Once you have put the disc in and got things underway you will be treated to the opening of Fellowship of the ring, narrated by Cate Blanchett. Then its on to the last stand of men and Elves against the all powerful Sauron which you actively take part in. Needless to say that this game is incredibly faithful to the Peter Jackson movies and all audio, save that of minor characters, is taken directly from the films.
The story of the one ring is explained and then you are put in charge of Frodo and Sam in the Shire.
With the film soundtrack playing and the Shire to explore at your leisure, you will suddenly wonder if the rest of the game can live up to such an epic opening. The answer is yes. While some, like me, will quite happily wander about Hobbiton collecting Studs and hunting down special Mithril Blocks...others will be determined to see just how big this Lego themed Middle-Earth is.
Of course this is no Skyrim. But such freedom and detailed environments will gain your attention. And if you are a fan of the movies you are going to be very impressed. You can have a walk along to Bree if you wish but the first mission will stand in your way and its hard to ignore it, when you know that it details Frodos' flight from the Shire and his first encounter with the Nazgul. The whole of this Lego condensed Middle-Earth is open for exploration. Take a walk to Mount Doom.
If you have played any previous Lego games then this is the best. The controls are responsive, the animations incredible and the graphics lush and colourful. Middle-Earth looks absolutely stunning and I'm always surprised at how much more the developers can get out of these little plastic figures. Characters are easily recognisable and the cutscenes prefectly represent the movies, with added Lego humour of course.
You can fast travel between the locations you have visited but its enjoyable to walk it, or ride it even. Try taking a goat out of the Shire. Going past the Town of Bree and unlocking Weathertop will allow you to see a large part of the map. The thing is whatever you see is available to visit. Your map will highlight useful locations, quest locations and items of interest. You can even set a coin trail to any objectives or locations you want to visit. Hobbit GPS.
Any Mithril blocks you collect (these replace the gold blocks), along with recipes allows you to craft new weapons, items and armor. These can be accessed through the characters inventory wheel with ease. The thing is if you take a quest on it usually means visiting a past mission in free-play mode and finding the required items etc etc.
Is Lego Lord of the rings a role-play game then? Very litely. You can tackle quests, hunt down hidden caves and so on but the game is very friendly and there is no grinding of any kind. Simply wandering around with the Fellowship is awesome and each character has his/her special abilities. Samwise can grow flowers from patches of soil and light fires with his tinderbox. Merry has a fishing rod and can tackle (get it) a little mini-game when above certain bodies of water.
The missions are more of the same from previous Lego games. Collect the maximum amount of studs per level, find treasure chests and unlock kit pieces. Free-play mode is required to visit older levels with new characters and their special abilities to unlock additional areas and kit. Replay value on this game is very high indeed.
You'll wander from Rivendell to Rohan, buying new characters as you go and taking in the lovely sights of Middle-Earth in all of its Lego glory. The you'll decide to go back to the Shire and unlock some more bits of Mithril that you missed earlier in the game to forge a new powerful weapon...
Yes it gets repetetive but not in a bad way. You are glad to experience Lord of the rings and plod through the game and get them all important achievements.
The best Lego game ever and best use of a film license.