Review

LEGO The Hobbit

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LEGO The Hobbit is the latest addition to the evergreen pool of LEGO action adventure games by Traveller’s Tales. While based on the first two Hobbit films, An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, the game also features minor role-playing elements with Middle-earth as an explorable open world complete with side quests.

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What You Need to Know

LEGO The Hobbit is closely tied to the first two films of the Peter Jackson Hobbit trilogy. Featuring Bilbo Baggins’ earlier life, it tells of Bilbo’s adventure with Gandalf and a company of dwarves to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug.

The game is split into two types of stages: The classic chapter quests and the open-world section. The classic chapter quests play more or less the same throughout all LEGO games, requiring puzzle solving and a generally single-screen (although splittable if players wander too far apart) in co-operative mode.

The open world of Middle-earth is similar to LEGO: Batman 2, where players are automatically in split-screen mode to enable free-roaming of the world. In this mode, side quests can be accepted through general interaction with NPCs or the exploration of the realm.

LEGO The Hobbit also includes some RPG elements in the form of collectible items and multiple weapons and skill sets per character such as the ability of certain characters to buddy up, and for others to develop their skills as the game progresses.

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What’s New?

As LEGO games have evolved over time, several releases have introduced unique features, which for the most part LEGO: The Hobbit has amalgamated together, such as the splittable co-op screens and the open-world adventuring and RPG elements.

The Hobbit includes ‘Treasure Quests,’ mining and crafting, too. Using various appropriately skilled or equipped characters, the player is able to mine areas of Middle-earth for resources that can be used to craft platforms and vehicles to gain entry into new sections, as well as forge powerful magical items. Mithril plays its part in the realm, enabling the forging of new items in the Blacksmith Shop. In certain sections of the game there are quick-time events that require a little more precision and careful reactions than the usual hammering of attack buttons.

The abilities of certain characters develop as the story progresses, for example, as Bilbo discovers his sword, ‘Sting,’ his fighting prowess improves. Characters also possess unique skills and equipment that can be harnessed into buddy moves to add a greater depth of puzzle solving to the game.

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What’s the Same?

The pure fun and enjoyment of a LEGO action-adventure game. Like all other LEGO games, the quality is high and the entertainment factor is virtually limitless. From the vast selection of LEGO characters to choose from and more to unlock to the irresistible urge to want to go back to completed levels in Free Play mode to get that 100% score, LEGO: The Hobbit shares the addictive gameplay experience of all the other LEGO titles.

The drop-in / drop-out co-op that we’ve come to appreciate in all LEGO titles is also as much fun as it always has been and as with all LEGO games, it’s better with a buddy.

You’ll Enjoy LEGO The Hobbit If You Liked…

… LEGO: Batman 2 shares a similar open world.

… LEGO: Lord of the Rings is also set in Middle-earth, shares the same fantasy setting, and incorporates dialogue from the movies.

… Every other LEGO action-adventure game by Traveller’s Tales – they’re all the same style at heart and if you’ve liked any of the others, you’ll enjoy the Hobbit. Best of all, there is an amalgamation of enough new features from other recent LEGO titles in the Hobbit to appease those unfortunate few suffering from a LEGO overdose.

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What I Liked

- 5.) Co-op was taken to another level in the Hobbit. With the addition of RPG elements as well as the graphical style of split screen, the open world and the more demanding puzzles, the co-op experience in the Hobbit especially appealing.

- 4.) Some sections of the game are especially well-designed, such as the sneaking about the Troll camp and the flashback battle against Azog. In moments like this, it is especially difficult to not feel immersed in the tension and excitement.

- 3.) Puzzles in the Hobbit are a bit more challenging given the wider diversity in characters, their equipment, and their skills. It’s really not going to cause you to take a fifteen minute break to regather your thoughts but there are situations that will force you to stay alert. As always, many of the puzzles are solved with hilarious results.

- 2.) The open-world roaming through Middle-earth is fantastic. It gives you an opportunity to really explore the realm and immerse yourself more effectively into Tolkien’s world. The nature of the split-screen enabling players to literally split up and go anywhere they want and take on separate sections on their own adds to the true sense ofan open world.

- 1.) The Hobbit is a little more serious than other LEGO games which gives it a stronger edge for mature audiences. It’s still the same child-friendly experience full of LEGO humour but when you hold it up against other LEGO titles, you can tell this one is just a little more gritty and a little more serious – albeit ever so slightly. The incorporation of actual character dialogue adds a deeper degree of realism to the game and allows for a stronger narrative.

Favourite Moment

The battle with the Mountain Trolls was especially entertaining and memorable for me because it was played in co-op. The constant banter and edgy implications that the Trolls were about to devour our friends made the prelude of sneaking into the camp even more tense. The actual battle was challenging and also true to the LEGO humour with a combination of buddy-up moves and amusing outcomes.

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What I Didn’t Like

- 3.) The ‘choose character’ HUD that you can bring up shows more detail about each available character but sometimes it’s not always apparent which character has the skills or items that you require – it perhaps would have been more helpful to have specific highlights of the pertinent facilities. As an example, it was not clear which characters wielded a bow in order to pass obstacles requiring an arrow to be shot at a target. A few guesses and eventually we found the character we needed.

- 2.) With the added features and RPG elements comes a greater deal of complexity in the gameplay and controls. Although it is eventually something you will adjust to, it detracts from the classic ‘pick-up-and-go’ experience of earlier LEGO games.

- 1.) Given that the Hobbit is set in the expansive open world of Middle-earth, the load times from disc are quite long. The rewards perhaps justify the means but it is still an incredibly long load time which, when you consider this is still a game meant to include children in its audience, may cause some consternation amongst more impatient or attention-deficient gamers.

Least Favourite Moment

Despite the RPG elements adding depth to LEGO: The Hobbit, it also comes at a price. As much as I love the nuances of an RPG action-adventure, it is difficult to adjust to LEGO games going this way. LEGO: Star Wars was all action and very little pause for management and although this simple formula obviously can’t survive ten or twenty LEGO games unchanged, it’s still difficult to adjust to the added complexities that are natural advances as a game franchise reinvents itself as it matures.


LEGO The Hobbit Review – Launch Trailer


What’s Extra?

LEGO The Hobbit, like other LEGO games, will encourage you to keep going back to previous levels to complete them to 100%. Every chapter holds secrets that cannot be reached through the first play and it is imperative to return with a selection of ably-equipped characters to reach these sections.

The Bottom Line

LEGO The Hobbit brings all the quality and excitement you’ve come to expect from LEGO action adventures while adding open-world exploration and RPG elements which make this the most mature and expansive LEGO game to date.

A masterful musical score and stunning graphics add to the production value making this feel just like the movies!


This LEGO The Hobbit review was conducted on Xbox 360


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