The interactive game of LEGO The Hobbit allows gamers to play along with their favorite scenes from the films, and follows the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he is recruited by the Wizard Gandalf to aid Thorin Oakenshield and his Company of Dwarves. Bilbo leaves the comforts of the Shire on a journey through Middle-earth to help the Dwarves reclaim their lost Kingdom of Erebor within the Lonely Mountain. Along the way, he is introduced to ravenous Trolls, dangerous Orcs and, of course, Gollum and his precious Ring. Players will utilize and combine the Dwarves’ unique abilities – often with hilarious results – to solve the most diverse Quests of any LEGO videogame to date.
Like the previously released LEGO: The Lord of the Rings, this game is directly based on the latest movie adaption by Peter Jackson and features music and dialogue from the motion pictures. However, unlike its predecessor, LEGO: The Hobbit's storyline only features two of the three movies. One would ask why not launch next year so to include the entirety of Bilbo's epic journey, especially when we've already seen two major LEGO releases in the past 4 months. I can only guess that The Hobbit: There and Back Again will either be available as a stand-alone title or as DLC.
Although the gameplay is formulaic, I noticed some key improvements. The biggest is LEGO loot which is essentially raw materials like ore, wood or food. This means breaking everything in sight is key to your game's progression and not just for collecting studs. The gathered resources are then used to create objects with the "find the missing piece" mini-game from The LEGO Movie game or to craft items at the Blacksmith in Bree. Another thing I noticed is how the game hints are not plastered all over the screen anymore. They are tucked away in little tablets. Just walk up to the stone with a giant question mark to prompt the information on-screen. Finally, a few rhythm-based challenges were peppered throughout the game.
What's the same?
Everything else, really. The controls, the character abilities, the types of puzzles, the dungeons and side-objectives are all quite familiar. Just like previous titles, LEGO: The Hobbit is a humorous and entertaining button masher that offers a better experience in two player couch co-op.
I loved how you get a complete and diverse party from the get-go. The developers went with the full The Hobbit experience, giving you the full dwarf, hobbit and sorcerer company when in the open world setting. This enables you to explore the map and complete side-objectives much earlier than in previous LEGO games.
There's isn't anything negative that really stood out to me about this game.
Is it worth getting it on new generation consoles?
I played through LEGO: The Hobbit on the PlayStation 4. All previous titles I played through, some of which I reviewed for this blog, were on the PlayStation 3. Two things stood out to me. Firstly, the graphics are amazing: it really looks like plastic LEGO pieces are coming to life. Even cartoon style games benefit from the new consoles' buffed graphic capacities. Lastly and more importantly, the loading time is significantly reduced. This is a problem that has plagued many recent console LEGO releases. The loading time in The LEGO Movie game was particularly brutal, taking upwards to a minute or two per level. In the PS4 version of LEGO: The Hobbit, you jump from open world to level and back in a few seconds.
LEGO: The Hobbit is your typical LEGO game which means it's family-friendly, funny and light-hearted. I really enjoyed new features. This is one of my favourite LEGO games to date. It If you're into the Tolkien setting, you should definitely give this game a go.
LEGO: The Hobbit is available for the Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.