It's another Lego game! Beyond a new setting and some minor tweaks, it’s the same old 'smash everything in sight until something important jumps out' gameplay, mixed with lovingly-crafted Lego interpretations of the source world and ironic humour.
In many ways Traveller's Tales hasn’t lost the ability to tap into the heart of a series and give it a Lego-style spin that seems perfectly suited to it – almost as if Tolkien had intended small block people to become the ultimate representation of his timeless characters. Ever since Lego Star Wars established the formula, TT has stuck rigidly to it and safely let innovation appear in pockets of gameplay inspired by the source material.
You’ll journey through Bilbo’s grand adventure, making your way across the sizable map, opening up replayble areas as you go. It's standard series fare, but the Dwarfs provide an added twist by being able to craft items; which means you’ll spend most of your time chasing down individual materials as well as the studs. That said, seeing as you discover these in exactly the same way – by smashing stuff – it's hardly game-changing, and is indicative of Traveller's Tales playing it far too safe despite offering some serious production values.
The series has seen some tweaking over the years, with the Lego hub world becoming something of a standardised feature. But whereas Hogwarts’ tight corridors and recognisable locations lent themselves to that style, having the whole of Middle-earth – from Hobbiton to The Lonely Mountain – seems a bit much. And it feels empty; fetch quests are all well and good but after the impressive voice acting and general spectacle of the main adventure starts to fade, you’re left with an altogether dull world in which to roam.
Version Tested: PS4. Played for 8 hours.
6 / 10
- Typical Lego appeal.
- Middle-earth is a bit empty.
- Misses out on the last film.