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Review

Lego The Hobbit Review

  • First Released
    released
  • Reviewed
  • PS4
Robert Handlery on Google+

An unexpectedly dull journey.

Lego The Hobbit is immediately charming. The title screen shows Bilbo puttering around in his cozy hobbit hole of Bag End, and the wizard Gandalf poking his head in the window. As Howard Shore's beautiful score from the films plays, you can almost feel the warmth from the fire. And from these quaint beginnings, Lego The Hobbit whisks you off on a journey across Middle-earth, getting all the visual details right to transport you to the world of Peter Jackson's films. But despite the game's endearing Lego characters, its appealing sense of humor, and its faithfulness to the films, the act of actually playing Lego The Hobbit is a chore that leaves you firmly grounded in reality.

All of the most memorable scenes and locations from the first two Hobbit films are represented here. You traipse through the lush elegance of Rivendell and the rough-hewn majesty of the dwarven kingdom of Erebor. You battle the mysterious necromancer in Dol Guldur and encounter the dragon Smaug under the lonely mountain. And it's all presented with a humorous touch that only makes this version of Middle-earth more appealing: at one point, for instance, the dwarves construct a key to open a large, forbidding door, but rather than inserting the key into the lock, they simply hurl the key at the door, smashing both to bits. But though it all looks appropriately epic and imaginative, this is one sleepy quest. As you make your way through an environment, your progress is constantly hindered, and figuring out how to advance is never remotely stimulating or enjoyable.

Maybe you need to just run around smashing Lego objects until you destroy the one that gives you the pieces that let you build something that lets you advance. This building process requires no ingenuity on your part; you usually just hold down a button for several seconds as your character tosses the pieces into place. This is how it's been since the earliest days of the Lego games, and the simplicity of the process is getting tiresome. Occasionally, the building process involves a basic minigame in which you see which piece is needed to continue building the object and have to select that particular piece from among several pieces, but even the young children whom this game is designed to appeal to deserve more engaging problem-solving than this.

In some situations, you need specific types of "loot" to construct the Lego object you need to progress. These occasions can be especially frustrating, sending you on a quest far and wide through the game's large environments looking for the type of object you need to destroy to get the loot you need. There are traders here and there who let you exchange one type of loot for another, but they rarely offer the specific loot you might be in dire need of when you encounter them.

As in just about every Lego game, you can play local split-screen co-op.

You also often need to rely on the abilities of one character or another to advance. You might need to switch to Dori and use his flail to pull hooks loose. Perhaps Dwalin's hefty hammer is required to whack a block into place. Or maybe Bombur needs to sit on a picnic blanket and let other hobbits toss food into his mouth so that his belly can be used as a springy jumping pad. Whatever it is, there's never any sense of accomplishment that comes from doing these things, because the game makes it abundantly clear what you need to do. You don't need to think about it, or play skillfully to do it. You just go through the motions, dutifully switching to the correct character and using his or her ability in the designated spot.

And then there's the combat. Sluggish conflicts that require no skill and have no feeling of impact drag the game down constantly. Again, the presentation does the source material justice: combat often takes place amid massive crowds, and even if they are Lego minifigs rather than highly detailed character models, the way the screen swarms with orcs, goblins, or other foes makes these skirmishes look large and alive and dangerous. When you face powerful enemies, the camera zooms in, and the minifigs perform stylish fight choreography that wouldn't be out of place in Jackson's films. But as usual, the chasm dividing how the fights look and how they feel is wide. Like so much of the action in Lego The Hobbit, winning these battles is a matter of responding to onscreen cues.

Yes, even the controversial barrel scene is represented.

There's no shortage of content in Lego The Hobbit. The main story quest covers the narrative films in detail, though frustratingly, it ends on the same cliff-hanger that the second Hobbit film ends on, so there is no resolution offered here. And of course, there are tons of collectibles that you have to return to levels as different characters to nab, perhaps using an elf's ability to walk on tightropes or a goblin's knack for climbing certain walls. There are also plenty of optional side quests to complete across Middle-earth, but they all involve the same tedious mechanics employed by the story quests. Lego The Hobbit proves that having plenty of variety in terms of objectives and gameplay mechanics doesn't make much difference if none of those objectives and mechanics are much fun, and that capturing the look of an epic quest isn't the same as capturing the feel of one.

