Traveller’s Tale’s The Hobbit is the latest instalment in their critically acclaimed Lego series. Based on the first two films of the trilogy, An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, the story is told as only the Lego universe can tell it. So without any more delay, let us start our glorious quest.
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 11 April 2014
Review copy provided by Developers.
The Lego series of games have always fascinated me. They offer a unique take on the movie franchises that they cover and the little touches always are funny. Lego The Hobbit is no different and from the moment you load the game you are treated to something funny in the style that only Travellers’ Tales can offer. They have kept with the core mechanics that have made previous titles so enjoyable so if you have already played a Lego title then you know what to expect.
The title screen alone is enough to make you want to play it. While it may be a simple affair – Bilbao tinkering around his hole with Gandalf peeking through the window – is hilarious and that is before you even start the quest. You have also got the musical score that is played during the Hobbits scenes in the motion picture in the background, to give an amazing atmosphere and feel to the game. The story follows the order of events as they are in the first two parts of the trilogy.
All the memorable scenes from Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug are here. You get the chance to explore Middle-Earth and visiting places like Rivendell, home of the elves and the dwarven kingdom of Erebor. In battle you get to fight the Necromancer and meet the wonderful dragon Smaug, who lives under the mountain. All recreated nicely and with great humour that will keep you wanting to come back for more.
The control scheme is basically the same as all the previous titles. They have introduced the new buddy-up system; where in order to destroy certain things or reach inaccessible places, you must team up with one of your party to utilise your strengths. This does work wells for the most part, but sometimes I did find that if I weren’t in exactly the right place I would end up accidentally hitting one of my own. This is only a minor niggle with the controls and probably due to this is the first time that this system has been used.
While Traveller’s Tales philosophy of ‘If it is not broke, don’t fix it’ is fine, the system is now getting old. The smash and build idea is still fun to play, but it would be nice if they tried to alter it in the next Lego game. Also you will find that this outing is more focused on getting materials to build stuff, than it is battling enemies. Despite this though when you come up on a hoard of Orcs it is still fun fighting them and watching them break into pieces.
The new crafting feature is a bold attempt to introduce a change to the tried-and-tested formula. When you collect enough building blocks and find the places to build, you complete this task using a rhythm style – where the button you must press slides into a circle on screen and you press when it grows to nearly full the circle. When you complete this mini-game and an anvil present, two massive presses hits the unshaped metal to make the object, which is quite hilarious.
Like all the Lego games before it, the graphics are amazing and the recreations of the scenes are spot-on. All details have been observed and this is especially true when you see places like the Shire and the home of the Baggins. The soundtrack is brilliant as the films score is added and adds real atmosphere to the game.
Lego The Hobbit is faithful to the films and is a very enjoyable experience. The only flaws that the game has got are that there is not really much variation from the previous titles in the series. While this is no bad thing, I think it about time that Traveller’s Tale try and change the formula a little as the gameplay is feeling slightly dated. The game is still a fun game to play and one that I would recommend buying.