People say that once you’ve played one Lego game, you’ve played them all. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each new game Travellers Tales, the company behind the Lego games, has added proves to be a fun addition to the rich and charming formula. Lego Lord of the Rings, the latest installment, is no exception.
When I first started up the game, I’ll admit I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure I liked the open world and way the game was played. I was a little upset that they had changed so much. However, after about an hour of gameplay, I was sold. The open world of Middle-Earth is riddled with secrets and places to explore, like caves, time challenges, dancing skeletons, characters to buy and studs to collect. The world is big, spanning the locations from all three films, and to get around faster there are map stones littered around the world. Find one and you can fast travel to that location from anywhere at any time, making it VERY simple to walk into Mordor.
By either finding them or by completing certain challenges around Middle-Earth, you will be awarded mithril bricks, shiny silver bricks that can be used to craft special items in the blacksmith in Bree. Items like a pair of music boots, shoes that when worn play a song from Lord of the Rings, a mithril rope, which can be used to access certain areas, and a whistle sword, which is basically a flute that makes a sound when swung.
By completing levels in the game you will unlock characters to buy like Galadriel, Radagast the Brown, and of course Bilbo Baggins. These characters are purchased using studs, little lego bricks that can be picked up around the world and in levels. There are 53 characters to buy, out of 84 in the entire game.
Also around Middle-Earth are characters who will give you quests to complete, like finding an item in a certain level or crafting something at the blacksmith. Once you return with the required item, the character will give you either a mithril brick or an extra you can buy, something like invincibility or the ability to multiply all the studs you pick up by two.
In previous Lego games all the characters pantomimed the action because none of them had voices. In Lego Lord of the Rings the dialogue from the films was used, so when Gandalf screams at the Balrog that it shall not pass, what you are hearing is Ian Mckellen’s voice taken directly from the films. Most of the time this works, but every now and then the voices sound completely out of place, and it kind of ruins the moment. Overall, however, it adds a lot to the story. Due to its expansiveness, The Lord of the Rings is the kind of thing that is near impossible to pantomime, so it makes sense for Travellers Tales to deviate from their usual licenced stories in this way. Also through the game world the music from Lord of the Rings plays, and it adds an extra element to the game.
If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings series, or just love the Lego games, Lego Lord of the Rings is one to consider. Despite minor voice slip-ups and some repetitiveness in a few levels (I’m looking at you, Dead Marshes) this game is one of the best Lego games out there, with so much to explore and do I’m not even sure I will ever fully complete it.