As my first Lego game, I chose this one because many people told me it was the best. I was never really all that interested in the series, but I'm looking forward to playing some others after this one.
Gameplay is typical Lego, using the abilities of various characters to solve puzzles and find collectibles while you progress through the story and explore the game world. There are a ton of characters to collect as well, some I don't even remember from the books. This one follows the Lord of the Rings movies, and the majority of the voice acting is taken directly from them so it is very high quality. Cutscenes are thankfully skippable, especially considering you are forced to replay story missions in order to find all the collectibles. If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, you will probably enjoy this game.
I personally found the humor pretty weak and often forced, though it is generally considered one of the high points of the series. A few areas in the game really made me wish there was a way to summon a horse so I could move around faster. There are a number of bugs and though most of them thankfully minor a few can be quite annoying. One in particular makes a couple platforming puzzles in the game extremely difficult. When juping across these platforms, the game slows you down in the air so you don't jump too far and fall off. Unfortunately in certain locations, it always slows you down too much, causing you to not jump far enough and fall no matter how far you actually try to jump. This makes it extremely difficult to actually finish what should be trivial puzzles. I have also heard reports of a bug preventing 100% completion though luckily I did not run into that one.
For the technical aspect of the game, it runs mostly smoothly except when loading a new area in the overworld and is very stable; I only experienced one crash in my playthrough. The graphics are nothing special but it's a Lego game, not Crysis. The game does not have mouse support like all Lego games so I would highly recommend playing with a gamepad rather than the keyboard.
I enjoyed this game a great deal, more than I thought I was going to. I can definitely recommend it to anyone who's a fan of Lego games or Lord of the Rings.
My wishlist for future Lego games:
- A minimap (I believe this was added in Lego The Hobbit)
- Proper mouse support with free look
- A way to move faster later in the game
- The ability to skip in-game cutscenes in addition to cinematic cutscenes. Blacksmithing is quite tedious in this one.
- Better autotargeting. This game likes to loose the target when you hit the button to act on it.