In other LEGO reconstruction, “Travellers Tales” goes to the depths of Mordor to take on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. One ring, one block, and one of the most celebrated fantasy stories of all time.

Those regular with the LEGO series of games should know what to expect with “Travellers Tales” latest Lego outburst. Heck, even if you're not a fan, the premise is beyond simple. It's a lego-ized take on the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy from "J. R. R. Tolkien", which was adapted and popularized by the “Peter Jackson” films spanning from 2001 to 2003.

The gameplay sticks to “Travellers Tales” patterned formula - basically, build and bash LEGO bricks as you generally follow the films' tale. As you build and bash bricks you will solve terse puzzles and beat down baddies while being entertained by Travellers' quirky sense of humour and clever use of the source material. It's an “E” for everyone, so its perfect for the youngsters or hardcore fans of the source material. Fun, simple and clever; yup, it's another swing at the bat, another “Lego” hit for the record books.

Building on the foundations of “Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes”, LOTR tries its hand at an open-world environment that contrasts its normal “level-by-level” structure. Adjusting to an open-world takes some getting used to, and unfortunately takes away from the “pick-up-and-play” nature of the game. However, what it lacks in convenience, it makes up by adding more depth - mainly via exploration. The world is imaginative in its recreation of the Middle-Earth, so expect to do a fair amount of investigating. Admittedly, Middle-Earth lacks the vibrant wow of other LEGO games, yet its clever twist on the Darkside still makes it welcoming to youngsters.

Familiar to the legacy, you will have a stupendous collection of personalities (over 80 characters) to take on your adventure. Changing things up, the cast is more varied with their particular abilities with more than the standard, “one ability per character”. In turn this creates more complicated puzzles and ways to advance through each level. Characters can also equip multiple items in their inventory furthering this format of elaborate obscurities. Tacked on to all this is the ability to craft objects that aid in the same way character specialization does. It's a bold move that both complicates and makes the formula easier. On one hand, more depth means more reason for the player to get confused (even if most objectives are clearly marked), and in the other, it means that you don't always need a certain character to progress. Yes, a “win-win”.

The production on Lego: LOTR has really been amplified making this the sharpest looking LEGO game to date. Secondly, the audio has been taken right from the films, making the digital actors sound like their real-life counterparts. The tone is still very comedic, even with the serious voice of “Ian McKellen” bellowing his galactic wizard speak. It's that blended humour, along with a slick presentation that really makes the LEGO games work. It is something that “Travellers Tales” has down to a science, and this is just one more example.

While Lego: LOTR is mostly an enjoyable experience, it seems like the surface production was more important than fixing some simple gameplay nuances that have been plaguing the Lego series since its conception. Mainly, this goes for the platforming, which is still really sloppy and really hard to place in some areas. I enjoyed how the world has been spiced up past flat bricks-and-blocks, however, expect to slip off an edge now and again. As mentioned, these “issues” don't come close to breaking the game, just presume some “what the fudge” brow raises.

The game, similar to the films, takes awhile to get rolling. The first little bit with the hobbits escaping the shire is slow, and it's really not until you acquire the full fellowship that things pick up. From here you will have a full range of well-known characters to help you take down each objective. Still, all these characters only encourage action beyond a single play. In typical LEGO fashion, there is more than enough reason to replay the game and in the long haul, Lego: LOTR could keep you at it for a quite some time. Not bad for a “kids” game.

"Travellers Tales" does it again with another devoted Lego-ized interpretation of an ultra-popular property. This time Tolkien has his world transformed into bricks and blocks as the “Lord of the Rings” franchise gets a fast-tracked game built around the trilogy. Unlike the uninspired “Batman 2” and so-so “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Lego: Lord of the Rings” takes a little more care in stacking its blocks. Fans of “J. R. R. Tolkiens” work, or the Lego series of games, this one is worth investigating.

  • Another faithful LEGO-rendition. Middle-Earth has been Legoized.
  • More depth has been added to the standard gameplay.
  • Clever writing and use of the source material.
  • No “milking” here – the entire trilogy is represented.
  • While interesting, the sandbox style takes away its pick-up-and-play appeal.
  • Still some ongoing gameplay qualms.
  • Middle-Earth isn't as visually vibrant as other "Lego" titles.
Quote: "Unlike the uninspired “Batman 2” and so-so “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Lego: Lord of the Rings” takes a little more care in stacking its blocks."
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 11.23.12 | Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360

Similar Games: LEGO Pirates of the Carribean (7.0) | LEGO Indiana Jones (8.8) | LEGO Batman (9.2)


Lord of the Rings

WB Interactive

Travellers Tales Games


US Release
November '12


X360, PS3

Players 1
Co-Op 2-4
5.1 Surround
HD 720-1080p
D/L Content