Thursday, 13 December 2012

Lego: The Lord of the Rings - Review (Xbox 360)

This game is suitable for Little Gamers

The Lego series of games have seen the little plastic people and bricks tackle the Empire in Lego: Star Wars, fight crime in Gotham city with Lego: Batman, Explore the halls of Hogwarts with Lego; Harry Potter and even sail the seven seas with Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean. It started to look like the series was going to run out of licences. Then back in the summer, just before the launch of Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, TT games released a teaser to their newest addition to the Lego family.

Lego: The Lord of the Rings.

Quite an undertaking for a series of essentially platform based, collect em ups. Would Travellers Tales be able to capture the emotion, the action and the sheer epic scale of the world of Middle-Earth. most importantly would the game be able to replicate the journey of the fellowship and their various paths on their quest to defeat Sauron and destroy the One Ring.

Luckily the answer is yes. This has been achieved by one simple tweak to the game... moving the camera behind the player. Whilst the main story levels are still played in the time honoured pseudo 2D view, the open world hub, introduced in Lego Batman 2, has been boosted into a full open world recreation of Tolkien's world. These sections adopt a more traditional third person view. Running around and exploring Hobbiton at the start of the game it really shows how a simple change can change the whole dynamic of the Lego template. As you progress between through the story you will free roam the open world and recognise features and landmarks off in the distance. The Open world is, as you would expect is full of collectibles and Lego studs. Also though there are characters that you encounter who require you to find rare Mithril items. Once you complete the quest the will give you cheats or unlockable features.

As fans will know, one of the problems of bringing the books to film was the  fact the story is not told in order. Particularly The Two Towers which sees Frodo and Sam travel into Mordor and then zoom all the back to Amon Hen to Strider and the rest of the fellowships pursuit of Pippin and Merry. The game has come up with a way of dealing with this very well. At points in the game, a little window appears in the corner of the screen showing a character in a different region. A quick press of the character select button and you switch over characters as simple as that.

The story mode follows the films very closely, to the degree that the cutscenes, whilst still injected with the Lego humour, are almost shot for shot with the original films. Each film is separated off with its own credits roll, which is a nice touch. Once again, the use of the original voice track adds so much to the little plastic characters.

With The Hobbit out in cinemas this week, playing Lego: LOTR has not only been really good fun but it was a cool way to remember how great the original films were. Lego: Lord of the Rings manages to achieve not only being the best Lord of the Rings game to date but also it is the best game in the Lego series.  Now how about Lego: The Hobbit?

Verdict 9 out of 10

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