A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lego Lord of the Rings is one of those games that has a crazy amount of synergistic marketing going on; it's a video game based on a toy line that is based on a movie trilogy that is based on a classic series of books. But like most titles in the Lego line of video games, it's a quality product that -- outside of the packaging -- doesn't feel like an advertisement. Keep in mind, though, that the source material can get pretty dark at times, and even though all the characters here are Lego minifigures, there's a ton of fighting and quite a few spooky scenes. The story follows the movies closely, meaning characters die as well -- though violent deaths are portrayed here with tongue-in-cheek humor (such as a character who is shot with bananas instead of arrows).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
LEGO LORD OF THE RINGS presents a surprisingly loyal adaptation of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films. When an ancient evil being named Sauron returns to take over Middle Earth, a team of humans, elves, dwarfs, and hobbits trek across kingdoms to destroy the magical ring that gives Sauron his power. With the exception of scenes in which violence has been traded for comedy (like a hero being shot with a launched chicken), the plot stays pretty much the same. The Lego characters even speak with dialogue straight from the movies.
Is it any good?
Lego Lord of the Rings should appeal to fans of both the game's source material and the previous Lego video games. Those games have always been good, but the developers have made some wonderful improvements. Most appreciated is the ability to save within levels -- some of which are very long. Plus you've got a complete vast map of Middle Earth to explore openly. The sheer size of it is astounding. They've added role-playing game elements, like side-quests that can be started by talking to random townspeople, and the ability to craft new weapons and armor that can then be equipped by your characters. It helps the experience feel more like, say a Legend of Zelda game, than just a retread of the typical Lego formula. The story is told beautifully (and hilariously) through a Lego lens, which is sure to appeal to hardcore Rings fans. But thanks to the great use of movie dialogue, it's also told in a clear, concise manner that can serve as a newcomer's introduction to the classic tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about marketing tie-ins. Does playing this game make you want to buy Lego toys? Does it make you want to see the Lord of the Rings films? Or read the books? Are any of those outcomes inherently better than the others?
Talk to your kids about the story's message of teamwork and cooperation. What does each member of the Fellowship of the Ring bring to the team? What obstacles do the members have to overcome in order to work well with one another?
Parents can also talk to children about violence in video games. Is the violence here less impactful because the characters are portrayed as toys?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Hobbies: collecting
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, making conclusions, solving puzzles
Communication: friendship building, listening
- Price: $49.99–59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Warner Bros. Games
- Release date: November 12, 2012
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon violence, Comic mischief
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.