LEGO The Lord of the Rings Hands-on Preview -- Good Old WeathertopBy Leah Jackson - Posted Oct 30, 2012
LEGO The Lord of the Rings from Traveller's Tales is the open-world action-adventure game that follows the story of Frodo and The One Ring from Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films. Traveller's Tales has brought all of the staple LEGO mechanics to LEGO LOTR that we've come to love from these titles, like building things and collecting characters, but this time around you can really tell that they've gone that extra mile to create a visceral gameplay experience for both fans of the series and for those youngsters who have never even heard of Gandalf the Grey.
In our latest preview with LEGO The Lord of the Rings, we set off to Weathertop, a pivotal location in The Fellowship of the Ring, and one that we get to see much more of this time around. That's one thing that's so great about LEGO: LOTR; you can explore places from the films as much as you want. Even though you're playing with LEGO characters, the environments look just as realistic as they do in the film (with some LEGO embellishments of course), so it's a real treat to wander around these iconic locations in a way that you never have been able to before.
If you remember from the film, as soon as the sun goes down at Weathertop, the Hobbits (aside from the slumbering Frodo) realize their tummies are grumbling, and it's time to eat; they are Hobbits, after all. Our gameplay experience started here, and we were able to switch through the Hobbits Sam, Merry, and Pippin in order to find everything necessary to cook a fine meal. As Sam, we were equipped with a frying pan and all the items needed to make fire. The whole scene kind of reminded me of the potions from LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 where you needed to get all of the items in order to proceed.
Each Hobbit had their own way of helping: Sam could make fire and cook everything, Pippin could catch fish, and Merry could crawl in tight places to access areas hiding ingredients for the meal. Once we had everything needed (which unfortunately wasn't tomatoes, sausages, and nice crispy Bacon), Sam whipped it all up for everyone to enjoy.
As all of the commotion from cooking came to an end, Frodo woke up and realized the terrible mistake his friends had made. It turns out, the blaze of smoke from Sam's fire alerted the enemy Ring Wraiths to their location, and the terrifying devils were now right at the foot of the mountain ready to take back The Ring from Frodo.
The next section of gameplay featured Frodo and Sam climbing up Weathertop to get away from the Ring Wraiths. Again, I loved this section, because it allowed me to further explore an area of the film from an angle I'd never seen before. This section was less about collecting items and more about platforming. Sam and Frodo had to jump along craggy rocks, dangle on ledges, and throw pebbles at vines in order to get through the stage.
Once they reached the top, a cutscene ensued showing the Hobbits all trying to defend Frodo and The Ring from the Ring Wraiths. As his friends were defeated one by one, LEGO Frodo, in his terror, hilariously put The One Ring over the top of his entire LEGO hand and went in to Ring Wraith mode.
Ring Wraith mode is a new feature that TT showed off, and it's what happens every time Frodo puts on The One Ring. When you're playing as Frodo during Ring Wraith mode, he becomes invisible to everyone around him except for minions of Sauron, and the screen is enveloped in a ghostly shroud portraying exactly what it looks like in the film when Frodo wears The Ring.
During this sequence, we had to switch between Frodo and Sam in order to light torches that we would later use to set the Ring Wraiths on fire to defeat them. Sam could beat the Wraiths off with his frying pan which was awfully funny, but the whole scene was much darker than what is typically seen in most LEGO games. They even show Frodo getting stabbed by the Witch King, which is impressive for fans who want to see these movie moments played out in the game.
Once all the torches were lit, the ranger Strider showed up and we were able to use him to light the Wraiths on fire to take care of them. Taking the final wraith out even mirrored the scene in the film, in which Strider throws a torch right in to the head of a Wraith. A bit of LEGO humor was thrown in at the end though, when a Wraith offered his mates a fire extinguisher.
The demo came to a close with an amazing cutscene showing the Elf Arwen coming to help Frodo. She saunters towards him with an angelic white light behind him while Strider is in the background trying to look as handsome as humanly possible. The two exchange some words, and then Arwen takes Frodo on her horse and promises to get Frodo to Rivendell as fast as possible for help.
From what we've seen of LEGO The Lord of the Rings so far between our Weathertop demo and the last time we got to play through Battle of Helm's Deep, the game is coming along brilliantly. Every major note, and even many of the minor ones, are hit throughout the game and punctuated with a bit of humor that always makes us grin with delight. We can't wait to play through the whole story once the game launches on November 13, 2012.