There is no stopping Traveller’s Tales in their quest to develop Lego video-games. Their latest attempt is a Lego version of the popular Tolkien masterpiece, Lord of the Rings. Will this Lego version of the battle for Middle-Earth, against the evil Sauron, make the author proud or is it one too many Lego video-games for Traveller’s Tale?
It’s not a surprise that the story for Lego The Lord of the Rings is fantastic. However, it is great to see that it’s a faithful representation of the trilogy. Every part of the trilogy is crammed full of details. Fans will eagerly play through each level to see their favourite characters in action. Anyone that somehow isn’t familiar will also end up being sucked in by the various twists.
Various set pieces make efficient use of key moments from the trilogy. The fight between Gandalf and the Balrog springs to mind.
It’s handy that the characters can talk since it will make the player care for the characters and their various struggles. It’s surprising to see how these Lego counterparts can invoke the sort of emotions that are expected from reading the books.
It’s not just key moments that are included in the experience. Every location has been painstakingly recreated to fit in with the Lego theme. It’s truly inspiring to explore these locations in the rich world of Middle-Earth that Tolkien imagined. It will surely impress anyone exploring some of these locations for the first time.
This is a Lego video-game, so the typical humour is inserted throughout the story. It’s unexpected to see characters being stabbed to death with objects such as a banana. It does make some of the darker moments less serious. However, it’s not enough to ruin these dramatic scenes. It’s a Lego game and it is understandable that Traveller’s Tales wants younger players to also experience it.
It makes exemplary use of the individual character abilities. There are plenty of puzzle sections where these individual abilities are put to good use.
Some of the levels even require that abilities are used in a certain order. One level involves an archer constantly shooting arrows, so Sam and Frodo can progress further. The trio work in conjunction to ensure that the level is completed. It works exceedingly well and is a good use of controlling more than one character.
There’s a lot of items to interact with, and a wheel has been introduced, so it’s possible to hold more than one at any point. This wheel isn’t so user friendly since it takes a short amount of time to switch between items. This becomes a minor issue since it’s all done in real time, and the player must also select which slot to drop a newly picked up item into.
It’s also possible to combine items and make a new item, such as a weapon. It’s an interesting idea since it means players must earn new weapons. Fortunately these special items are highlighted in purple, so players know when to combine them.
As usual for a Lego game, there is a large focus on the puzzle sections. Fortunately these are still enjoyable. It’s never too difficult to figure out how each puzzle works too. But it’s satisfying to get through each one and progress further into a level.
It’s not just puzzles though. There are many levels that involve fighting on a grand scale. It makes sense, considering that much of the later two parts of the trilogy, take part in a war for Middle-Earth.
Fighting the bosses is one of the sections that players will look forward to the most. It’s not particularly challenging though since each boss tends to stick to the same tactics. But being able to fight some of the larger creatures is certainly an unique experience.
There are also on-rail sections where the character is on top of a moving horse or running. These are very enjoyable and compliment the action sections.
Those that prefer a slower pace will surely enjoy some of the stealth based levels. These are certainly one of the highlights. Specially as they make use of key plot elements, such as Frodo’s constant struggle with the infamous ring. Characters basically have to progress throughout a level, whilst attempting to avoid enemies, such as the menacing Ringwraiths.
There is rarely a moment when it stops being an enjoyable experience. It’s very similar to previous Lego video-games, but the introduction of small but effective minor changes, shows Traveller’s Tales isn’t just releasing the same product with a different title.
It’s certainly brave of Traveller’s Tales to release all three titles in one video-game. This is easily one of the longest Lego video-games. Handy checkpoints ensure that the player doesn’t have to play through each level in one sitting too.
Such a rich wide world means that it’s essential to provide the player with a means to easily explore it. That is where Map Stones, scattered all over Middle Earth, come in handy. It’s rather confusing to use these at first, but they provide players with hints on where to find collectibles and also serve as quick travel destinations.
There is certainly plenty of collectibles to find and content to play through. This is a Lego video-game after all. Those interested can even take on quests to find objects for some of the characters. It’s a minor twist on the typical collectibles hunt, but what matters is that it’s still enjoyable to do it.
As usual those that feel inclined to do so, can also play through the story with another player in local play.
It’s not exactly a challenge to finish the story. But it’s done in a such a manner, that even those who have read the books or viewed the films, will feel rewarded by the satisfying build up to the epic conclusion. Lego The Lord of the Rings demonstrates that Traveller’s Tales has the formula perfected, but isn’t afraid to try and improve it.
Tolkien’s classic masterpiece will surely inspire a whole new generation with this classy Lego take on the epic trilogy.