I can’t speak with authority when it comes to LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes or the various LEGO Star Wars adventures that have come out since I surprisingly fell in love with the first one for PlayStation 2, but LEGO Lord of the Rings feels like the slowest grind to date. That’s both good and bad, in my mind, but as the days go on and I continue to wander LEGO Middle-earth accomplishing tasks in teeny, tiny increments, it’s beginning to lean more bad than good. I mean, Tara and I finished up the main quests midway through December, and I’ve since been attempting to clean up all the collectibles that feed into getting a 100.0% rating. It’s taking some time.
For those that don’t know, here’s everything to collect in LEGO Lord of the Rings: minikits, treasures, blacksmith designs, red bricks, mithril bricks, characters, and True Adventure rankings in levels. That’s seven categories to keep in check, and the problem is that you often need specific treasure items to get certain bricks and so on. LEGO logjam has been with me for awhile, but I refuse to let this one stick and collect dust. Again, there are a few levels built around the “one chance” logic, where you get to a certain part–often the one where you are running towards or away from something and have to collect what you can as the game moves your character with haste–and have one shot at grabbing a minikit or treasure item; blow past it, and you’ll have to replay the whole level again just to get back to that spot. This has happened to me on a few occasions, and I’m not looking forward to forthcoming multiple attempts.
Traveller’s Tales has also gotten more sneaky with the way they hide items and secret areas within the environment. At times, I’d call them too well hidden, and even though you might have the minikit locater red brick turned on, if that minikit is in a secret spot, you won’t see an arrow guiding you towards it. This has required me to, much to my dismay, constantly hop on and off YouTube walkthrough videos to ensure I find everything I can, as well as prevent me from having to replay large level chunks over and over. Following guides is not how I like to game, but the completionist in me demands it be.
And so while the replaying of levels again and again and the aimless wandering and constant fast travel (with loading screens as a bonus) can become frustrating, almost to the point of stirring anger, I can’t help but have a smile on my face as I romp around Hobbiton as “Concerning Hobbits” plays in the background. Or feel like part of the actual Rohirrim when hanging out around the hill fort of Edoras. Or sense that I am truly out of my elements when sneaking into Mordor. Exploring Middle-earth freely is a delight, and the fact that all the wonderfully iconic and emotional music from the films carry over only add to the effect. It’s exhilarating, and gets me every time, even when I’m raging over missing a minikit or having a character get glitched into the environment somehow. Also, the inclusion of spoke Elvish is a nice touch, even if it is just some of the basics.
To round out this out love/hate post, here are some Achievements I’ve gotten during my time grinding:
The Lord of the Ring. (30G): Complete the Bonus Level.
I’ve always been taller! (10G): Use the Ent Draught on Pippin.
A link to the elements. (5G): Craft the Fire and Ice Bows. (Single Player Only)
As a way to encourage myself and speed up the completion process, I’m telling myself that I can play The Walking Dead‘s Episodes 4 and 5 once I clear LEGO Lord of the Rings to perfection and see it sail off to the Undying Lands to live out its days in peace and tranquility. Not before. After. Hopefully that will happen sooner than later. Like, this weekend. Might have to have a guide ready, but whatever. Life goes on.