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Lego Lord of the Rings Demo Preview

With a track record of fun, the Lego games became a surprise hit after the release of Lego Star Wars; following more big brand editions including Indiana Jones and Batman, Lord of the Rings is the latest franchise to be given the block treatment. The demo is currently available and I gave it a try to see if it’s as good as the others.

Like all previous titles, this involves a lot of block smashing, awkward but light puzzle solving and masses of block-breaking combat. Much like Lego Batman 2, we are graced by full voice-overs from the characters, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, down to Théoden and Eowyn, all have their voices to replace the usual grunts and odd noises the Lego characters used to make. The demo showcases this in its small portion of game; you get to play through Helm’s Deep, lifted straight from the movies.
Unfortunately it does little to endear the game itself. Unlike Lego Batman 2, the voices seem lifted directly from the movies themselves, lending no personality to the blocky world they inhabit. Call me a stickler for the original formula, but I preferred when the characters didn’t talk; it added to the humour, where here it’s just some exaggerated expressions while movie dialogue is thrown at you.

The section the demo allows you to play is more shallow than the usual standard. Generally by nature these games are repetitive but maintain your interest with hidden areas and the like in almost every section, in plain view but you had to work to find them, nothing of the sort is in here that I could see, and while it’s only a small portion of the overall game it’s disappointing they didn’t highlight something that adds immensely to immediate replayability. Instead what you’ll be doing is knocking over ladders. That is the demo in a nutshell: listen to movie-ripped voice overs and knock over ladders. Tedium sets in after the first round of this, then you have to do it again. Then again, then again. Finally you get something different in the form of riding on horseback into the horde of Uruk- Hai, but just as you’re having a little bit of fun, the demo is over.
On a gameplay level it’s similar to every installment before it, which should be expected. Each character - in the demo’s case, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas - have a certain ability which requires use of them all at one point or another, for example Gimli can break blocks with cracks in them, while Legolas can shoot multiple targets at once with his arrows (which is awkward to perform consistently), and Aragorn can throw Gimli. Controls are bound to keys on each half of the keyboard, with WASD for movement and U, H, J and K used for actions; it’s awkward, but useable and the game is clearly designed for use with a gamepad.
While the whole game may be just as enjoyable as previous editions, and as a complete sucker for the franchise as a whole I’ll give the full game a whirl, this demo does nothing to get excitement up, and if anything, may actually act as a deterrent for would-be purchasers. However, if you want to give it a go yourself, you can download it here, or wait for the full game to be released, which is on November 13th in North America, or for some reason, November 23rd if you’re European.

Dead Alive | 7th November, 2012
Kaostic's picture
I wanted to play this.. I've installed it but I'm wary now after this :P
Dead Alive's picture
Kaostic's picture
I can't think of a ladder pun. Here's a cat climbing a ladder instead.

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