26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This may be my favorite game of all time,
This review is from: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PC CD) (Video Game)
This is going to sound strange, but I don't think I've ever enjoyed playing a game as much as I enjoyed playing this one. I thought Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was a great game, but Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a hundred times better. Almost all of the minor issues I had with the first game were addressed more than adequately, and I have been all but addicted to this game since the day I got it. This is not some cheap game thrown out there to make money off of Pottermania; it is challenging, it is exciting, and it is absolutely addictive. Harry Potter's world really comes alive here. You start out at home on Privet Drive, visit Diagon Alley to get your school supplies, and fly right onto campus, into the clutches of the Whomping Willow tree, in Mr. Weasley's flying Ford Anglia. From that point on, you are immersed in the Hogwarts experience. The opening action is done quite well; while there is no tutorial per se, the game walks you through the opening scene, reminding you how to use the spells you learned during your first year at Hogwarts. At that point, you are ready to experience the events of Harry's second year from the first day of class with Professor Lockhart to the concluding House Points ceremony at year end. The cut scenes from the first game are gone, letting you see and experience every event, and the game is by and large simply beautiful. There is more interaction with the teachers this year, there are almost limitless nooks and crannies of the campus to investigate, and not only are there enough challenges to satisfy just about everyone, the challenges can all be completed successfully by even the youngest of Potter fans. If I can finish a game without resorting to a cheat or two along the way, then I know everyone else in the world can do it.
There are some rather significant changes from the first Harry Potter game. First and foremost is the ability to now skip through cut scenes; I did a lot of the challenges several times in order to accrue as many House Points as possible, and it was wonderful to be able to skip right past the opening scenes each time. The way you learn spells has also undergone a radical change; I prefer the old way, but this new method probably makes things easier for younger players. Speaking of something being easier, the Quidditch matches (and there are six of them, each of which you can replay as many times as you like) are radically different. The first game's Quidditch play was fun, but at times I thought I would never be able to grab the Snitch. In this game, Harry automatically follows the Snitch, making for much shorter matches. The fun part here, though, is the fact that you must battle your opposing Seeker; this means that you get to kick and punch the other player around, a most satisfying experience when you are going up against Slytherin and their new Seeker Draco Malfoy. The championship match even takes you underneath the trenches, trying to dodge wooden beams while giving Draco the business. Another great addition to this game is wizard dueling. Not only is it great fun to duel your classmates, it provides an easy way for you to increase your supply of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. These beans serve as the method of exchange on campus, and with them you can buy all sorts of wonderful things, from a Nimbus 2001 to Flobberworm Mucous to wizard cards. Wizard cards are important, and they, like the beans, can be found all over Hogwarts. There are fifty bronze wizard cards to collect, and each tenth card you find provides you with an additional stamina level. If you find all forty silver wizard cards, you get access to a special room. Even if you complete all your tasks, you will want to find or buy enough silver wizard cards to gain entrance to this room because here a final challenge awaits you, promising eleven gold wizard cards of the most important wizards in the world (guess who number eleven is?).
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets also makes it easy to maintain your health (although falling into pits, which I frequently did, pretty much turns you into the boy who didn't live); you can locate and/or buy Flobberworm Mucous and Wiggentree Bark, the essential ingredients needed to concoct Wiggenweld Potion. This potion restores stamina, and my best advice to the future player is to acquire as much of this healing potion as you can before taking on the basilisk. You can win beans by dueling, so any time you find yourself in need of more funds, just zip down to the Great Hall and show your opponents what you are made of. I was woefully unprepared for my first two confrontations with the basilisk, but I actually didn't mind because it gave me an excuse to start a new game and do everything again. It takes longer than you might think to actually complete Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and I have no thoughts of putting this game away now. It is as much fun to play the second or third time through as it is the first.