Monday, July 11, 2011

Lego Harry Potter (Years 1-4) Review

Score: 9/10
Length: 15 hrs (Story), 25hrs (Total for Unlocks)
Platform Reviewed: PS3

Harry Potter is one of the most recognized and loved book and movie series of all time and to make a video game that lives up to the expectations is a tough task. Lego Harry Potter is one of the rare movie based games that are actually a lot of fun. The magic of the movies is kept alive while being retold from inside the world of Legos.

The game’s flow is a bit different than other lego games in terms of how you progress through the story. In other lego games you would be shown a cut scene, play through a level, watch another cutscene and be dumped into the hub or continue directly into the next level. In Lego harry potter, the flow of the story and levels feels much more natural. In between levels you explore Hogwarts collecting items and learning new spells. The main hub is Diagon Alley in which you have level select, character purchases, etc. and is never forced upon you in the gameplay. Each mission flows naturally into the next with various mini quests and cutscenes in between.
The Sorting Hat
Each of the four movies is broken down into about 6 levels highlighting some of the more important events in the movie. Each of these events follows the story of the movie for the most part but parts are altered to allow there to be gameplay and a second character for co-op. The main story of each movie is in tact and the game does a good job of retelling the game while still being very Lego styled. Each cutscene has touches of Lego humor and makes intense moments of the movie seem lighter hearted.

The gameplay of previous games is mostly intact in terms of platforming, each character having a special ability (like digging), but the magical characters have a much larger number of abilities and spells. The player is able to choose different spells for different circumstances such as levitating some lego platforms to create an object, exploding a metal lock with “reducto”, or casting the patronus charm on a dementor. Using the bumpers on the controller, the player can select the spell they want to use and fire it upon up to 4 targets at once. In order to keep thing simplified, if you hover your crosshair over an object for a few seconds it’ll automatically choose the proper spell for the target. Having a wide variety of spells keeps the gameplay extremely carried and fun
Harry at the bank in the First Movie
The graphics in Lego Harry Potter hold the traditional lego charm of cartonny plastic for more interactable objects, but the background set is very detailed and may impress with the amount of detail. Each of the magical spells and animations are beautifully animated making the player eagerly want to cast magic as much as possible. The game has all the soundtracks of the movies and makes good use of them using the proper music in the right places. The soundtrack of the movies is beautiful so it’s a pleasure to hear it in the game.

Lego Harry Potter (Years 1-4) was a game that simply surpassed all my expectations and I am eagerly anticipating the sequel (years 5-7) that comes out in November. This is going on my must buy list for any Lego game fan and any Harry potter fan as it was please both groups. Even if you’ve never played a Lego game or didn’t like the previous Lego games I highly suggest you try it out as you may fall in love with it like I did.

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