Today at 2.30am I finished Lego Lord of the Rings (LOTR) on PS3 to 100% completion. As you may recall from a previous post, I love Lego games for their ease of gaining 100%. Lego LOTR takes the already excellent formula of Lego games, combines it with the epic awesomeness of the LOTR trilogy and takes everything up another notch.
Lego LOTR differs (and I think improves) on past games by including the movie voiceovers instead of the usual Lego voiceless sounds. This actually really drew me into the game more than any other in the franchise, because it was like watching the movies again. I actually found myself tearing up and getting emotional at the same scenes I do with the movies – but this time, I was crying over cartoony Lego characters! I think that says a lot for how well the game was put together.
A big change with this Lego game is the may system. Instead of heading to a central hub to restart levels and shop for characters and bricks, you roam the whole of Middle Earth. Each area is a mini version of the location from the movies/books and you can smash things to your heart’s content, or undertake challenges to unlock mithril bricks (more on them later).
The game also adds in Quest missions, which require you to locate or forge a specific item for a character on the world map, then bring it back to them for a reward (either a mithril brick or an unlocked red brick to buy). The treasure items and designs for the blacksmith are located within the story mode of the game, so there is, like all Lego games, plenty of replayability in the level chapters.
In Bree, the next town over from Hobbiton, you find the blacksmith, who will take your hard earned mithril bricks and forge them into an item from a design you find in story (or freeplay) mode. These items can be used for Quest fulfilment but also unlock abilities for other characters, meaning you aren’t required to use a certain character for a certain task (e.g. the mithril tinderbox allows anyone to start a fire, not just Sam).
The game is very addictive and satisfying, and that’s why I played until 2.30am (after playing hard for several days). All up the game took about 3 weeks for me to complete and I enjoyed just about every minute of it. The only downsides of the game that I would comment on are the jump mechanics, the camera, rescue mechanics and general glitchiness.
I found that jumping could be VERY annoying in that sometimes the mechanics didn’t work as expected. The most irritating times were over water, or when up very high – requiring you to work you way all the way back again. The camera angle often would not allow you to see where you were going, which meant jumping could sometimes be a bit of a leap of faith. And when you had to jump to very small platforms, this got old fast.
As to the rescue mechanics, where if you fall in the water it will throw you back to the shore, this often proved a bit random. There was a spot in Rivendell that I kept falling in the water and it would sometimes throw me back to the tower I was hanging on, or to the starting shore, but NEVER to the closest shore (where I wanted to go). This got me to my rage point on several occasions!
And the only other negative to mention was the general glitchiness – mostly with loading screens freezing, or when changing character. I had to eject the disk, reinsert it, and wait for my PS3 to reboot to rectify this. This was mostly just irksome, except for the time it did it in the middle of a chapter and my half an hour gameplay was just wiped out.
But please don’t let those few negative criticisms turn you off this game. It is thrilling, exciting, fun, humourous, emotional, challenging, satisfying and all kinds of awesome and you should get it and play it no questions asked!
And finally, a tip. Once you forge the Disco Mithril Phial, equip it, stand still, turn up your TV volume and let it play and play and play. You can thank me later!