Lego The Hobbit Review
One of my favourite Lego games has to be Lego Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit of course shares a similar path, in that it’s based in the same universe.
Mind you I was a little concerned about The Hobbit, in that I was thinking, “How can they be releasing this game before the final film is out?”. Well there is good news and bad news here, the Good news is that the game only features the first two films so it won't spoil any surprises! While the bad news is, the game only features the first two films! The third part will come out as DLC and this kind of leaves you feeling a little short changed!
Mind you if you are a 100% completionist, then you will certainly find the number of sub-tasks a challenge and this goes some way to justify the omission of the final chapter.
I must admit the graphics - on the PS3 version I tested - were pretty lush! In fact I think the game features some of the basic graphics I have seen on a Lego title! Everything looks colourful and I know kids will lap this up like Dwarven Gold!
It was also great to see that for the most part the game follows the film and Tt games have even taken the voice samples directly from the main actors - which makes the in-game jokes even funnier; with typical Lego humour thrown in! Additionally the cut scenes are beautifully drawn and atmospherically narrated by Christopher Lee (aka Saruman).
Loading times are still a slog, but they are marginally faster than Lego Marvel Super Heroes. As with the latter title, and most Lego games in general, the most fun with this title lies with its Co-op play! It’s just a pity that there is still no on-line version so you can't play with your mates over the net.
The Gameplay mechanics of Lego The Hobbit are pretty much the same as you will find in the other titles. However, this time they have added a useful help feature which involves smashing a ‘?’ Brick in order to reveal clues as to how to interact with the environment or use the characters to complete puzzles.
Given the nature of the latter Dwarfs I.e. their mining skills, it is also not surprising that there is a new element in play which requires that you collect objects, such as gold, wood, iron, chicken etc. These items are then required to complete puzzles within the campaign or the free-roaming gameplay - between levels.
You can acquire these items by mining special stones or smashing crates, but only James Nesbitt’s character (Bofur) can mine stones. Thus you will have to wait until the free-play modes engage - on select levels - in order to tap into more mining fun. Mining incidentally also incorporates a mini test of skill as you have to time your button press to get the maximum amount of items from a single blow.
Additionally the puzzles that you complete take on a system incorporated in the Lego Movie Video Game; where you have to select the correct piece of Lego from a wheel in order to build the structure. The only difference is there is not a strict time limit in place, so you have a little bit more time to get the correct piece(s).
Mind you these elements can become a bind once you complete the main campaign! And sometimes, not having enough items can slow you down (you usually require x amount of items to build). Thankfully there are locations which allow you to buy (using studs) extra items but these can be costly.
Other new gameplay elements take the form of using the one Ring (as the Bilbo character) to build items that are not seen unless you go invisible. You also have a new system of reaching inaccessible platforms. For example certain Dwarfs have to be placed on specific bricks so you can jump on top of their shoulders to reach greater heights. Switching between characters though can be a little fiddly when doing this, but it's still good fun.
In fact there definitely seems to be a lot more puzzle elements thrown-in than before, but the combat has suffered a touch because of it. Not that it’s terrible or anything, it’s just that it feels frantic! Playing as either Gandalf or Radagast can also be a drag as they are pretty feeble in combat (against Orcs etc).
To help aid your cause you can now switch between two weapons in your inventory or hold down the circle button (or equivalent depending on your platform) to perform a spinning super attack, but in the heat of battle this is easier said than done!
Likewise there are plenty of pre-rendered scenes which involve you being chased in a high-speed action sequence. However, one such scene, involving the barrel sequence, I was expecting to be a lot more action packed – as it was in the film. But I was a little disappointed with this part, as it just felt flat!