BEFORE you read any further, you may - at the end of my review - wonder why Lego The Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) is getting a slightly higher score than what the review suggests. It's because I am basing the score for LOTR fans. Yes, I do not like LOTR, books or the movies, so be prepared.
Lego has taken what was basically any Lego game and dressed it up with some fashion from LOTR. Granted, any Lego game is fairly entertaining as you may have read my reviews of its licensed games but maybe it may need to put the old horse to pasture as it is starting to show its age here.
What am I talking about? The puzzle mechanics and design are the same old stuff. Yes, it was fun the first dozen times but after a while you begin to wonder if it is Lego LOTR or Lego Lord Of The Studs. There is a feeling of puzzles added for the sake of the player to collect studs which can be used to buy costumes, weapons, special items, etc. The only time the puzzles have a feel of real purpose is in the boss levels, and those are far and few between.
Another problem is your companion A.I. Those dumb nuts seem to know how to do everything else except assist you into getting to Mount Doom. If you jump over a gap, they fall through. Fight 100 Orcs and there's not a blond pointy-eared elf to be found.
Then you have free-play mode where you can run around Middle Earth picking up side-quests and a little exploration. But while looking at the beautiful landscapes, you will notice, from time to time, a mismatch of ugly block-like objects indicating that it is a Lego-block object waiting to bestow upon you a streaming treasure of studs. This spoils the feel of the level and makes you wonder if Lego should have gone the other way and just Lego-blocked the level to keep the artistic flow.
Enough with your belly aching, what about the Game? Lego LOTR plays well despite these minor problems and would seem to rely more on co-op playthroughs to fully enjoy the game. The story is a very cut down version of the movies covering the essential scenes of the three books, which is good for me, since I cannot stand reading the books with pages and pages of furry-footed midgets singing in the forest as they examine every leaf and flower.
This is probably why I decided to miss the last few books of George R. R. Martin and Robert Jordon. The movies were a great improvement on the books but I still did not like them. So that leaves Lego a chance at the reins, but I must say I still do not like them still, only not as venomous as before.
Lego LOTR features voice dialogue from all three movies for the cut scenes which are made more enduring with the Lego whimsical touch thrown in. I mean how can you not smile when Gimli looks at Aragorn with his Lego face and says, "I cannot jump the distance, you'll have to toss me. Don't tell the elf."
And that is the problem again, a mismatch of a serious storyline with funny voice acting and sometimes out of place Lego humour.
But I am happy to say it is still a somewhat enjoyable experience. For LOTR fans, this is a must-have collection. They can now relive the world of LOTR again not only in their minds or eyes, but also with their hands as well.