LEGO The Hobbit
Although a decent jaunt for fans of either franchise, this is an example of a game created purely because the developers had the means to create it. This franchise is no longer essential, and there is serious work to be done if TT want their over-fed baby to remain fresh and current, and not merely soullessly lucrative. An enjoyable romp in of itself then, but by this point no one but kids and fans need really apply.
After the impressive voice acting and general spectacle of the main adventure starts to fade, you're left with an altogether dull world in which to roam.
It feels good to finish on a complaint. When I was writing about Path Of Exile a few days ago, I felt a bit mean finishing on a sour note, but The Hobbit left me feeling a bit grumpy. Admittedly, burning through a Lego game as quickly as possible isn't the best way to play, and I'd probably feel more fondly toward this one if I'd dipped in and out over a period of weeks.
Warner Bros.' latest plastic block adventure is a blast, but also a bit misleadingly titled since it only covers the first two films.
LEGO The Hobbit is what everyone expected, which can be good or bad depending on your exposure to the series. There is plenty to enjoy here for Middle-Earth fans, children, and those who haven't been burnt out yet by the series, but for those who were hoping for a fresh take on the LEGO video game experience there are few unique experiences to be had.
Even if you're not completely sick of the LEGO formula, you will be by the end of LEGO The Hobbit. This is a simple action game with light puzzles and an overwhelming cast of characters. It's also a disappointing retread of games you've probably already played. There are a few memorable moments sprinkled throughout this adventure, but this newest LEGO game covers too much familiar ground.
It is not to say that there is no fun to be had in this re-imagined Legoverse, because even with tired familiarities, Lego The Hobbit does plenty to satisfy you with its charm and whim, but the franchise needs a modest makeover if it wants to keep its youthful patrons engrossed.
The similarity of the various dwarf characters can prove to be a challenge. The sheer number of dwarves in Thoromir's party and their similarities in Lego form makes finding the right character with the right ability for any particular task more difficult than it probably should be. I do not discount my unfamiliarity with the movies being a contributing factor here but in the other Lego games I've played, character designs are varied enough for this not to be an issue. There's really only so much detail you can put on a Lego character yet there's no mistaking R2D2 with an Ewok, is there?
In the pantheon of LEGO games, LEGO The Hobbit isn't the worst by a long shot – but the formula's certainly getting tired. While the decision to release the game with only two-thirds of the story complete is an odd one, there's still more than enough content to keep you occupied for a good while, and the presentation is still as charming as ever.
Fans of Tolkien's work or the recent movies are sure to enjoy the journey there, and back again. For everyone else, this is another LEGO title. For better or worse, the series keeps on chugging. Thankfully it is always of high quality.