I adore the Lord of the Rings series, and I adore the Lego video games. I am thrilled that the combination of the two is spectacularly fun.
The Lego game makers have definitely perfected the gameplay over their various iterations. The coin-gathering fun is there. The cut scenes can be laugh-out-loud funny. There are puzzles and battles, quiet moments and gorgeous scenery.
It is just so satisfying to go wandering all over the Shire, watching the hobbits dance at the party, and exploring the ins and outs of hobbit holes. Then there's the beauty of Rivendell, with Elrond and all his elvish friends. Sure, the game gets darker as it goes, and it can be fairly tedious following Gollum along through the grimy swamp. But all in all there is a lot to enjoy here.
I really have to give special kudos to the team that develops the cut-scenes. Sure, they had the real movie dialogue to work with, which is a treat. But the detail they give to the little Lego expressions is priceless. There's quite a deft touch here with the humor. While kids will enjoy the game, the adults will adore some of the jokes.
This is one of those games that I'll be playing long into the night, knowing I should go to sleep, but then I want to get through just one more level. And then the next thing I know the sun is peeking up over the horizon. It sucks you in. Luckily the save system is fairly good. Certainly not perfect, but far better than many other games I've played. When it's important, you can usually get saved fairly quickly.
The game is great for all ages. The Lego games in general are well deserving of praise in that area. A young child can play along as one character, and an adult can "jump in" at any time to help out with a puzzle. Then the adult can drop out again, allowing the kid to progress on his own. Not of course that the adult has to leave if they don't want to :). I know many adults (including me) who are quite addicted to these games.
Are there any downsides? I suppose you could say that there's no politically important statements being made about nuclear war or the state of minorities in the modern world. But for simple, relaxing fun, with a heavy dose of the Lord of the Rings fantasy, I definitely recommend this game.
I purchased this game with my own funds in order to write this review (and enjoy it!) :)
Buy Lord of the Rings Lego from Amazon.com