The Big Question: Will Lego: Lord of the Rings be as successful as previous titles in the series or will it get buried in a tub of plastic blocks?
When Lego: Star Wars first hit store shelves it was a breath of fresh air. A family-friendly approach to one of the most well known pop-culture phenomenons of all time that kids of all ages could enjoy. It was a way for geeky parents to share their love of Boba Fett with their impressionable young children without the blood and death of the movies themselves. Now the developers over TT Games at are taking that same concept from the world of sci-fi to the world of fantasy with Lego: Lord of the Rings. But between these two titles there’s been a hefty sum of Lego games that have run the gamut between great gameplay and mediocre.
Where will this next title fall? Will we see a brilliant interpretation of an academy award winning film, or will it be another poorly executed concept? Fortunately, after checking out the E3 demo, it seems like J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved saga is in good hands, but I still have some concerns.
Cut-scenes will borrow heavily from the film trilogy, but instead of being filled with plastic people speaking gibberish, you will be treated to the actual dialog from the movies. Don’t worry, this does not mean the end of all the funny. Running gags like hobbits constantly stuffing their faces with food and Aragorn getting arrows stuck in his knee rear end will be plentiful. I doubt most adults will find themselves laughing out loud at most of the jokes -okay, maybe there’s a joke or two about an arrow in the butt that will get a snicker- but let’s face it, this game is for the kid in us all, so the best thing to do is just groove with the jokes and enjoy the fun.
All of the gameplay mechanics from previous Lego games are back, such as character classes that have their own unique skills and the ability to switch between characters in your party whenever you want makes a return as well. And of course there will be tons of puzzles to solve, Lego pegs to boost your score, and collectables to unlock, but, as usual, it’s the new features that make L:LotR really stand out.
Light RPG elements have been added, but it’s nothing heavy, just little things that younger gamers can handle, such as weapons that can be purchased at the in-game hub world. Your wizards, dwarfs and elves can then carry around their fancy new weaponry in their inventory and switch between them at will.
There’s also a new split-screen feature for co-op which has players take on different objectives in separate areas at the same time. It’s a cool concept, but when it comes down to it I think that this will probably do the game more harm than good because, let’s face it, if you had the choice between battling the Balrog or tossing a dwarf at a wall, which would you choose? This new feature may lead to some serious bickering between kids as they fuss over who should get to play what they decree as “the cool part”. Okay, extremely nerdy adults will argue over the same thing, but beyond this potential tension the games charm is already shining through and will make a great addition to your collection when it comes out later this year.
Are you a fan of the Lego games or will you picking this up because of the LOTR tie-in? Do you still think these kinds of games are enjoyable, or do you feel like you’ve seen this formula enough already?