Lego The Lord of the Rings is developer TT Games’ best Lego game yet. It doesn’t offer much in terms of plot twists or even anything especially new on the gameplay front, but it does a wonderful job of staying true to the source material while replicating the cheeky Lego humour from other games in the series. It tells a familiar tale, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing: Lego The Lord Of The Rings does too much right to have its quality diluted by the repetitiveness of its experience.
After successfully translating the likes of Star Wars and Harry Potter into humorous parodies set in Lego block worlds, this open-world adventure is as magical and engrossing as the source material it’s based on. Seeing the iconic world of Hobbiton transformed into a detailed Lego world for the first time is both hilarious and endearing. Exploring this new take on Middle Earth is without a doubt the best aspect of the experience.
This fantastic rendition of the world is further complemented by the game’s explosive opening sequence that takes obvious inspiration from Peter Jackson’s complex but memorable battles in the award-winning films. The game isn’t overly reliant on these moments, but this part, in particular, does a fantastic job of introduce us to the experience ahead. In that regard, it sets up the tale and adventure just as well as the films do.
Lego game worlds typically aren’t noticeably large in scale, and while this game is certainly not big on a GTA scale, the fantastic visuals and presentation do a great job of presenting a world that is expansive, albeit restricted, but never quite limiting in what you can do: there’s always enough to explore.
The presentation is fantastic and the world brilliantly designed, and while this game won’t take you nearly as long to complete as it would to read the source material or watch the films, it’s compressed perfectly to make for a well-paced experience.
Lego The Lord of the Rings’ main story campaign has players exploring the world, completing objectives and finding a seemingly infinite number of collectibles. That’s what Lego games have always been about: exploration, combat and puzzles. You can blast through the campaign, but that’s not what this experience is about: there are so many goodies to find, and the world invites you to explore. If you don’t, you’re not really embracing the Lego game experience.
The experience shares many of its core mechanics with its Lego game predecessors, but the scope has been enhanced to accommodate the material’s expansive world. Characters can carry more items and also have access to a treasure trove, where they can hunt for new items and craft tools using stuff found in the world.
It immaculately manages to replicate the playful act of building so commonly affiliated with Lego and perhaps does it even better than other games in the series thanks to its crafting and enhanced storage options.
There is fantastic collaboration between the source material and the humorous tone found in other Lego games. The Lord of the Rings faithful should definitely appreciate the game’s modest slapstick tone that never goes too far beyond respecting the source material.
Lego The Lord Of The Rings is, like others in the Lego series, hampered by repetitiveness. How you interact with the world and the progression of the experience doesn’t really evolve beyond the initial few hours, which is disappointing. These games have always had the capacity to dilute the relevance of that repetitiveness with charm, humour and just all-round fun gameplay, and thankfully, this game maintains that consistency.
That repetitiveness feels even less prevalent when playing this game cooperative. There’s no restriction forcing players to stay together in a level, and as most puzzles need to be completed twice, it makes split-screen gaming an important implementation. If players are too far apart, the game simply splits into two screens so that each player can see their respective areas. It makes the cooperative experience feel more like an open-world adventure where characters aren’t restricted by the actions of the corresponding player.