Lego Lord of the Rings: Game review

One’s a construction toy that began life 60 years ago and now has six theme parks, nearly 50 dedicated stores and themes that include everything from robots to castles, Vikings to dinosaurs and trains to the wild west.

The other is an epic high fantasy novel, written by English philologist JRR Tolkien which has made it to the big screen.

So, what happens when you put the two together? Well, the Lego Lord of the Rings game, that’s what.

Hot on the heels of Lego versions of Harry Potter, Batman and Star Wars comes an action-packed, family-friendly jaunt through Middle Earth.

Available for your PC, PS3, Wii or Xbox 360, Lego Lord of the Rings is pegged at the 7+ market.

The story goes that, trusted with the perilous mission to destroy an ancient magical, yet evil, ring, Frodo must leave his peaceful home. The road to Mount Doom, where the ring can be dispatched, is of course perilous and riddled with brutish Orcs. To help Frodo, a Fellowship is formed and players relive the legend through Lego minifigures which look uncannily like the stars of the movies.

Made by Traveller’s Tales games, when you first start to explore, you get a series of levels, all linked together by a main hub.  What you get with Lego Lord of the Rings is a huge fantasy map, filled will all the familiar vistas and locations like The Shire, Weathertop, Isengard and Minas Tirith. As you complete levels, Middle Earth gradually opens up for you until, eventually, it is yours to completely explore.

Along with puzzles to solve and bricks to find, as in the last Lego games, you will also come across quests you can accept, races you can try to win and characters to find and buy.

As you’d expect from an experience aimed at the under 10s, none of these challenges is particularly taxing and the game sticks closely to the movie storyline. In total, it should take around 15 hours to ‘finish’ the game – not bad if you’re trying to keep your little ones entertained during the school Christmas holidays. And, even then you’ll have only really seen 35 per cent of the game, so you can always delve back in to explore more and try different challenges.

In total, there are 18 levels and you can replay as many times as you want to try to find all the things you missed the first time.

And, some of the battles and moments are so epic, you soon look past the fact you’re playing as a rather cute looking Lego character. You get to gallop through a battlefield on horseback as hundreds of Uruk-hai, an advanced breed of Orcs charge past you, and play as the Ents, beings which closely resemble trees, as you destroy Isengard.

Already, the game has won rave reviews among critics. While timeslive says the dialogue isn’t up to scratch and there are “too many dumpy little characters”, it adds: “In an era of ever-bigger, more realistic game weaponry, it’s a relief to thwack everything with a little plastic sword (or trowel). Keep an eye out for Lego Peter Jackson, tossing his Oscar at the bad guys.”

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