I’ve said before that I’m a big fan of Lego games. I buy all of them, and for the last few years have enjoyed them even more as I’ve played them in co-op with my daughter. For some reason, I’d never got round to picking up Lego Lord of the Rings (even though it’s pretty old now) until around New Year, when it was on sale on the 360 shop for about £3. I’d have preferred a Wii U or PS4 version, but neither exist. I’d also have preferred an actual physical version, but for £3 I can cope.
Coming to this after Lego The Hobbit, I can see it’s very similar. The overworld is almost the same, and some of the locations are – at least without a side by side comparison – identical. It’s fun, as all Lego games are, but it’s pretty far down the list when it comes to which is best. Although not unusual for a Lego title to be bug-ridden, Lego Lord of the Rings crashed completely several times, and on at least four occasions one of the characters got trapped in scenery and we had to restart the level. Twice, blocks that had to be pushed off cliffs froze in mid air, so we had to restart the level, and once we were unable to even start a level as it wouldn’t trigger. Pretty disappointing.
The quality of the levels themselves were not of a great standard either. Some were great, of course, but a few were truly terrible. The swamp level, with Gollum setting fire to things and you having to navigate through safe paths and put the fires out was an exercise in extreme patience as it just went on forever. The hiding from black riders and dragons (again this happened in the swamp, but also elsewhere) caused tedious stop-start gameplay, not conducive to enjoying the levels. In fact, we had to do the swamp level twice due to a bug mentioned above.
There were also too many fights of the form “Kill three of these” then “Kill five more” then “Kill seven more”. Repetitive and dull. Sorry, Traveller’s Tales. At least you’ve not done a Lego game as bad as this since!
All that said, it was still – on balance – actually pretty good. As always, it shines in two player and the source material and gags add to the enjoyment. We’re not going to 100% it this time though. Too many bugs and annoying sections have put paid to that.