When I first caught wind of a yet another LEGO game, I rolled my eyes and felt bored by the concept. “How many times can they make a Star Wars LEGO game?”, I asked myself. However, once I realized that the Lord of the Rings was the next installment, my ears perked up. How could Traveller’s Tales translate a depressing and violent fantasy jaunt into world of rendered MiniFigs?
With that in mind, I picked up my copy of LEGO Lord of the Rings with nary a clue of what I was in store for. I had avoided all news articles and trailers. I skipped any early reviews or previews. I was a virginal gamer to the core. After just 40 minutes with the game, I knew this would be one of the best LEGO games to date. This lead me to pull together this list of the four reasons why LEGO Lord of the Rings should be on your must-play list.
CliffsNotes for the new Hobbit movie.
The first reason is simple and straightforward; in anticipation of Peter Jackson’s latest visit to Middle-Earth, LEGO Lord of the Rings provides an adorable CliffsNotes version of the story so you don’t have to carve out a whole weekend to watch the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. All three movies are in the game and the story has been trimmed down so you don’t have to spend extraneous time on Hobbit birthday parties and the like. All of the key settings are here and the main characters are all involved, but in a way that reinforces their importance without taking up too much of your time. Plus, there are some nice jokes thrown in to bring some levity to the epic sadness that was Tolkien’s infatuation.
Amazing integration into the LEGO Universe.
Key to this game is the integration of the films’ dialogue, effects, and music. In all previous LEGO games (outside LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes), the MiniFigs pantomimed along the story and players were left to just giggle along with them. For LEGO Lord of the Rings, the developers have a full set of wonderfully acted scenes to manipulate with their animations. This adds an incredible connection to the movies, while providing some of the best voice acting ever heard in a video game. This isn’t a bunch of bored actors reading lines alone in a sound studio. This is Sir Ian McKellan growling at the Balrog, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Just this element sold me on the game in an instant and raises the bar on all future LEGO and licenced games to follow.
Beautiful LEGO landscapes.
LEGO games aren’t traditionally known for their amazing graphics. Despite that fact, LEGO Lord of the Rings presents some awesome landscapes. While the level design is still hindered by a strange camera and limited perspective, the backgrounds and foregrounds show tremendous depth that advance the player’s immersion. The developers took a lot of time to craft outstanding settings and backdrops that are dead ringers for those seen in the films. Traveller’s Tales did a fantastic job by their subjects and made sure that their Lord of the Rings game looked the part.
One of the best LEGO games to date.
Lastly, with the great story to work from, the outstanding acting borrowed, and the gorgeous landscapes, Traveller’s Tales delivered one of the best LEGO games to date. An idea that I had written off as a gimmick has given new life to an already well-established movie franchise. From now on, all of the LEGO games will have to integrate the films’ voice acting or they will pale in comparison to this outstanding effort. So, look out LEGO Twilight, if Traveller’s Tales doesn’t include Kristen Stewart’s Oscar-worthy acting, your game just won’t live up to the series…