Little Big Middle-Earth: Lego Lord Of The Rings’ World

By Nathan Grayson on September 26th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

Sure, we're always journeying together, but do we ever really *talk*?

Our world was not built with Lego figurines in mind. They are small, plasticine, and worrisomely edible, while we are almighty giants with colossal living rooms and all-consuming sofa cushions to match. In other words, pretty much everything dwarfs our favorite race of jaundiced, ear-less architects – regardless of mundanity. Tables, chairs, lamps – you name it. So what happens when we fling them into a world that even made cave trolls and gigantic tree people seem insignificant? Well, then we get Lego Lord of the Rings. It’s something of a jarring mix, to say the least. But it also kinda, sorta somehow works. Venture past the break to see how.

Look at all those ant-sized armies scampering around majestic vistas and haunting underground holds. They’re so incongruously adorable! And also surprisingly humorless – given the fact that they’re only speaking pre-recorded lines from the movies. Then again, I spotted a couple slapstick gags in there, and the prancing pony circle tickled not only my funny bone, but my funny viscera and funny fluid-filled sacs as well.

The environments, meanwhile, also seem to have made the leap straight from the movies. They’re not particularly Lego-y, but oh well. Lego Batman 2′s weren’t either, and it was still completely delightful. If nothing else, though, the scale of LLOTR seems even more impressive, so we could well be in for quite a treat. I – like pretty much everyone else who plays videogames – am a bit burnt-out on Tolkien’s mythos, but if there’s one way to pull me back in, it’s probably making all my inner-child’s Lego and Lord of the Rings-obsessed dreams come true.

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37 Comments »

  1. Shadram says:

    I’ve pre-ordered this, and am more excited about it than any other game due this year. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not!

  2. Flukie says:

    This can be very very good, but it could also be completely mediocre.

    Its either one or the other I think.

  3. mondomau says:

    The environments, meanwhile, also seem to have made the leap straight from the movies. They’re not particularly Lego-y, but oh well. Lego Batman 2′s weren’t either, and it was still completely delightful.

    See, this is exactly the problem for me even with Lego Batman 2. The combination of voice actors and ever decreasing number of actual Lego blocks in the games is really putting me off.
    At times, Batman (and now LotR, judging by the video) feels like someone had taken a ‘serious’ franchise game and modded all the characters & vehicle models to be made out of Lego – which I feel is missing the point of the early games’ charm entirely.

    • Untruth says:

      I’m sort of in two minds about it. I first looked at LEGO games and screamed that not everything was made of LEGO bricks… however, if you remember the old LEGO boxart and catalogues, one of the key things they used to (and still) do was make these beautiful rendered/realistic backdrops, and stick the actual LEGO toy in the middle of them.

      Such as…
      http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/sir-kohran/KnightsKingdom/knightskingdom2006.jpg
      http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090824124416/lego/images/9/91/Castle-1992.jpg

      Really, it’s always been their style to mix the two. In the case of LEGO Harry Potter, the environments are so unbelievably rich and lush because they are NOT made of LEGO, that it actually really made the game for me – and the LEGO stuff really stands out when you do see it.

      I get so wrapped up in the times when they really do something special with a few lego ‘memes’ or items that I think I forgive them for it.

      I do find it weird, though, when brick built buildings in the games are made of bricks rather than, you know, LEGO bricks.

      • mondomau says:

        Oh, definitely – it’s just I think it’s gone too far. I always felt the whole point (and charm) of Lego as a video game was that you could make all these things out of Lego, whereas in the real world you would be limited by cost etc. Seems a bit of a shame to just default to standard textures for anything that isn’t interactive. The voices are what have really spoiled it though.

        • hatseflats says:

          I agree. I was looking at the trailer and thought “is this a LEGO game?” I’d rather have the environments made out of bricks and the characters more realistic than the other way around. The small amount of LEGO still included (mainly the characters) feels rather pointless.

    • GallonOfAlan says:

      I’ve played all the LEGO games and I don’t recall you being able to actually build more LEGO things even back in the first Star Wars one.

  4. orient says:

    I’m reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time at the moment and I’m really looking forward to playing an authentic game based on the book once I’m done.

    Is there a definitive LotR game out there? If not, I guess this will do.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      They are all fairly average to be honest. I did enjoy some of them, but most are just action games.

    • danimalkingdom says:

      Third Age – Total War

      http://www.moddb.com/mods/third-age-total-war

      This is the best LOTR game out there. It’s a mod so you need Medieval 2 to play it, but good heavens it’s brilliant.

      • atticus says:

        I agree – it’s one of the best modifications to any game, ever. It completely feels like it was made by Creative Assembly themselves.

        There’s really only one thing that bugs me about it *minor spoiler alert*:

        When you’ve gathered a mighty army and are taking the stronghold of Moria by force, you expect strong opposition. A horde of orcs and goblins? Sure. A balrog? Ok. Two balrogs? Uhm…. Well, how about fifteen balrogs? WHAT?! That’s just stupid and completely immersion-breaking, no thanks.

        The only thing they need to do to make Third Age: Total War perfect, is to remove the balrog(s) from the game. The mechanism regulating unit size seems impossible to manipulate properly, so they should just ditch the balrog entirely.

        • jrodman says:

          They were having a convention. Lungorthin was a keynote speaker and everything.

