Most helpful critical review
Brilliant but lazy...
on 3 May 2012
The Lego games on the home console have always provided an excellent combination of simple child friendly gameplay, shiny graphics and surprisingly funny cutscenes. Not surprisingly they were a huge hit and a great way for children and adults to enjoy games together. On handhelds the story was slightly different. Here you'd find simple gamplay, shiny graphics and surprisingly, technical excellence. Lego Star Wars on the Gameboy Advance was one of the best looking and content stuffed games ever to grace a handheld, and the tradition continued on the DS. On the PSP, the ports from the PS2 were often simply flawless and great for little bursts of joy.
Sadly Lego Harry Potter on the PSP has been the first noticeable drop in that quality. Without a PS2 version of the game, the developers have ported over the DS version. This wouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker, but sadly the sheer laziness of the port is painfully obvious.
First the good, the gameplay is as much fun as ever, collecting lego bits, replaying levels with new characters and playing just to see the next hilarious cutscene are all present and correct. Its colourful, its fun and it all looks and sounds great. Unfortunately what works on the DS doesn't work on the PSP. For starters the game is locked isometrically. Whilst this might have kept things smooth on Nintendo's handheld on Sony's powerhouse the lack of camera control is just plain frustrating. You can't get a look at small details, and jumping has been discarded in all except select areas. Whilst it still plays fine it was obviously crafted with a weaker system in mind.
What really kills the immersion tho are the mini games. On the DS's touchscreen drawing symbols to cast spells and stir potions was an entertaining little diversion. As quicktime events on the PSP, their just irritating. The games flow is ruined by having to stop to tap special combinations on the buttons without the novelty of the DS. Annoyingly, one certain part of the game requires you to select the drawing patterns of spells that don't exist in the PSP version. Whilst there's no penalty for failing, its shows how little the porting team cared.
When it all comes down to it what you have here is a game that's superb on the DS, but not the PSP. Their two very different machines and unfortunately the designers didn't respect that. If your a kid you could probably care less, but otherwise the lousy port nature of this game will ruin the fun.