'LEGO The Lord of the Rings'
Warner Bros Interactive
Sony PlayStation 3 (PC, Xbox 360, PS Vita)
ESRB rating: Everyone
Review rating: 4.0 stars
Just like playing with the toys themselves, the LEGO video game franchise is a great way for adults and kids to spend quality time together. Now that "The Hobbit" movie has reignited interest in the epic fantasy series, it's the perfect time to experience an abridged version of the events that follow by playing "LEGO The Lord of the Rings."
This game follows the major plot points of all three Peter Jackson "LoTR" movies from the opening battle with Sauron to the casting of the ring into the lava! One welcome new feature is the addition of actual dialogue from the movies, adding authenticity to the story. Although this removes the humorous vocal nonsense the series is known for, the game is still very amusing.
I thought that "LEGO Harry Potter" expanded the series in new directions, but the size of "LEGO LoTR" is huge! There is so much to explore after crossing the Brandywine River that it seems overwhelming. Fortunately, a glowing blue path always leads to the next mission so players won't get lost, and the ability to ride horses lessens the distance between areas.
New to the series is the ability for each character to carry up to eight items that are used in combat, puzzles and crafting. Some items can be handed to other characters to use, and there is also a shared inventory of up to 84 items just in case a character's limit is reached. Handy new tools ranging from fishing poles to deadly weapons can be crafted when the correct combination of items and the necessary blueprints are collected.
Further advancements to game play include the collection of Mithril bricks through quests, instead of gold bricks hidden around each level. Mithril bricks can be smelted by the Bree blacksmith and forged into very powerful items. No matter where you go in this game, there's something fun to do!
"LEGO The Lord of the Rings" offers deeper game play than past installments, which makes it fun to play alone or with friends.