FEW series have enjoyed the goodwill and warm critical embrace of the Lego games. Over the past decade, TT Games have combined fun, puzzle-solving gameplay with well-chosen licences that fit well with the franchise formula.
Lego The Hobbit - Playstation 4 (reviewed) / Xbox One / Playstation 3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / Vita / 3DS
Score: 7.4 / 10
But from Guitar Hero to Tony Hawk, ubiquity has sounded the death knell for many successful gaming brands, and there is a creeping fear that Lego may be next in line.
The adaptation of the first two Hobbit films is the third major Lego game release in six months, following in the wake of the superb Lego Marvel Super Heroes and less illustrious take on The Lego Movie. By choosing source material with easily recognisable tropes and a fantasy genre, the latest title ought to be one of the best yet.
The game is undoubtedly fun and the developers have yet again shown themselves to be experts in striking a light tone, with humour undermining the po-faced approach seen in Peter Jackson’s films and adding its own twists to the original story.
Throw some samples of dialogue and a heady score into the mix and the feeling you are inhabiting Tolkien’s fantastical world - or at least a whimsical approximation of it - is strong.
As is to be expected, TT Games have packed the game with a dizzying amount of content, ranging from the main story through to the usual flurry of collectable challenges and side quests.
But other than an interesting new crafting system which allows the player to smash and mine their environment to make new objects, the mechanics are unchanged from previous games, giving rise to feeling that this could easily be an expansion pack rather than a standalone title.
Nor is the timing of the release opportune. The third installment of the series has yet to hit cinemas, meaning that the game’s narrative goes unfulfilled. That may well be remedied down the line with downloadable content, but younger gamers may be disappointed to play through the entirety of the game without a satisfying conclusion.