LEGO: The Hobbit (Xbox One)
How many Lego games are too many Lego games? It seems like fewer and fewer time gets in between each release of the Lego games, and while they haven’t always been great leaps forward, the more recent titles each have their own identity and take on the smash-and-build gameplay found in the series.
‘Lego The Hobbit’ is the latest game in the long-running Lego series, and as you may have guessed, it’s based on the latest two of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. I have to admit, I felt as though I was going to grow tired of the Lego games and probably not enjoy Lego The Hobbit based on my own numerous experiences with the Lego games, but I’m happy to say there is enough unique gameplay on offer here to satisfy both fans of LoTR and previous Lego games.
Lego The Hobbit begins before the major events of the films, when the Dwarves still lived in Erebor, the immense underground city and mine where they gathered their resources and precious gems. Erebor looks amazing recreated in Lego, and the amount of NPCs gathering gems and wandering about really helps the player get immersed in the game. Players begin the game as Thorin Oakenshield (the dwarf leader from the films) but will quickly come to unlock the other dwarves as well. Each dwarf has their own special ability too. Oakenshield is a combat-centric character, who can unleash a spinning attack similar to Link from The Legend of Zelda. Other dwarves are better at gathering resources, or have the ability to shoot switches with ranged attacks.
The characters will prove more useful than characters in previous Lego games, as they come in handy in more situations than before, and can learn more abilities than what they begin with. Sure, Mr Fantastic could turn into a key, but Bombur can solve puzzles, gather ores, craft keys and hold his own in a fight. Take that Mr Teapot!
As I mentioned earlier, there are now additional gameplay elements such as puzzles (different kinds of puzzles than previous games), gathering and crafting to go hand in hand with the more useful characters. The crafting isn’t difficult, and doesn’t require grinding, and it will appeal to kids who love Minecraft, because it provides a sense of accomplishment for all your smashing, mining and exploration. I’m pretty thorough in exploring games, and it was nice that I could make most solutions to puzzle doors without having to venture too far.
As with most other Lego games, multiplayer is guaranteed to get the most out of your game, and all your favourite movie characters are present. There are quite often puzzles that require numerous players, and these are best handled by a pair of friends as opposed to a single player swapping back and forth between different characters.
While it might sound like Lego The Hobbit is the perfect game and doesn’t miss a beat, it’s not all diamonds and rubies. For one thing, the games in recent years have taken a more combat-heavy twist, with most boss fights having a puzzle element or method to beating them. The frustrating overuse of puzzles in previous titles such as Lego Indiana Jones were done away with, at least, until now. Lego The Hobbit on occasion feels out of balance. There are plenty of times where you can go without fighting an enemy for an extended period of time, and younger gamers might find their attention spans waining due to the lack of variety that can sometimes occur in levels. As I’m a grown woman, I might be underestimating kids these days. Then again, I might be right on the money with my assumptions that if a younger gamer is missing one piece of wood to craft something and they have harvested everything from the area they are in, they might grow bored of Lego The Hobbit quicker than other games.
- New takes on classic Lego gameplay
- Goes through both The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Desolation of Smaug, with the third movie possibly as future DLC
- Older Lego fans might find the formula stale, despite new features
- Occasional misstep in level design
- Sampled dialogue from the movies leaves little opportunity for comedy
When it boils down to it, Lego The Hobbit will either be a terrific game for your kids (if they can’t get enough of Lego games) or will prove to be a fun game that might benefit from a rental first. While it still offers the same fun as previous Lego titles, there might be some Lego veterans who may just want to let Smaug (the dragon) keep Erebor while they find another family game to play. As I mentioned earlier though, if you or your kids can’t get enough of Lego games, don’t hesitate to check it out at your nearest convenience.