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The Good
Visuals capture the charm and grandeur of the films
Heaps of content
The Bad
Sluggish combat
Simplistic puzzles
5
Mediocre
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Carolyn is a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and thinks Peter Jackson's films based on Tolkien's work are pretty neat. Lego The Hobbit is the first Lego game she's played since the days of the Lego Star Wars games.
127 comments
Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Also, those of you bashing the reviewer here for being jaded will not want to be caught for bashing the Call of Duty games, or any other franchise which has been doing the same damn thing for many entries, because recycling gameplay is practically what the LEGO video games had been doing for years. If you do, you have some major double standards there.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

The game lifts so many things from the film. Everything about it felt so lackadaisical to me. Stacked on top of how much padding the film already has on top of the source material, this LEGO-licensed video game feels even more disrespectful of Tolkien's fiction.

fitriulina11
fitriulina11

Basically, all lego games are like what the reviewer has described. But strangely enough, most lego games tend to get a high score. She can't review this game based on her experience of playing every other lego game. "The gameplay is getting boring" is a misleading premise, because the reviewer is assuming that the person who came here to know about this game is bored by playing other lego games; which might not be the case at all. http://www.gamezhacktool.com

gruber23
gruber23

Most people that comment on Carolyn's reviews are such pitiful, close-minded children, making the same easy and mindless jokes on each review she posts completely passing on the solid points she often makes. Why does someone's lifestyle choice matter so much to people that clicked on this to see a LEGO Game review? And on that note, my god are these games terrible re-skins at this point with nothing new added to each iteration at all. I bet COD creators are getting crazy hard-ons seeing how easy it is to keep releasing redundant lacklustre content and passing it off as another full priced game.

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jjleshko90
jjleshko90

I came in like "What? How did GameSpot give this game a 5?"


Then I saw the reviewer -- Miss Confrontational Petit -- and I knew exactly why.


It appears she is rating this game based on other LEGO games. If that's the case, all the CoDs in the last four or five years deserve 5s as well.


#justsaying #youdonthavetobeconfrontationalallthetimecarolyn #confrontationalcarolyn

dallasboycows
dallasboycows

OK, finally decided to buy this game.  


GAMEPLAY is fabulous but definitely a little harder than some lego games for children for the following reason.  IN other games Spiderman and Thor look a hell of a lot different.  But MANYYYY of these characters look the same and so figuring out which character to use is challenging.


GLITCHES I've never seen more glitches in a game EVER.  sometimes when doing a puzzle the controller wont go in the direction needed despite trying numerous controllers.  sometimes characters glitch and its like the are in another dimension stuck in the world.  Be prepared to reset the game.

one other downfall for the kids.  sometimes to proceed, you HAVE to have a combination of items which can be very challenging to obtain.



ALL in ALL a great game though. definately not a 5.  I'd say gameplay is 7.5.  the only thing that might cause a 5 rating is the glitches.


snugglebear
snugglebear

It seems like a broken record whenever GS reviews another Lego game. "It plays like other Lego games." Really?! And the reason people buy them would be......

DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

Basically, all lego games are like what the reviewer has described. But strangely enough, most lego games tend to get a high score. She can't review this game based on her experience of playing every other lego game. "The gameplay is getting boring" is a misleading premise, because the reviewer is assuming that the person who came here to know about this game is bored by playing other lego games; which might not be the case at all. 


I came back this site after 6 months, and I guess I will be gone for another year or two. 

dallasboycows
dallasboycows

wow are you serious.  I HATE LEGOS and I thought the game is great. MY KIDS LOVE IT.  What a terrible review.  Do you even like video games.  I've only read 3 or your reviews but they were all way off.

Axass
Axass

Holy shit, good job on another awful review Carolyn, I still remember you calling Luigi's Mansion hard, saying you can easily get lost and not know what you have to do: the game where Professor E.Gadd calls you every freakin' minute to tell you your objective, which is also clearly indicated on the touch screen map.

