I have a serious love of Lego interactive games, and Lego Lord of the Rings was something I’d been waiting to try since they announced it this summer. Now in hand, my family has been busy playing the heck out of it. Unlike some games that ease you into the play, this game starts with a boss fight: reliving the battle of Sauron from the movie introduction. Talk about epic!
As usual for Lego series video games, this is best when played with two players, although it can also be played by one person. As a mom, my love for two player mode is that it requires cooperation in order to solve the puzzles and complete the levels. Perfect family bonding time. Like similar Lego titles, you also can go through the adventures multiple times and re-play once you’ve unlocked characters and want to return in free play mode.
The cutscenes in Lego Lord of the Rings come directly from the movie with a few comic gags thrown in. My husband and I miss the silent pantomimed cutscenes from Lego Star Wars, but my daughter thinks the spoken dialog is the best thing ever. I guess Lego knows their audience. Speaking of which, there are very few surprises in terms of plot if you know the books and movie. That’s as you’d expect, since the plot is long and complicated enough as is. It doesn’t make it less challenging to know the basic goals of each scene. In some ways it enhances the experience.
The age recommendation on this is 10 plus. There’s no violence other than exploding Lego pieces, and there’s no permanent character death. The worst thing that can happen is that you have to replay a level in order to collect the studs used as Lego money in game. I’d have no qualms letting my younger son play. I’m not sure kids under age 10 will really get the plot, but that may not matter if they’re playing along with a parent or sibling.
This game is probably not the best introduction to the Lego video game universe, since it starts out very intensely. I’d recommend Lego Star Wars as your first Lego game (bonus is that it’s an older game, so it’s half the price of new releases). Lego Lord of the Rings is still a great addition to the series, and it’s something both Lord of the Rings and Lego fans will really enjoy playing this holiday season.
Full disclosure: a review copy of the game was provided.