          Party crasher!

    • bodydomelight says:

      If you like your MMOs, then Lord Of The Rings Online is undoubtedly the best Tolkien game out there. Admittedly I am a massive fanboy, but the competition isn’t particularly fierce.

    • EPICTHEFAIL says:

      War in the North was quite good, if you can ignore it basically being a weird Mass Effect/WoW crossover, except in Middle Earth.

    • Hydrogene says:

      Third Age – Total War is very well made, but the mod I really love is The Last Days (of the Third Age of Middle Earth) for Mount & Blade (the original M&B, not Warband)
      http://www.moddb.com/mods/the-last-days/

      I also played LOTRO a lot, but in the end it’s a very classic MMO in design, although I really loved the terrain and sceneries of Middle Earth in that game.

    • orient says:

      If LOTRO is any good solo then free isn’t a bad price, I guess :P

      Third Age also sounds tempting but would have to dust off my strategy boots. Haven’t worn them since Shining Force, and I’m pretty sure Total War is a little bit more complicated.

      • BarneyL says:

        LOTRO is worth a go if only to run through the Shire starting area, it’s pretty much all hobbity themed solo fun and gets the feel just right.

        • Martel says:

          I was going to say the same thing

        • Bior37 says:

          Except for all those random mountains they stick in The Shire and hordes of rats and little monsters that you’re forced to kill.

    • Ravelle says:

      Battle for Middle Earth 1 & 2 were both great RTS games, I should play them again soon.

      Me and my brother played the Lego Pirates to completion with almost every collectible, I had to reinstall windows and forgot to backup my save.
      Batman II didn’t really grab me because of the voice acting.

    • Shadram says:

      Lord of the Rings Online! It’s stunning. Free to play on Steam, but if you’re enjoying it when you hit level 15 (when the paid-for bits start to matter), it’s worth taking a 3 month sub (about $25 US, not sure of European prices) so that you get everything included. 3 months should be enough to see you through most of the content as far as Isengard.

      • Bior37 says:

        Lord of the Rings Online is far from stunning. It’s a soulless, directionless WoW clone that will have you weeping tears of boredom and frustration in a day or two.

        I played LotRO back when it was a sandbox MMO called Middle Earth Online. It focused on exploration and living in Middle Earth. Then, about 7 months before launch they changed it to LotRO and restructured it to be a linear, hand holding, derivative, invisible wall filled, fetch quest filler stuffed WoW clone.

        If you try to explore, the game punishes you. If you try to group with other people, the game punishes you. If you try to enjoy the story, the game punishes you with hundreds of filler quests that just waste your time.

        Skip it at all costs.

    • Smuckers says:

      To be honest, I quite enjoyed the movie tie-in games that ea published back in the day. They weren’t anything mind-blowing but were both pretty solid hack and slashers that did a good job retreading the movies’ more memorable scenes. The return of the king game in particular was well made and expansive for a tie-in I thought. However, I’m not sure if there were Pc versions.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      Honestly, War in the North is a fantastic game, if you can deal with button-mashing and lore-breaking, if you want an action game.

      LOTRO is the best “Lord of the Rings” game, however, as a few people mentioned. Warner Brothers and the Turbine management have basically ruined the game past ~Moria or so, but festivals and other events are still fun, and the majority of the game up to ~40 still has good writing and atmosphere.

  5. Caiman says:

    I’d much rather they have done the Hobbit instead. I’m really played out on the whole LotR movies, the music, the dialogue and everything. Or at the very least a completely different interpretation, although obviously that’s not going to be possible given the license is presumably that of the movies.

    • Shadram says:

      I’m pretty sure they will be doing the Hobbit around the time of the third movie. Lego have the license to make the toys, and I can’t see Warners not giving them the movie license too.

  6. westyfield says:

    Are they making actual LotR Lego sets to go with this game? I’m not at all into Tolkein but I enjoy seeing how they translate films to Lego.

  7. DigitalSignalX says:

    Saw a developer interview a while back that claims a single player campaign of almost 60 hours – which is a pretty big leap from the previous Lego titles of around 10-20 hours max.

  8. pilouuuu says:

    Well, it reminds me when I was a kid and I played with my Playmobile in the garden thinking they’re in the jungle or something. And the voices of the characters could be a kid’s voice over when he plays with his toys.

    If Lego games represent something like a kid playing with Lego blocks using his imagination to create the world, then I see no problem with using voice actors and amazing detailed landscapes.

  9. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    A few minutes into the trailer and I hear ‘a cinematic experience‘. Instant cringe.

    Maybe I’ve have enough LOTR for the time being or maybe it’s just that I don’t think it this would be a great lego game but I’m rather lukewarm about this (except for the classic lego horses. Those look brilliant). Lego Starwars, on the other hand..

  10. Universal Quitter says:

    I’m burnt out on the Lord of the Rings games that are out, but I’m still waiting for that really good one. I mean, not all of them have been terrible, but has there been a game as good and well loved as the movies?

    • Shadram says:

      LotRO is the best interpretation from the books, but they didn’t have the movie license. Still worth a look, though, if you haven’t already. It is free, after all.

      I think the officially licensed games from the movies were pretty good (I played the XBox versions) but at least part of that may be nostalgia…