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LEGO The Hobbit Review

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As much as I have
defended the yearly release of the LEGO games, with the recent release of LEGO The Hobbit, I am now starting to
feel that fatigue. After playing through this game, a majority of the game
design choices that have been a mainstay within the franchise are now looking really
bad for the series. This isn’t a terrible game by any means, but since this
only covers the first two films along with the game’s many other more major
problems, yeah, maybe it is time for Traveler’s Tales to change things up a bit
with the LEGO video game formula. Let’s dive right into LEGO The Hobbit.

The game’s story
will take you through the first two films in the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The films focus on Bilbo
Baggins, who journeys with Gandalf and a group of dwarfs to take back the
dwarf’s kingdom from the dragon-Smaug. Just like the last The Lord of the Rings-based LEGO game, the game will only go
through certain scenes and won’t cover every single inch of both films. This
game also has the same problems as the previous game, but we will get into
those later.

LEGO The Hobbit is an action platformer,
with puzzle-solving elements and some button prompts thrown into the mix. If
you have played LEGO The Lord of the
Rings
, then you have played LEGO The
Hobbit
. Both games share the same style of gameplay, but differentiate
themselves from one another with one major component: the group of dwarfs that
you can play as in this game. While they do have the same functions of the
party members from the last game, like archery and being able to smash cracked
blocks, they do change a few things up. One example is that Bilbo and the
dwarfs can team up for super attacks to either break down walls or do damage to
larger enemies and bosses. Each dwarf has his own unique ability—like one can
use a giant hammer and move heavy rocks, one can eat food and become a super
chubby trampoline, and another one can dig up items or components to solve
puzzles that were buried in the dirt.

The game also sees
the return of items that can be forged by the blacksmith to give you some
bonuses, a huge overworld that you can explore, and side quests, but the new
addition includes materials that can be found or mined throughout the levels
and the world you go through. Most of the side quests this time will either
require you to find a certain item that the blacksmith can make or use certain
materials to make something the quest giver requires. It’s a little tedious at
first, but if you like these kinds of quests, then you will be at home with
them. There is also split-screen co-op where you and your friends can go
through the levels together. The game will take you about eight to twelve hours
to complete, and about 21 hours if you want to complete the entire game.

Graphically, this
game does look pretty good. I feel like the lighting looks better, and the more
realistic graphics, while still dated-looking by now, are slightly prettier to
look at.The animations for all of the
characters in the game look smooth, although some of the super attacks that the
dwarfs pull off when paired up look kind of unfinished. The sound design, well,
sounds great. I mean, the lines and the voice work is taken right from the
films, but at least it isn’t like Rambo the
Video Game
. The music from the films is used in this game, and it is beautiful.
Say what you will about The Hobbit films, the music is always great to listen
to. Since this is a LEGO game, there is some humor thrown into the game, and
while it is more miss than hit for me, there are some parts that are pretty
funny.

Unfortunately,
this game has a lot of issues. First off: Traveler Tales, why haven’t you fixed
the camera angle during the main levels? I hate bringing this up every time I
review a new LEGO game, but this has to stop. It’s like telling a singer on a
competition show that he has a pitch issue and needs to fix it, but the next
week, that singer doesn’t change a thing and still has a pitch issue…I don’t
get it. I also had no urge to complete any of the side quests. I think that is
because the first few that I ran into had some stupidly high material
requirement, which basically said, “Hey, I need these materials, so I need you
to go farm those materials for a few minutes and then come back to me.” I mean,
what is the point of these side quests if I have no urge or desire to play
them? That just leaves me to travel across these vast empty areas that have no
life to them.

Then there were
the glitches. One was harmless, but another resulted in me falling through the
game’s world, and a third glitch completely prevented me from progressing through the
game. I tried to get past this last bug so many times since it was near the end
where the dwarfs and Bilbo are in Lake Town, but it wouldn’t let me continue
on. So yeah, I didn’t beat the game, but with all of the stale game design
issues and how I really wasn’t having a fun time, there was very little reason
for me to go back through the game, even if I didn’t encounter that bug. I just
think instead of having the same kind of levels throughout the entire game,
they could change things up. I love that the chase sequences are back, but they
are so few and far between. Change up how certain levels play out. For example,
you could have a conversation tree sequence when Bilbo is talking to Gollum
where Bilbo has to solve riddles to get past him. The whole game felt stale,
even if there were a few fun levels from time to time. Like I said above, the
story just skims through most of the scenes from the films, and I feel like if
there ever was a LEGO game to have an atmospheric environment, it would be the
games based off this series of books.

Final Verdict: Finally feeling that franchise fatigue

With this game, it
is time for the LEGO franchise to step up its game if it is going to be
released yearly. They can’t be just another LEGO game based off a license
property. Get creative and take advantage of the property that is given to you.
As for LEGO The Hobbit, it isn’t the
worst game out of the franchise, but it is slightly above average. I would
check this game out if you are a fan of the franchise or a fan of the films,
but if you want a LEGO game based off the fantasy franchise, just get LEGO The Lord of the Rings. Once the
third film comes out, you know that they are going to release a sequel with the
only difference being that the third film will be included. They should have
just waited and released this game next year when the third film will be out on
blu-ray. Oh well; let us hope the next LEGO game is much better.

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Our Verdict
LEGO The Hobbit Review
Nice looking graphics, great music and sound design, fantastic lighting, and some creative gameplay from time to time.
Franchise fatique hits this game with terrible camera, boring gameplay, repetitive quests, glitches, and the idea that they will release a sequel game and the only new addition being the third film.

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