Most helpful critical review
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2005
OK, let's face it, the two previous Harry Potter games, the Chamber of Secrets and the Prisoner of Azkaban, weren't the best games ever. However, I enjoyed them very much because they were different to most games and, in my opinion, really captured a lot of the atmosphere and magic of the Harry Potter world that has become so beloved since I received the first book for Christmas eight years ago. This instalment, I'm sorry to say, lacks that.
The last two games followed the style of Harry and his friends' school year at Hogwarts, comprised of levels that were in fact school days. Although the whole year only added up to about 6 or 7 days, I thought it was a great idea. On each day you would have different things to do, which were often linked to the plot of the story but were also often lessons where you could learn new spells or extra plot strands that bear no resemblance to anything in the books, but were added to increase the games' lengths. Once you'd finished your lessons, you were free to explore the whole of Hogwarts and its grounds to find secret areas and rewards. Unfortunately, this new game appears to have scrapped all that.
Now, the game comprises of separate levels that are accessed by a main menu, each of which generally consist of Harry, Ron and Hermione fighting magical monsters to find stuff that will unlock the next level. Once you've got to the end, you go back to the menu, but if you haven't got enough rewards, you have to go back and replay the level so you can progress.
The game-makers have called this a 'compelling rewards-system', but I call it a waste of time. This isn't Harry Potter! What ever happened to the lessons and new spells, the Quidditch, the lovely landscapes and design of the castle and the ability to explore and find things and do what you want? How, after two games that, despite some faults, functioned so well as they were, can the game-makers design this that has robbed the story of a great deal of its magic in what feels like just a hasty attempt to accompany the film and make more money?
The game preserves a little of the story's charm; the graphics are fairly good and the Triwizard tasks are quite well thought out, but it does seem such a shame that, having anticipated this game for so long and expected it to be a big improvement to the previous two, it falls short of both of them. It doesn't seem worth the money for what is now a rather flat and 2D game.