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Review

Lego The Hobbit Review

  • Game release: April 8, 2014
  • Reviewed:
  • PS4
Robert Handlery on Google+

An unexpectedly dull journey.

by

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.

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

/ Staff

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.

Discussion

110 comments
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.

 Steal Someone’s Facebook Username and Password

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.

emergeboy
emergeboy

Reviewing a new Lego game harshly due to simplicity of play would be like giving GTA V a horrible review because it's violent.


Lego games are simple by definition and if you're looking for something more intellectually stimulating, there are plenty of other options.


I've played (and enjoyed) most of the Lego games over the years, and the Hobbit is very much in line with past efforts. It's a game that I can pick up and play with my daughter, but at the same time is something that I enjoy diving into and obsessing about. For what it's worth, the Hobbit feels like one of the most fully-realized game in the series with a terrific hub world.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"Yes, even the controversial barrel scene is represented" In what way is it controversial?

robbiejones
robbiejones

all lego games have sluggish combat though? seems kinda harsh to criticise it for that, also lego games shouldn't have complex puzzles so i dunno. 

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

Well, still better than the quick cash-ins that generally comes associated with this kind of movies.

001011000101101
001011000101101

"Simplistic puzzles" Yeah what the fuck, the puzzles should be way harder in a game aimed at kids. 

HowlPendragon
HowlPendragon

Forgot to mention the misogyny as a "bad" thing. There's only 2 significant females in the story.

-_-

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.

Microsteve
Microsteve

She did give GTAV a horrible review lol

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

@emergeboy  the first Lego game I played was Indiana Jones, and I found them (lego games) to be pretty frustrating actually! I remember thinking "how can a 6yo can enjoy this?!" lol….

I like the real Lego blocks better than its videogame counterpart…

onionking108
onionking108

@Hurvl I'm assuming she's referring to the fact that in the book it is not an epic action sequence like in the film.  But I don't know about the term "controversial." lol

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.

LEGO The Hobbit More Info

  • Released
    • 3DS
    • PC
    • + 6 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation 4
    • PlayStation Vita
    • 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.
    8.2
    Average User RatingOut of 25 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate LEGO The Hobbit
    Developed by:
    TT Games
    Published by:
    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
    Genres:
    3D, Open-World, Adventure, Action
    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