13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Lego Harry Potter review,
This review is from: LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
If one word were to be chosen to describe the Traveller's Tales (TT) LEGO series it would have to be prolific. The catalogue of franchises that have been given the LEGO brick treatment has grown rapidly and what big name should be next is a hot topic of debate among fans of the series and bemused observers alike. While the much hoped for LEGO Halo or LEGO Lord of the Rings will have to wait, TT have returned to end the LEGO saga they started in LEGO Harry Potter years 1-4 and they have done so with versions of the game on pretty much every console on sale today (and even one in production for the playstation Vita!).
The first thing to note and indeed it is something that anyone will notice the instant they start playing the game, is that the visuals have been improved vastly. Although there is a limit to how realistic you can make a LEGO brick, the cinematic backgrounds and weather effects make a massive difference. There is more action, more character models on screen, more lightning bolts, and more sparkle. LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 offers a cinematic seamless presentation right from the first cut scene of the prelude. Unlike previous games it is often actually pretty unclear when you are playing one of the games levels or merely walking around the games main area of Hogwarts. The game's visuals have a real feel of experimentation to them. For example a new in game flame system, which uses a sparkling fiery LEGO piece to simulate a flame, can be found alongside the old particle system flames from previous games. There are many elements in this game that suggest that TT are far from getting tired with the LEGO experience.
Many aspects of the gameplay have not changed since the very first LEGO Star Wars game, which itself saw TT return to finish the saga with a second disk edition. Despite being a little harsh, the statement that once you've played one LEGO game you've played them all is both a strength and weakness of the franchise. Long-term fans of the series will find themselves grounded by the infectiously simple smash and grab gameplay and familiar puzzles early on in the piece but gameplay wise there is preciously little new here. Where there were the force powers in earlier Star Wars LEGO games read wizardry in both this and the older LEGO Harry Potter game. Whereas LEGO Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, and LEGO Batman focused on melee combat, LEGO Harry Potter stays true to its source material (and it goes without saying Harry Potter isn't built for brawling) by including a myriad of ice and fire spells with which to wage war from afar. The reward for exploring and destroying every plant pot on an entire level are still those shiny LEGO studs that almost subconsciously force you to veer the analogue stick magnetically in their direction. Hundreds of thousands of LEGO studs later and you'll still need a few thousand more to unlock some character or gameplay option. Completist gamers beware as many hours are needed to unravel all of the secrets of any LEGO game.
The combat in LEGO has always been more of a hindrance to the player (not to mention the way to lose your coins) while puzzles have been the main obstacle. Attempts made by TT to boost the difficulty of the combat in LEGO Star Wars the Clone Wars (by including overt combat challenges that required the player to take over bases in a time limit) have not found their way into this game or are the puzzles as inventive as those of the Pirates of the Caribbean (which had the whole of pirate lore to call upon). The player lifts smaller LEGO block objects and slides them into place to build larger objects or smashes larger objects to obtain smaller objects again. This `build it up break it down' formula is one of the defining features of the series. Keys have to be found for doors, lanterns lit, potions of various kinds made from scattered ingredients, ghostly paintings interacted with, missing objects found for distraught bystanders, walls knocked down and so on. The mumbled dialogue and slapstick humour of every LEGO cut scene has also been retained and given a lick of paint by way of improved textures and lighting. The characters in Harry Potter are still skill class based, and numerous character types are required to get the most coins and unlocks from a level. Puzzles often require the player to combine LEGO character skills such as magic, mechanical ability or strength to dissect a problem and find a solution.
Staying true to the first LEGO Harry Potter game, the various student in peril puzzles return and require the gamer to rescue a Hogwarts's student who has managed to get himself tangled up in some form of mortal danger. Getting him down from a ledge or clearing poisonous vines from his path will earn you his thanks and hefty amount of coin. The replay value of unlocking the vast number of story mode levels in free play is an ever-present feature. Fans of the Harry Potter series will enjoy playing through the end of the series while visiting scenes from both the final books and films. Gamers who enjoyed the previous LEGO gameplay offerings will enjoy this game regardless of whether they know anything about Harry Potter. It is a solid enjoyable gameplay experience, which is improved by co-operative gameplay, without being ground-breaking. People looking for a fun experience to share with family members around Christmas time should look no further.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Feb 2012 15:49:52 GMT
Quick question - can you play alone? 1 player? thanks
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Feb 2012 17:36:10 GMT
M. Collins says:
Sure you can with the Ai, & you switch characters in single player.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›