Lego The Lord of the Rings
I wasn't entirely surprised when Warner Bros. and Traveller's Tales announced that a Lego Lord of the Rings game was on its way. After getting a demo of the game and its open-world hub, I have to say that its a good thing I keep plenty of surprise in reserve. Lego Lord of the Rings advances the studio's Lego formula even further, adding an expanded open-world element to the game that not only puts Lego Batman 2 to shame, but is something that just about any game would be proud to have.
We started the demo in the Shire, which is as lush and green as in the films. Traveller's Tales latched onto the sense of discovery and exploration that's been a part of the Lord of the Rings lore from the start and ran with it. You'd be forgiven for thinking that the Shire would act like Diagon Alley from the Lego Harry Potter games. Most of the Lego games' hubs manage to seem larger than they actually are. In Lego Lord of the Rings, the world of Middle-earth is yours to explore, from the Shire and beyond.
Players can take their fellowship through areas both iconic such as Weathertop, Rivendell, and the mines of Moria, to more obscure locations. In true Lego fashion, certain characters have special abilities, like Gimly's block-breaking ax, Legolas' deadly bow, and Sam' impressive gardening skills. Players can also collect special hard-to-find mithril blocks, which can be forged into weapons and items at a blacksmith. If you think Frodo should flex his archery skills, give him a specially crafted bow.
Inventory is also a part of the game, and characters can find and hold items throughout their adventures. For instance, a blue key discovered early on may not open up a chest until much later in the game. Traveller's Tales says it's shooting for an RPG-lite feel in the game, and it definitely seems as though it's heading in the right direction.
With voices pulled directly from the film, an authentic movie score, and plenty of slapstick Lego humor, Lego Lord of the Rings is shaping up to be an adventure worth taking when it comes out this fall.