LEGO The Hobbit PS4 Review
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It is not to say that there is no fun to be had in this re-imagined Legoverse, because even with tired familiarities, Lego The Hobbit does plenty to satisfy you with its charm and whim, but the franchise needs a modest makeover if it wants to keep its youthful patrons engrossed.
- Superb visuals
- Plentiful content
- Local co-op is fun
- Environmental puzzles are a chore
- Gameplay formula is unimproved
- Minifigs lack variation
A few additions to the building and collecting elements of the franchise have been implemented, but to dub them as improvements would be justly questionable. Lego The Hobbit retains the mix-and-match crafting mini-game showcased in The Lego Movie Game, which is initiated by collecting a specific number of materials that you’ll need in order to build a blueprinted object. These are often needed to move forward with the campaign and will grant you passage to the next section of the level. Loot like wood, ores, and consumables can be procured by smashing through the environment, but unless you’re constantly rampaging through every breakable set piece, then chances are you’ll be just short of meeting the material requirement. This does not happen frequently enough to ruin the pace of the game, but button mashing through bushes and boxes to find the necessary materials needed to solve puzzles loses its flavor late in the campaign.
The visuals, to my surprise, are impressively rich and gorgeous, even when stacked against some of the powerhouse PlayStation 4 titles. The developer’s vision of Middle-earth is full of color and smooth textures, stretching from every stud to every stone, inserting cartoony Lego nuances into a semi-realistic surface. This could feel inharmonious at moments, but the consistency keeps the signature style intact. The character models are comically animated and flesh out the awe of Tolkein’s fantasy with a unique personality, especially when in motion. With respect to character variation, however, Lego The Hobbit is arguably shallower than its preceding brethren. A bulk of the roster is enlisted with dwarven characters who are cosmetically difficult to differentiate, and their varying abilities and weapon choices are not enough to tide the confusion.
TT Games has unleashed a faithful companion to Jackson’s films, although the absence of the storyline’s finale may turn off Tolkein diehards from experiencing this voyage. Moreover, those seeking reinvention will be disappointed to find that little has been done to improve on the Lego formula, but thankfully there is a potential recipe for success that is growing between each iteration. Perhaps it was a tad too early to release this licensed tie-in, especially in such close proximity to the most recent Lego games and without the inclusion of Jackson’s closing film. It is not to say that there is no fun to be had in this re-imagined Legoverse, because even with tired familiarities, Lego The Hobbit does plenty to satisfy you with its charm and whim, but the franchise needs a modest makeover if it wants to keep its youthful patrons engrossed.----
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