The Normal Goodness
Hmm, toughie. I am exceedingly fond of the Lego titles. I don't give that much of a shit about LOTR. So, how will it turn out? Well, I will mention that I loved Lego Clone Wars and I openly despise that franchise, so this has potential.
And, Traveller's Tales, as usual, produces a solid platformer with an exceptionally large amount of things to do. It is also the first one where the current generation of consoles is having difficulty actually pulling off what the developers want, which is always a shock since the games don't ever LOOK like something impressive. It might be odd because, for me, it actually makes me look back and recognize how much the games do. LOTR is a large open world. There is no real loading screens as you cross a rather sizable terrain. Sure, the missions require loads, but the game world itself, large as it is, does not. It is impressive.
But, draw-in in endemic. There is a ton of draw-in. You will see buildings partially appear until you get near it. You will see a somewhat clumsy attempt to use focus to try and cover up some of the more blatant draw-in. The game has issues with you changing your character frequently as the button to change people is the same as to swap between your two playable characters and the game gets really confused as to what it wants to do.
The usage of voice, which was a key part in Batman 2, is not bad but isn't a huge boon here. I thought the voice-acting was meh and given that the storyline of LOTR can be expressed in pantomime makes the decision to use voices, apparently, from now on not necessarily grand.
Level design is more advanced than usual. It is harder to find the collectibles than usual and most missions have hidden "sub-levels" that are required to get everything. You have to collect a ton of things and it almost seems like TT left out some key tools to assist you. A red brick allows you to find minikits, but nothing helps you find the blueprints you need to build new items or to help you find treasure items. Given the difficulty in finding these, it seems to be an oversight --- and a fairly big one here. You have to find pieces to unlock things, but they make finding the pieces to unlock others fairly difficult to find.
I do like L: LOTR quite a bit. It is a fun and enjoyable game as all TT titles seem to be. There is a little more precise platforming than usual but it isn't horrible. It is, as all Lego titles to hate have been, worth the time to play. It is fun. I think highly of it.