After seventeen LEGO games based on licensed properties, you might be afraid that the series was in danger of becoming a little dry. After all, smashing your way through another brick-ified movie only has so much appeal. However, I’m happy to report that LEGO The Hobbit is not only an exciting and fun game, but it’s also one of the more innovative in the catalog of LEGO video games.
The game follows Bilbo’s story, as interpreted by Peter Jackson. As such, the game only covers the events in the first two movies. The final act of the book will be released in all of its LEGO brick glory as downloadable content later this year. Still, there is no shortage of things to do. The game is ambitious and presents players with a huge map of Middle-earth to explore: Bag End, The Misty Mountains, Goblin Town, and Rivendell are just a few of the locations you’ll visit as your company seeks out adventure.
If you’ve played a LEGO game based on a movie before, you’ll be mostly familiar with the gameplay. Levels correspond with scenes from the movie, in this case, The Hobbit. The game begins by controlling a young Thorin through the mines of the Lonely Mountain. Eventually, you’ll discover the Arkenstone and Smaug will make his appearance. From there, it’s on to the Shire and preparation for unexpected guests.
While gameplay is similar to previous games, TT Games has added a number of improvements to spice up the game. Much of the character’s discovery is by smashing scenery — things like mine carts, weapon racks, flower pots, and more to gain the LEGO studs that are the game’s currency. There are a few surprises, like bricks that you can assemble into devices to help you progress in the game, plus some other new things too.
First, dwarves being the smart builders that they are, are able to build things to help you in the game. Smashing may provide you with currency, but it may also provide resources like wood, stone, gems, and even Mithril needed to construct helpful items like keys or winches or dozens of other things to get you past puzzles.
Second, as the dwarves construct an item like Bilbo’s dining room table for the unexpected party, players can win currency bonuses by identifying — and selecting — the bricks necessary for progressing in the build.
Third, part of the enjoyment of playing LEGO games is playing with a friend. But sometimes you play alone too, which is why the game now allows you to pair together with another character to accomplish some tasks that would be impossible with just a single dwarf (or hobbit).
Finally, there are a number of other minigames and improvements, like quick-time events that make The Hobbit feel especially fresh. There are also lots of side quests to keep you occupied along the way.
Add in the fact that the story is driven by voice acting including dialogue from the films, dozens of playable characters, and lots of fun puzzles and an overflowing collection of visual gags and laugh-out-loud, funny moments you’ve come to expect from these games, LEGO The Hobbit is a very worthy addition to the line.
It would have been nice to have the whole story in a single game and not be forced to wait and purchase the conclusion as DLC (or wait for the inevitable “complete edition” of the game), but it’s still great fun and a fun way to play through one of the greatest stories of all time.
Disclosure: GeekDad was sent a PS4 copy of this game for review purposes.