Let’s go with the love first, to start on a happy note.I’ve become quite a fan of the “sandbox” Middle Earth that you wander around, and exists between and outside the actual levels. It’s quite large, and there’s a lot to explore and discover.
The addition of various ‘quests’ really adds a lot for a collector/completionist like me. Some quests are just to make a certain mithril object (for which you need a blueprint – found in levels and around Middle Earth) and mithril bricks (earned in levels and also scattered around Middle Earth).
Often, in order to find a mithril brick, you need to complete various puzzles. Some are simply using various character abilities to get to a location. Some are races, riding some animal through gates in a certain time. Others you use abilities to complete some sequence of events. All in all, it’s a good mixture, and means you feel that you really earned that brick!
The reward for the quests is either a mithril brick, or a red brick. The latter can then be bought to give you the standard LEGO Extras such as 2x score, disguises and the like.
As I mentioned last time, a character can now carry more than one object and store them for later. This means that if you have to find, say, 5 of something, you don’t have to find one, come back and deliver it, then go find another. In addition, there’s a treasure trove that contains all the mitrhil objects you’ve forged, making it easy to access them.
The levels are usually well constructed, being in a few parts. You can usually save at certain points, and there are also checkpoints. That way, if you have to quit and come back later you don’t need to play the whole level through again. The other interesting thing is that, just like the movies, when playing the story levels often contain scenes from different characters within them. So you have to (for example) do a bit as Frodo, then as Aragorn and Co. I don’t know why, but that really appeals to me.
I also love the way that while building, changing character or whatever, you can’t be hit by an enemy. In the earlier LEGO games this was a problem as often you could barely (if ever!) find a time when you weren’t being attacked. For some puzzles I had to wait for the “invincibility Extra” in order to progress – which wasn’t idea.
I really think some of the controls need tweaking. For a start, if the character hasn’t finished what they’re doing then trying to make them change to a new character flips to the other character that follows you around. This often means that you end up losing whatever work you just did to get to a certain point on the landscape. In this case “hasn’t finished what they’re doing” can also mean if they’re slipping on landscape or similar. And, this also happens when the game is saving.
The collision detection is often highly suspect at times. In certain areas, with certain characters I change to a different character just so I can destroy LEGO objects with some certainty.
And then there’s Gollum. Gollum is the only one (without the appropriate mithril boots) that can climb up certain walls. However some of these walls are glitched in that Gollum will leap off it when he gets to a certain point. The most annoying of these is up Mount Doom where you have taken quite a bit of time to get to that wall, and he ends up leaping off to the ground far below… Ugh!
Still, even with those issues, I’m at 79% complete and still having fun going back to complete both the open world Middle Earth quests, and also complete all the levels. I think that says it all.