“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them all, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” -J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
LEGO and J.R.R. Tolkien team together again to tell the tale of how the One Ring was discovered and the legendary hobbit Bilbo Baggins adventure with Gandalf and company in the precursor to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
LEGO The Hobbit is based on the first two Hobbit films The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
The game chronicles the adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he undertakes a quest to destroy the legendary dragon Smaug while discovering the origins of the One Ring and meeting the likes of Gandalf The Grey, Kili, Fili, Balin, Bofur, Thorin Oakenshield, Legolas Greenleaf and Gollum. Even Frodo and Sam make an in-game cameo and are playable characters.
So, does LEGO The Hobbit stand along the ranks of other LEGO games like LEGO LOTR did, or does it become a fairy tale wrapped in its’ own hype?
The world of Middle Earth is both vast and large in its design as in its previous game, which in lore, is the successor to LEGO The Hobbit, and while it presents Middle Earth in the same format as the previous game, it necessarily isn’t a bad thing.
The familiar towns of Hobbiton, Bree, and Rivendell are feature rich in detail and the new areas like Lonely Mountain and The Misty Mountains are also feature rich within the game, but were never shown in the previous game due to those locations exclusive to The Hobbit books.
Whether traversing in a darkened cave or on a enemy-heavy battlefield, the environments are diverse to what’s going on in the films and “LEGO-ize” the details to make certain things usable and destroyable and that pertain to a character’s abilities.
The characters themselves look exquisitely designed as well as TT Games went for the best designs possible while maintaining strictly to the source material and did a good job in doing so, giving each character an alternate self and arranging the clothing design, whether you’re in a certain city or a certain character of age, like Bilbo Baggins (Old) or if the main game characters were in Lake-town.
If you’re familiar with any LEGO game, especially LEGO Lord of the Rings, then gameplay is no major surprise. Even for newcomers, the game does a fairly good job of handholding throughout the environment to get the player accustomed to how a LEGO game works.
While the base gameplay stays the same from LEGO LOTR and other LEGO games, LEGO The Hobbit brings some new features to the table, including a feature seen in LEGO The Movie Video Game and that is the building mini-game.
In LEGO The Movie Video Game, players had to find instruction pages for Emmet to build things like ladders and cranes, and players would actively build it in the mini-game by selecting the correct pieces. Players had little time to find the right piece before the amount of studs you could get for finishing the whole build decreased, possibly decreasing to zero studs.
LEGO The Hobbit enhances on this feature, but also makes some changes to the mini-game. First off, each build can net 20,000 studs maximum, and decreasing to zero for either taking too much time to find the correct pieces or choosing the wrong piece. It’s an excellent feature that tests players’ reaction times while also offering substantial rewards in the process as the stud requirements for each level vary, and also seem more challenging to achieve in the main story. To build certain things in this mini-game, players are required to have the right amount of materials and the right materials for building. Thankfully since virtually anything and everything can be destroyed, players will find plenty of stock of wood, fish, copper, and other materials in Middle Earth.
The other new feature of the game is the ability to mine for LEGO crystals. This is an entire new gameplay feature that can be done in story mode and around the vast environment of Middle Earth. Players are required to hit the “sweet spot” in the middle to mine materials and get studs for doing so. The only problem with this new feature is that there’s only one known character that can mine for materials, which can require a lot of character swapping at times, even though players can buy materials with studs and even trade with certain NPCs in Middle Earth which is pretty cool.
While the abilities of each character seem to overlap, they do come in use in the given situations, and certain characters can even do double team moves as well as stack themselves on top of each other to reach hard-to-reach places for other characters to access. Another small new feature implemented is a camp system. Players can use camps to change the time of day.
Overall, LEGO The Hobbit is a fun game for all ages to enjoy, even if you’re not caught up to speed on the J.R.R. Tolkien lore. It does a good job of filling in gaps for anyone new to Tolkien’s work and helps LEGO newcomers along the way with stones that provide helpful tips. While the core mechanics of the game stay the same to that of any LEGO game, that similarity keeps new and experienced players on their toes and provides loads of content and replay value, especially bringing a friend into the fun. Whether you’re a hardcore or casual fan, a beginner, or just looking for something fun to play, LEGO The Hobbit is a game definitely a must-have game on your shelf.
Recomendation: Buy It