– Lego Hobbit – Back to Middle Earth
I had previously played the last adventure to Middle Earth in the Lego series which was the Lord of the Rings. There was plenty of humour in this and for the first time they had used sound-bites from the original film to give the Lego characters that expected personality you had previously seen on the big screen.
The Lego Hobbit says true to the format that had worked so well with Lego LoTR, the world had been previously created – so all that needed to be done was to tell the tale of the Dwarves and how Thorin would take back Erebor.
The levels in Lego Hobbit do follow the films well; with the first level being the “introduction level” explaining the gameplay mechanics it also sets the scene as it does in the movie. You are shown that the characters in your party do have certain abilities and will have to be used in order to allow you to progress, such as using Balin and his hammer to knock statues onto switches opening new areas.
All of the dwarves from the film do make an appearance. This however does come as a downside – as there are so many dwarves it can make it more difficult to remember which one has the particular ability you need to make use of. The game does tell you on the character selection screen but for the for the first few hours I found myself trawling through this until I found the character I needed.
If you have played Lego LoTR before then the game-hub will definitely be recognisable to you. After you have done the first level which sets the back-story with the Dwarves you are thrown into Hobbiton, albeit 60 years before the events of Lord of the Rings. Nonetheless the town is recognisable with areas you may have been previously. In this instalment there are lots of side quests and the residents of Middle-Earth need your help.
These missions may range from getting them certain items from the game-hub to getting them secret items from the games levels. Usually after completing these side-quests you are rewarded with a Mithril brick. The Mithril bricks can be used to craft legendary items that can help you out on your quest or when you play the game in “Free Play mode”.
As with the film – the pace can change quite quickly and thus can feel a little disjointed – this does however come across in the game as well. To keep authentic to how the movie plays out, some of the levels do in essence feel like two totally separate levels mashed together. This is most notable in the Level “The Troll Hoard” in which one minute you’re playing a traditional Lego level and then the next you are on Radagast’s sled trying to lead off the Orc horde. The way the levels have been designed mean that in certain areas you only get 1 chance to pick up them illusive mini-kits, this can be quite annoying as it may mean that you have to go 20 mins+ through a level before getting that one chance to acquire it.
Overall the game is well put together but personally I don’t feel I got as much enjoyment from this game as opposed to Lego Lord of the Rings. The overall package is there but for some reason it feels that special atmosphere you expect from a Lego Game is missing. 7/10