Microsteve
Microsteve

Awful review, Carolyn obviously doesn't enjoy nor get Lego games, I'll be getting this as I have most other of the TT Lego games and play through it with my 7 year old Son who finds the combat enjoyable and the puzzles challenging because he is SEVEN! Fml

jerusaelem
jerusaelem

"Why is she judging a LEGO game so harshly when it was clearly designed for children?"


It might have something to do with the fact that she's writing her review, presumably, for ADULTS. Something to keep in mind before leaping to the comments section to whine about an arbitrary number allotted to a children's video game. Now go and ask the five-year-old you're supposedly playing the game with what THEY think about Gamespot awarding LEGO The Hobbit a mere 5 out of 10 arbitrary numbers. When they finish rolling a booger between their grubby little index finger and thumb long enough to extend their slimy, germ encrusted palm forward to indicate that they can, in fact, "count to five but I'd need two hands to count to ten!", you may come to realize that the target audience LEGO The Hobbit is shooting for doesn't give a damn about arbitrary number based reviewing systems because they're far too busy being enraptured by the viscosity of their own snot.


A perfectly mediocre score for a perfectly mediocre game that never aspired to be anything but. If you're honestly bothered by the score, and you're OVER the age of seven, grow the hell up. 

redskinsdrool
redskinsdrool

I personally have no opinions on any of the Reviewers - I recognize it's a tough job, and I appreciate their doing it. As some others have noted, what I find to be problematic in this review process is that it's given a 5 rating for the same reasons Lego LOTR is given 8.5. It *IS* a kid's game, hence the simplicity, lack of variety, etc. While that doesn't stop me from enjoying it, it's not specifically designed to create some kind of challenge that you would experience in God of War 3 on Titan Difficulty.

For that matter, the entire design of the Lego games is built around stories that 99.9% of the world's population know the outcome to; therefore, not much is going to surprise you. Additionally, many of their games will have relatively consistent abilities, puzzles, etc. While I can certainly see why not everyone would like this game, this review seems to be written towards (and possibly even from) the hard-core gaming elite that enjoy cranking up the difficulty level to max and settling in a solid 24 hours of gaming or so...the problem is, it's not a game for that crowd, and therefore, the 5 rating doesn't really seem to be a strong indicator of how it compares to the other Lego games.

MajinSquall
MajinSquall

i'm waiting for the second one that includes the last film there and back again as well, we all know it's coming

capnrainbow
capnrainbow

So, how about a re-review from someone who can actually measure the game as a LEGO game?

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

C Petit just seems angry here....


Terrible review from a terrible reviewer. Glad they are keeping her off other titles now.


Though i half expected them to make her review Conception 2. That would of been comedy gold. And they love the hits.

pretty_odddd
pretty_odddd

"Lego The Hobbit is the first Lego game she's played since the days of the Lego Star Wars games."

I think Gamespot should let someone else who has played recent LEGO games review the game. It's been a long long time since Lego Star Wars

Deano
Deano

i presume a game aimed more towards children/young audiences would have more simplistic puzzles, yes?

tjsmoke63
tjsmoke63

Wow, did she get so much wrong here. You can't review a LEGO game as if it's a "regular" action/RPG. Of course puzzle solving and combat will be simplistic, as it's meant to be enjoyed by kids as well as adults. If you want to criticize the game, then focus on the technical issues Traveler's Tales should have gotten fixed by now, instead of focusing on the wrong things like combat and puzzle solving. You want a more realistic depiction of Tolkien's world, then wait for Shadow of Mordor instead. LEGO The Hobbit isn't a perfect game, but it is quite fun, if you allow yourself to have that fun

maxximumdeath
maxximumdeath

I'm starting to think that Petit just doesn't enjoy ANYTHING.

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

I was wondering why this game got a low review.... then the reviewer's face popped up, and I said 'oh, right.'

