The most recent series to get the LEGO treatment is “The Hobbit” based on the new Peter Jackson movie trilogy, which of course is based on the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. The LEGO games are always top-quality, family-friendly games, and no matter what series they are representing, some things remain the same – there is a ton of exploration, things to collect, and an incredible amount of characters to unlock. If you have ever played a LEGO game, you will feel right at home.
“LEGO The Hobbit” feels exactly like a continuation of last year’s “LEGO The Lord of the Rings,” and not just because it is the same gaming world and overall tale. The gameplay feels just like it, as you can select from one of several Tolkien characters as you smash through bad guys, solve puzzles, and explore the world of Middle Earth. Most of the characters feel like variations of each other, especially the dwarfs. If you aren’t that familiar with the story, you might think they are the same guy, as they look very similar. There are some levels that feel like rehashed versions of the last game, but as the story progresses, there are several new environments to explore.
One of the greatest things about the LEGO games is seeing all the best scenes of the films recreated as cute LEGO bricks. Although this game is on pretty much every system out there, I played it on the PS4, and the graphics are surprisingly breathtaking for a game made up of blocks. The music and the sounds from the game are right out of the movie, and a lot of the voices are recorded right from the movie itself, which seems weird when you see the blocky action on the screen. The story of the game coincides with the release of the second movie in the trilogy so the game doesn’t go up to the end, only to the end of the second movie, which is a bit of a disappointment.
The gameplay is simple fun for all ages; none of the puzzles are terribly complex, but they are fun for a solo player or in two-player cooperative play. Most of the puzzles revolve around having the correct character. For example, the hobbits can be used to break down certain barriers and Gandalf can use his powerful magic to break certain walls, revealing hidden paths. As you go through the story, you unlock new characters with new abilities, and after a level is completed, you can play it again as many times as you want with any of the unlocked characters. If you want to collect everything, you have to replay the game several times with many characters in order to gain access to all the secrets. Even after you finish the story, you can go back and complete all of the side missions and all of the crafting objectives. The last game introduced the crafting system, and “The Hobbit” expands upon it, making it more complicated. As you explore each level, you collect several items, like food, metals, gems, and the most precious mineral in Middle Earth, Mithril. Crafting all the items in the game requires a real lot of backtracking through the levels, or you can just buy them, but the prices are really high. After a while, it can get to be very tedious, but it does make for a incredible amount of replay value.
Overall, “LEGO The Hobbit” is great family fun, with fantastic graphics, beautiful music, and a unbelievable amount of collectibles and content to explore. If you love LEGO games, then you will want to pick this one up, especially if you are a fan of “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Hobbit.” If you haven’t seen the first two movies yet, you might want to because it is an exact retelling of the story and might have some spoilers. “The Hobbit” is a classic tale that has inspired many fantasy worlds, so it is great to see a game that is true to the source material, especially if this is your first time hearing it.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.