This wasn’t exactly where I thought I’d get started on this, but the boy and I finished Lego: Lord of the Rings over the weekend. If you’ve played any of the Lego games, then you pretty much know how this goes: follow the source material pretty faithfully, add in some weird Danish attempts at humor (usually involving carrots) all wrapped up in pretty decent game play. We have been buying the Lego games since the Star Wars series came out and each new game has seen improvements. The controls themselves stay pretty much the same, but new tweaks appear in every game making each new product a little better. Or so I thought, Lego: LOTR has done a great deal, but I think it has gone a little too far. The split screen capability first introduced in Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is still great. Unlike the earlier Lego games, where one player would “pull” the other, the later games split when the players go in opposite directions. What doesn’t work in Lego: LOTR is the two distinct scenarios that occur at the same time in two-player mode. I understand that the moments in the story are occurring at the same time, but all it does is make for a bit of confusion. Also, isn’t the point of two player games to play together? I would rather just stay in the same screen as my playing partner.
Even so the variety of activities within the game are quite balanced. There is plenty of fighting, puzzle-solving and platform-esque playing. Thankfully, there really isn’t any “vehicle” stage in Lego: LOTR. There are these weird running scenes but they are quite brief and basically just coin grabs. Lego: LOTR also has developed the game within the game aspect of a lot of recent games, with a variety of side quests throughout Middle Earth. I haven’t come close to completing all of those, but they are fun. I do wish they would make the purchase of new characters a little easier. Running all over the map to get the different characters is a bit of a pain. I’d rather go to one central location, like Star Wars, and use my coins in a simple, straightforward manner.
Overall, Lego: Lord of the Rings is a lot of fun. You get to romp through Middle Earth, work your way through the familiar LOTR story, and enjoy much of what makes the Lego games enjoyable. I think the improvements over the last few years have hit a peak and Lego: LOTR has perhaps gone a bit too far, not quite measuring up to the Harry Potter games.