The latest LEGO title in the long-running franchise, THE LORD OF THE RINGS maintains the successful gameplay and humour which made all the previous ones so popular.
Here the action beings with the Last Alliance of Men and Elves attempting to defeat the Dark Lord Sauron before switching to Frodo Baggins and his epic quest to destroy the ring of power at Mount Doom where it was forged.
As with the others in the franchise, having seen the films is perhaps not essential but certainly does help!
What of the gameplay? Well, fans of the previous LEGO titles will know what to expect here. Players are presented with an immensely fun but challenging game featuring varied elements of running, jumping, shooting, combat and problem solving.
Each level gives us different characters from the films, each with unique attributes. Legolas has a bow for long range shots, Gimli can smash objects with his axe (even when being tossed for those out of the way areas) while Sam uses a trowel to plant things. Such interaction with objects is crucial to completing levels so it is worth knowing the equipment each character is carrying!
During levels collecting LEGO studs, both littered around and dispensed by destroying objects and enemies, will finally achieve True Adventurer status, while Mini Kits and Mithril Blocks can be found to gain an ancient Middle Earth artefact and forging new items accordingly. In addition, characters littered around the landscape will give quests which typically involve finding lost items for them.
Once a level has been completed, it can be replayed in Free Mode using all the characters who have so far been unlocked. Their special skills are often necessary to find all the Blocks and Mini Kit pieces.
Fans of THE LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy will certainly love this game! The LEGO characters are superb, nicely voiced and animated, while the humour is sure to regularly raise a laugh. In addition there are 49 Trophies to gain while playing the game as well.
Some would argue that these LEGO games all follow a familiar pattern. Still, why change a winning formula?
While there have been many computer games based on TOLKIENS classic novel Trilogy in the past, there is always room for another one - especially one as good as this!