Lego The Hobbit : An expected and lackluster journey
Reviewed on PlayStation 4
With the success of the Lego games and the popularity of the Lord of the Rings franchise it comes as no surprise that Lego The Hobbit was made. After all, the Lego Lord of the Ring games were huge hits that have received both critical praise and commercial success. Unfortunately, Lego the Hobbit falls short of the bar set by both fan expectations and previous Lego Games.
The story of Lego The Hobbit follows the first two films in The Hobbit trilogy so anyone who has seen those films, the target audience for the games, will already know the story and find little to keep them plugging away to the end of the game. This is the great fault with many movie adaption games and sadly Lego The Hobbit chooses to rehash a story already presented on the screen instead of expanding on it. For those who may not know the story of The Hobbit, and really only those too young to have heard of The Hobbit fit into this category, the story is the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the titular Hobbit, as he attempts to find and take the treasure of Smaug the dragon. For those cursing at the screen right now, I realize there is plenty more to the story then that, but that was the most basic way I could describe things without spoiling the plot for the few who have not seen the films or read the book.
Visually Lego The Hobbit is absolutely gorgeous. The cut scenes are some of the best moments of the game and they really look like a movie is being played. The levels all contain small details and subtle lighting that fits both the tone of the game as well as adds to the immersion of the experience. Despite being a Lego game, it truly has the feel of Tolkien’s universe.
The gameplay of Lego The Hobbit follows the standard Lego gameplay formula with a few small but welcome additions that break up the boring button mashing action. Some rhythm-based challenges, an interesting and not quite worthwhile item creation system tied to resource collection, and the fun “missing piece” mini-game from the Lego Movie game keep gameplay from becoming too much of a chore. These small additions make Lego The Hobbit more than just a standard button masher, despite it still being mostly just that, but it isn’t enough to make gameplay stand out from other Lego games.
Speaking of the standard Lego gameplay, Lego The Hobbit delivers on the replay and character count we have come to expect from Lego games. However, the fact that several characters look almost identical or are not really known to casual fans takes a bit away from that fact. I would have loved a few more bonus Lord of the Ring characters, but I understand why that wasn’t done.
The sounds of Lego The Hobbit are exactly what you would expect from a Lego adaptation of The Hobbit movie. Music sets the mood of the scenes while sound effects take you slightly out of the scene with their playful and kiddy sounds. The balance between seriousness and playfulness far too often leans toward the playful side and older gamers will be turned off by this. Despite this fact, the game does sound great and many times I found myself stopping to enjoy the music without the battle sounds getting in the way.
There is no doubt this game is fun, but it is the kind of fun you only want in small doses. There is nothing here that keeps you going toward the end of the game other than the desire to replay levels with different characters. Sadly this is the downfall of many Lego games, as the novelty of the gameplay wears off long before the game ends thus forcing you to play the game in small chunks of time in order really enjoy yourself.
Overall Lego The Hobbit is just another Lego game with a few additions that are not used enough to matter. Fans of either The Hobbit or Lego games will no doubt enjoy this game more than hardcore video game players looking for a challenge. Despite this, I do recommend the game as it is a great way to introduce The Hobbit to younger kids or to just spend some time with a younger sibling or child.
Story – 3/5
A rehash of the movie, but still a good story.
Visuals – 5/5
This game looks so good you will swear you’re playing with real legos.
Gameplay – 3/5
The few additional game mechanics take it from terrible to average.
Sound – 4/5
The sounds and music fit the game well.
Entertainment – 4/5
Fans of Tolkien or Lego will get the most joy from this basic action game.
Extras – 3/5
A few character surprises add to the replay value.