One does not simply port into Mordor.
You must know how this works by now. Lego have had tie-ins with many franchises now and they have now moved onto The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic masterpiece literary works which was turned into an amazing movie trilogy by Peter Jackson. It’s more Jackson’s work that is represented here and in keeping with Lego Batman 2 this game also uses voiced characters with the dialogue ripped from the trilogy and used where is appropriate. This does serve as an immidiate issue though, as the quality isn’t especially great. Could they have not taken the samples directly from the sound tapes? It very much sounds like somebody just taped it from a TV with a dictaphone.
The game starts you off as you would expect from The Fellowship of the Ring and loosely follows the events of that film from the start of the original face off with Sauron and many of the major points of the story along the way, via The Two Towers and The Return of the King throwing you into various set pieces with the usual mix of puzzle/platforming action using the various characters at your disposal and their unique skills.
There is a free roam element to the game, with many of the villages serving as hubs between the different towns and the missions can be accessed from these them in order to complete the obligatory bricks/characters/collectables side of things from free play. There are many different characters to unlock from the series and these distractions from the main game only serve to extend what is probably one of the shortest Lego series titles I have ever played. The main portion of the game will be over before you could watch all three films back to back.
The game uses combat mechanics in fitting with the theme of the series and many of you opponents have the ability to block, so the aim is to try to knock them off balance by using the circle button before striking with the square. Which would be fine if it worked all of the time, but I found that on occasions the game wouldn’t register some of the hits and you just end up mashing the buttons. Which all gets frustrating.
It’s all pretty standard fare visually and if you have played either of the other two Vita Lego games then you probably know what to expect, as this is practically the same effort as the DS/3DS version. Whilst in itself it isn’t a bad thing, the cut scenes are poor again and it’s just a little annoying when watching to see something running when it wasn’t ultimately the target platform.
The game and the environments are pretty nice themselves, the world of Middle Earth reimagined with Lego all looks decent enough and it is a faithful recreation of Jackson’s film series. It manages to capture the feel of the films whilst maintaining that Lego charm, although I didn’t feel that as much of the series’ trademark humour was present.
I did enjoy it in places, and despite some of the clunkiness in the controls and some of the issues with the audio and visuals was reasonably enjoyable whilst it lasted but the speed in which I breezed through it makes it very difficult to recommend. With all of the collectables and characters it will probably keep you occupied over the course of a week, and of course Tolkien fans will love it. In which case stick another one on the score, but in general it’s probably worth a miss.