Gamers like to complain when sequels to Call Of Duty and Need For Speed are churned out frequently. Now, they can add Lego games to the mix.
Not long after The Lego Movie Videogame, developer TT Games has given birth to Lego The Hobbit.
For Tolkien fans, this is not based on his original short story, but rather on the new Peter Jackson movies.
The catch is that this game ends where The Desolation Of Smaug ends. As this is only the middle act of the trilogy, it means players can expect another Lego game when the finale is released later this year.
As with previous movie-inspired Lego games, such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter, this game generally follows the events of the movie.
However, it adds and changes some elements, such as the extended battle in which the goblin Azog kills Thror but loses his forearm to Thorin.
Even with the use of voice actors to explain the storyline, it helps if you have seen the films, as not everything is explained succintly in the game.
Puzzles are still a big part of the game, as players must use the special abilities of the various characters to open doors and locks, as well as unlock platforms.
The Lego toy-building elements from The Lego Movie Videogame are repeated here. This is where the game builds Lego structures and players have to pick the right piece from an assortment, within a set time, to complete the construction.
This is not so much a puzzle, but more of a means to get gamers to recognise actual Lego toys which they can buy in stores.
While the repeated Lego game formula here is still interesting, with enough action and puzzles to entertain, the level of fun derived depends on your knowledge of the characters.
With Lego games based on Marvel and DC Comics, fans know a hero's powers and how to best use them. Sadly, I can barely remember all the dwarfs from the movies, along with their unique abilities - if they even have any. Trying to remember them in this game can cause some frustration.
In the end, I was simply cycling through the characters to randomly find one that suited my needs for a particular puzzle of quest, without bothering to remember most of their names, back stories or abilities.
Even with polished graphics and a well-designed Middle Earth to roam around, what made previous Lego movie games work is the familiarity gamers had with the characters. There is none here.
The new Hobbit trilogy is a different beast from the original story and Lego and TT Games are left trying to piece it together here.
Like a Lego set without the instruction manual, not every piece will find its rightful place.
This article was first published on June 25, 2014.
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