Review by nabuch

Reviewed: 12/07/03

Forget the rings, this is pure Zelda

For those of you living in a cave, ''The Hobbit'' is the prequel to the rings trilogy. Not being into middle earth, I can only tell you that I have read that the game is fairly faithful to the book. I was drawn to this game because of the many references to it's being like ''Zelda'', and I can tell you that that is correct. Bilbo Baggins even kind of looks like Link, or at least a close cousin.

GRAPHICS: 7/10 At first glance, I was totally underwhelmed. While the FMVs were fantastic, nothing in the game seemed near as good. As you play; however, you begin to realize just how good the graphics really are, and how better they become as you progress through the game. Limited by being a game for all systems, it is not as good as it could be, but it is pretty richly detailed as it is.

MUSIC/SOUND: 7/10 In the FMVs, the music and sound are brilliant in true Dolby digital, but in the actual game, they are a major let down. While the music is good, there is very little of it, and only a small portion of the sound effects are even remotely up to speed.

CAMERA/CONTROL: 7/10 Responsive controls that are easy to get into, and brilliant use of the d-pad for taking potions or changing weapons. The camera is merely adequate, and you'd do better letting it turn itself, because when you do it manually, it tends to move up or down.

GAME PLAY: 7/10 The game is divided into 11 chapters. In each chapter there are both required quests, and optional quests. You will be gathering jewels, which are called courage points, and as you get more of them you're health increases. You will also be looking for silver pennies which you can use in the store after each chapter. While it is true that most of the items are not that well hidden, and you can finish the game easily enough without doing all the quests, or finding everything; finding everything and getting 100% is a very hard job, and not the cake walk others have said. Some of the environments are actually dungeons, like the troll cave in the third chapter, but unlike a ''Zelda'' game, you don't need to be clairvoyant or use a waltkthrough for them.

VALUE: 7/10 The game makers have said that this is a 25 hour game, if you do not do everything. I think that is a big overestimation, but then again I am not that far into it, but I think 10-15 hours would be closer to the truth; however, if you are a completeist, like I am, it could be quite a long game, say 30-40 hours. Also, the game is wholly linear, so if you finish a level without 100%, the only way to get it, is to play the entire game again. Just make sure you check your quest menu before exciting; however, at least one level, chapter two, keeps you from going back, so use your saves wisely.

FINAL COMMENTS: If you were put off by the fact that this game is strictly for kids and far too easy, don't be, because it is not. If; however, you were looking for another ring type game, and hate platforming and action rpg games in general, and think Zelda is a four letter word, than definitely stay away from this one.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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