LEGO games have always been cute and funny and LEGO The Hobbit is no exception. Based on 2 of the 3 movies, how does it manage to hold up?
Note: This review will assume some knowledge of either the book or the movies. With that, there are some spoilers in regards to the story. This is your warning.
When I originally heard that LEGO The Hobbit was coming out I thought to myself, wait what about the third movie? Is it going to include that? Keep in mind, this was before it had been announced that the third movie wouldn’t be released until December, 2014. Well of course, it didn’t. It only included the first two – An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. Even before playing it that was disappointment #1 – LEGO Lord of the Rings had gotten all 3 movies into 1, why not wait and make it the same with LEGO The Hobbit?
Personal issues with the movies themselves aside, LEGO Hobbit pulls the typical LEGO flavoured humor into the setting the movies gave us. Some adjustments were made, of course, to actually allow you to be able to play with a second player (for example: Bilbo isn’t alone while facing Smaug).
LEGO The Hobbit pulls on a lot of the same foundation that LEGO Lord of the Rings already gave us, with very similar styles between the two. The mini-side quests are the same style, the world looks very similar (which it better) just to name some similarities. What LEGO The Hobbit does different, though, is that you now have even MORE collectibles, though this time in the form of “crafting” items you can use at various places. I noticed for the first bit that I was running fairly short on these, namely wood planks, even WITH completely clearing levels to the best of my ability. At some point, however, these issues suddenly became non-existent and I never really had to worry about materials again.
With the fact the game was only covering the two movies, it really felt like they were trying to grasp at straws to pull levels. Pretty much EVERY slightly action-based scene got a level, adding up to 16 in total. Length of them is all over – some levels take hardly any time at all while some feel like they will never end (the Lake-town level comes to mind here). It really does feel like if they had just waited for Battle of the Five Armies that they would have been able to balance level length/what was a level so much better.
With the cast being so large in the movie to begin with, and the fact they are together for so much of the movies, it is understandable that it was difficult to give each dwarf their own ability. Several dwarves do share abilities but overall I felt like they did balance this fairly well. That said, why did characters like Ori suddenly have an axe (he’s never portrayed as having an axe in the movie, just a slingshot)? Why did they somehow still have some of their weapons after (and even during) the events in Mirkwood with Thranduil? How were they back to wielding basically the same things as they were climbing Erebor? It makes absolutely no sense.
It seems the game does follow a LEGO trend though – glitches. Also, the lack of a windowed mode (something all games should have I feel). While I never encountered any within the An Unexpected Journey levels, I quickly found a couple in the Desolation of Smaug levels. Both of them forced me to completely restart the level too! One of the glitches, which happened during the trek through Mirkwood level, turned a platform on me while I had characters on the wrong places and couldn’t fix it at all. It was pretty frustrating to say the least. At least the second glitch I found which seemed to have despawned an item was right at the START of the level.
While LEGO The Hobbit has some questionable bits it is still worth playing for those who are fans of the movies, the book, LEGO games, or some combination of all of those. While I’d obviously suggest you just read the book, LEGO The Hobbit is still worth picking up. You’ll get your LEGO brand of humor with a side of the dark happenings of Middle Earth.
LEGO The Hobbit Review Score