An expected journey.
Like it or not, the LEGO games have a legacy. They are like the Dynasty Warriors series for kids. They don’t vary much from iteration to iteration, yet still sell like hotcakes, and their fans eat them up. TT Games and Warner Bros. are continuing their adventures in Middle Earth with LEGO The Hobbit, and much like its predecessors, it brings a few new items along with a lot of familiarity.
The story only covers the first two movies, which is both expected and disappointing. The game runs between 6-8 hours to complete the story missions, but that is certainly not the end. Completing any LEGO game 100% is a daunting task, and The Hobbit is no different. The actual story also takes some liberties in its telling. Parts are missing and left up to players to fill in. This is fine for older players who have read the book or seen the movies, but for younger players it feels a bit piecemeal. The traditional LEGO humor is also present, and TT Games once again does a great job of telling a light-hearted tale.
As per usual, there is a robust cast of characters to play. The Hobbit suffers a bit from this due to a lot of the characters feeling extremely similar. Each dwarf may possess their own unique ability, but that is sometimes their only distinction. Without being thoroughly familiar with names it was sometimes hard to figure out which character I needed for various scenarios.
The formula remains pretty much untouched sans some minor additions. The most notable is the item crafting system. I could break specific blocks or search for materials around the world, and then craft a new puzzle item. There are also some new rhythm-based challenges, as well as the inclusion of the piece-finding mini-game from the recently released LEGO: The Movie Game. The rest is business as usual. Combat consists of simplistic combos, and collecting studs and finding hidden pieces remain the core focus. The LEGO formula never deviates much, so for anyone burnt out on the idea, this game isn’t going to change their mind.
Once again online co-op is absent, and at this point, I think it is safe to assume it isn’t returning to the series. I still love playing locally with my wife or son, but the option for online would always be appreciated. The game does support DLC though, and should actually be receiving the third movie portion via updates in the future. This is peculiar, as I fully expected a new release in the series around the time of the third movie, or at least a “complete” edition to be released to coincide with the third film.
One thing that stands out about The Hobbit is how gorgeous it is. The locations throughout the story are breathtaking at times, and seeing it on the new consoles really showcases how beautiful these areas are. There is also a lot of diversity in each locale. This is one of the most enjoyable adventures in the series in a long time. So much detail and love is poured into each level. Fans of The Hobbit are in for a treat as the familiar locations are represented in glorious detail.
I always struggle to write LEGO reviews. I feel like the series has paved its own way, and fans are there for each iteration. Also with the lack of advancing the series much beyond a few tweaks between games, it mostly boils down to love for the source material. The same is true for LEGO The Hobbit. Fans of Tolkien’s work or the recent movies are sure to enjoy the journey there, and back again. For everyone else, this is another LEGO title. For better or worse, the series keeps on chugging. Thankfully it is always of high quality.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 4.