LEGO The Hobbit does a satisfying job of offering TT Games’ iconic LEGO gameplay. Its story lacks the accessibility of, say, a Star Wars or Indiana Jones, and it can often leave the experience feeling rather disjointed. However, this doesn’t quite invalidate the game’s fun gameplay, challenging puzzles and beautiful visuals, and there’s plenty to love about what’s on offer for fans of previous LEGO games.
The campaign can be finished in just under six hours, but thankfully, as with those in the series that came before it, there’s a lot more to explore, discover and collect outside of the main missions. TT Games has done a nice job of creating a world that fits the source material, and I particularly loved the day-night cycle that lets you access certain missions and areas at certain times of the day.
It’s also worth noting that this world looks fantastic on the PlayStation 4. TT Games, as always, has done a superb job in translating the wonders of the deep Hobbit universe into LEGO pieces, making for enthralling characters, mesmerising enemies, and inspiring level design. Throw in both the LEGO game series’ off-the-wall humour, not to mention the cheeky slapstick personality of The Hobbit flicks, and you have a wonderful fusion of colour, design and humour that makes for a satisfying LEGO experience.
But what’s a game if it holds up aesthetically but not on the gameplay front? Thankfully, LEGO The Hobbit feels intune with its gameplay roots, remaining firmly embedded in the action genre, with the puzzles, challenges and exploration to boot. At its core it really is just a button-masher, but there’s something strangely satisfying about causing havoc in iconic set pieces from your favourite franchises. I particularly like the new item creation system, which rewards exploration by fusing together resources you come across to create items of worth. Rhythm-based challenges keep the gameplay feeling fresh, and a relatively smart enemy AI keeps the combat engaging and satisfying for most of the experience.
The biggest problem for LEGO The Hobbit is that it just doesn’t tell much of a compelling story, and much like the films, it is packed to the brim with content and beauty, but seems to lack the depth at the moments that matter. The characters lack the charm and accessibility of others in the franchise, even the LEGO LOTR game, but this is certainly blanketed by the game’s simplistic but satisfying humour, and the value on offer.