to figure out what to do while being killed by a troll repeatedly. Once you know how to do it, there's no challenge - it's just rote repetition. Ironically, it's more of a challenge than some previous lego games where battle is just button-mashing, but sometimes when a girl comes home from work, she just wants to button-mash and beat up bad guys.
The game does have lots of tips to help you on your way. There are infinite ways to achieve things. Again, this goes to the lack of simplicity that made previous Lego titles so great. The concept is that - in addition to each of the characters having special powers - you can also craft and acquire items that give you the ability to do things.
Definitely this game will reach a more adult audience than lego Batman, with the scope of the story and the depth of the horror. Lego of course makes it lighter and less violent than the original. I think that's why Lego chose to make the game more complex, complicated, and wide-ranging.
Overall, I will give the game three stars because unlike Lego Batman, I do not wish to replay every scene to get the maximum score and items. The massive scale and number of things to do overwhelms me, and I actually dread my son asking us to play it again. It just doesn't have the fun factor. We played Lego Batman for months. I don't see the point of playing this game for months. It's too big to appreciate the small victories along the way. it's too difficult to figure out how to replay previous levels. Overall, I just had trouble making the adjustment. Although I do play complex games on my own (like Assassin's Creed, Dragon Age, etc), when I want to play a game with my child, I don't want it to be hard for ME to figure out, because that makes it less fun for both of us.
on November 13, 2012
Lego has come so far with these games since they were first introduced. This one has full voice acting, great music, quests, and follows the movies very well. Great fun for the family, had my 6yr old playing with me no problem. Get it, its that good.
on November 14, 2012
This is a great game for anybody despite the whole LEGO feel. I'm in my 20s and I'm enjoying the game all the same. It tells the LOTR story that we all love with the dialogue from the movies and the music and all. It has a cool open world aspect where you can explore zones and do quests that I've not seen in a LEGO game before. If you enjoyed other LEGO games or are a LOTR fan you will undoubtedly enjoy this one too. Check it out.