Ohscary
Ohscary

It seems like this guy doesn't like Lego games very well, makes me wonder why they had him do the review. We know its not groundbreaking but if you like other lego games and you like the Hobbit films then chances are you will like this game.

nixxin25
nixxin25

Sounds like every Lego game that has been made thus far.

ofunknown0rigin
ofunknown0rigin

How is this an unexpectedly dull journey? From what I recall, the first two entires of our Hobbit trilogy were quite dull themselves.

capnrainbow
capnrainbow

@Gelugon_baat I'd be interested to know what franchises you think manage to continue without 'recycling gameplay' like the LEGO series so criminally does? Obviously the games share a lot of features (since they're, y'know, part of a series) but they also introduce new ones. 


For instance, Hobbit has an entire loot and crafting element running through it that is new to the series. The combat has a new system where you can pair characters together for stronger attacks, again, new to the series. Even the treasure items are only 'recycled' from the Lord of the Rings game - they don't appear in any of the other LEGO games.


To be honest, and I'm not saying the two are comparable quality wise, but even the Zelda series doesn't change much (if ANY) more than this between games without keeping the series' foundations going. Or are you simply not a fan of any franchise?

bigruss51
bigruss51

@Gelugon_baat  Not sure how much more they could innovate on either lego or CoD. Problem with CoD is that it comes out every year but without any new experience apart from advance warfare. Lego is basically the same gameplay but with a new adventure. People that are simply tired of the genre should just move on to something else without being so critical.

DvddLns
DvddLns

@DeadManRollin  she says the gameplay is getting boring...but hasn't played a Lego game since the Star Wars games.  I've played pretty much all of them and sometimes simple is better.

Alexk91
Alexk91

@gix47  As a general rule of thumb, people shouldn't take advice from idiots and a-holes.

capnrainbow
capnrainbow

You say that, yet you're the one bothered about comments that are bothered about 'arbitrary' review scores, so what does that say about your own maturity?

Also I don't think it's your place to say what the game aspires to be. Anyone who plays these games can tell that a lot of love goes into them, despite how easy it is to attack them for being cash-ins.

DvddLns
DvddLns

@pretty_odddd  or....leave the part out that she hasn't played a Lego game since before the dawning of time.

d33pak001
d33pak001

@Deano  Nope the Lego series has some of the most challenging puzzles, even for adults!!

mulder_000
mulder_000

@nixxin25  PS+ has a LEGO sale this week and frankly I can't remember which one is good and which are shite since they come out every other week.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@bigruss51 

You can say that, but that's development resources going into recycling gameplay instead of going into fresher ideas.

banzaibaby
banzaibaby

You also don't favor decent arguments by the sound of it...

RedWave247
RedWave247

@nyran125tk  She's transgender, which means she's making (or has made) the transition from male to female. Gender is more than how someone looks, sounds, or acts. It's really a social construction.

So, you can respect that or you can continue to live in an uninformed, disrespectful world.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@banzaibaby 

If I don't think that the arguments are decent, I certainly don't favor.

With that said, I am getting the impression that you made an account just to make these remarks of yours. If so, you are a pettier person than you think are.

banzaibaby
banzaibaby

Translation - you have nothing to back up your argument with so are having a personal dig at people instead. Nice.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@banzaibaby 

That's what you think.

By the way, you are not the first to do this. What do you hope to achieve?

banzaibaby
banzaibaby

Obviously that's what I think, and you're not giving me any reason not to.

Also, not the first to do what? Challenge your opinion? Again, pretty standard with a comments thread. All I'm hoping to achieve is you justifying your statements about LEGO games "recycling gameplay", but apparently that was too much to ask.

I'm certainly not out to get you in any personal capacity if that's what you're implying.

LEGO The Hobbit More Info

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  • First Released
    released
    • 3DS
    • Macintosh
    • + 7 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation Vita
    • PS3
    • PS4
    • Wii U
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    LEGO The Hobbit will be based on the first two films of The Hobbit Trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the upcoming The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), opening worldwide beginning December 13, 2013. Following the storyline of the first two films, LEGO The Hobbit will take players on quests throughout Middle-earth, joining Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and Thorin Oakenshield and Company in their exciting adventures toward the Dwarven Kingdom of Erebor.
    7.7
    Average Rating34 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate LEGO The Hobbit
    Developed by:
    TT Games, Feral Interactive
    Published by:
    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Feral Interactive
    Genre(s):
    Action, Adventure
    Theme(s):
    Fantasy
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief