LEGO The Lord of the Rings (Available on Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Number of Players: 1 to 2
Publisher: WB Games
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Release Date: November 27th, 2012
Parent Talk: The ESRB rates LEGO The Lord of the Rings E10+, for everyone ages ten and up. Their warning is for cartoon violence. The violence is very minimal, there’s copious amounts of humor, and children shouldn’t have many problems with this one.
Plays Like: At this point in time it’s safe to say that if you’ve played one game in this LEGO franchise you more or less know exactly what to expect. Relive the Lord of the Rings movies in LEGO format, while playing through an action platformer.
Review Basis: Played through the single-player game, and tried all the multiplayer modes available.
While the LEGO franchise has been surprisingly fun over the years, this portable offering feels much less inspired. Featuring a wide assortment of gameplay issues from combat to platforming problems, LEGO The Lord of the Rings needed far more development time if it wanted to compete with its console brethren.
+ Multiplayer allows for co-op action.
+/- When the platforming elements work, they work well. You can swing from one tree to the next with ease, but when areas get more confined platforming becomes a chore, and the lack of shadows make it extremely difficult to see just where you’re going to land.
– Clunky animation causes more than a few deaths because hit-boxes don’t match the animations on-screen. This means your hits don’t connect with incoming enemies, and you simply walk right past them.
– The poor hit detection is made worse by the presence of friendly fire. If your AI partner happens to get too close to you, odds are good you’re going to take him down before you both finish off the enemies.
– Exploration is extremely limited and disappointing. When areas do open up, they all look so similar that few will want to press on.
Middle Earth has never looked so drab. Washed out colors, limited textures and a lack of polish make this a very disappointing visual experience.
It’s clear the financial resources went into the console version of this game, and that’s somewhat to be expected. It’s just a shame the publisher didn’t cancel this project from the get-go. Without the proper assets this game was doomed from the very beginning. Even the most die-hard fans will want to skip this one.
Final Score: 3.5/10