Harry Potter has amassed a huge audience most recently at the cinema with two cracking films and not forgetting the still hugely popular set of books. The series seems to be something that will keep kids and indeed adults entertained for at least a few more years to come. With success comes a game tie in of course and with so many lacking expectations I review this game hesitantly.
First thing to note is like the series of books this is a game that will appeal to all age groups. This game has something for everyone with different ideas of play as you progress. First of all there is the third person view controlling Harry Potter through rooms and outdoor areas. Secondly is the flying around the stadium in Quidditch matches which requires a different kind of skill.
Graphically for a multi format game I am very impressed. Smooth, vibrant and very true to the films, the atmosphere and sound is perfect throughout. There is some really nice effects especially when spell casting and quite a bit of detail is found in each of the stages. The moving staircases, the ghosts roaming the halls and the many students around the game add a nice element which helps immerse you into this Harry Potter world in which we know and love.
Real time shadows and some lovely lighting effects are all over the levels. You can’t help but gasp at some of the scenery as some are bright and enchanting and others are dark, mysterious and evil looking.
The game is set out in 1 day activities. This basically means after 1 day you can save your game after completing tasks which can be really easy to very challenging even for us older folk.
Jumping, spell casting, collecting items, sneaking, pushing, flying, hugging walls and plenty of running around are all here. Also there are other things to collect such as Wizard Cards. There are over 100 of these scattered around the levels in which you need to explore for chests. Opening these will reveal these goodies including health and beans. Collect beans and you can purchase extra items. This is a nice feature but there are so many things that can take the beans away, frustrating doesn’t really cover it.
There are many indoor and outdoor levels with intersecting cut scenes that hint what you need to do and also your friends Ron and Hermione to guide you or in most cases almost order you to your next task. Levels have some nice fun elements and puzzles galore. It is almost a Tombraider like experience finding buttons on walls, hidden platforms and nasty creatures crawling along the floor. This is in no way a bad thing as the Tombraider series was entertaining and with this set in such a wonderful world, the term adventure has great meaning here.
Controlling Harry is fairly simple. As you progress you earn new spells which you need to get past new enemies and obstacles. With so many spells you have to select 3 of which you can assign to the X, Y and B buttons. Changing these is simply done through the menus by hitting the back button.
The voices in the game are quite like the originals and a good attempt to emulate them visually and vocally has helped the game. The inclusion of the flying car for instance is straight out of the film as are many other elements in the game. This game for Xbox is very faithful with locations, visuals and all round music and sounds. Lets face it Wizards, Monsters and spells are nothing new in games, but this one has the power of a fantastic and popular series behind it to give oodles of satisfaction and the desire to progress however frustrating at times.
There are downsides to the game. Some of the cut scenes make you want to scream with boredom as you see the same ones over and over again when you have been knocked out and you have to try again. A lot of the enemies just topple over and then after just a few split seconds they are up and attacking you again. Ghosts though are probably the most annoying as all you can really do is avoid them, which in practise is very difficult if you are on a small platform which has taken you 5 minutes to get on.