20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Just a little longer...., 5 July 2009
I hesitated when buying this game, simply because of the length of time between the game and the movie release dates. How many spoilers would there be? But on conclusion that having read the book several times, I decided that this would really not be an issue.
So the game arrived yesterday, and I completed it... yesterday. And this wasn't even a non-stop sitting. I stopped the game three times, and had lengthy intervals inbetween, including watching a film and going out for a meal. Overall the time it takes to complete the story is very short. And the fact that parts of the castle are locked to you to start with and sections become unlocked to you one by one throughout the game play, means that you tend to spend only a little time exploring the castle, unlike the previous game.
The graphics on this game are very good indeed and I much prefer the free camera allowing you to look in all directions while staying still (as well as when moving, avoiding the problems of not knowing which direction you are going at times like in the previous game). The overall building of Hogwarts is much bigger too and allows for more circular routes through the castle (such as getting to the Quidditch pitch under the Owlery as well as through the greenhouses) and brings together the exteriors seen in all of the films, including the courtyards and exterior based on Alnwick Castle in the first two films as well the courtyards and stone circle and bridge featured in the later films and with all of these linked it makes, as the developers said, the "most complete Hogwarts" to date.
While I much prefer this Hogwarts I do miss some things from the previous game. Mostly, the discovery points. These could keep you playing for ages, looking for the next item that would award you discovery points, bringing you closer to discovering 100% of that particular area. And with the exception of the Divination Classroom, you could go everywhere.
Playing Gobstones and Wizard Chess against the House and School champions, being another thing. Tidying up Hogwarts and discovering the secret passages - It made the exploration of Hogwarts more interesting and mysterious and gave you a reason to visit everywhere more than once. I also miss the Marauders Map, allowing you to quickly navigate the quickest way to where you needed to be, or to find someone to complete a task.
However, duelling in this game is so much better. Fast paced, easy to use and the inclusion of dodging makes it more realistic. Being able to duel in the clubs gives you good practice against the Death Eaters you end up facing.
Potions is another highlight of this game. It is a really good addition to the games and isn't boring, no matter how many times you have to do it. You don't just add ingredients, you have to fan the flames, stir the potion and even shake the bottles of ingredients before adding them.
And Quidditch. I know many people find flying hard and frustrating, but in all the games, I've never found this. And this game is no exception. The flying is fast, fun and while not overly easy, not difficult to master. Not only that, but, like with duelling, you can practice your flying skills outside of Quidditch Matches.
So Overall, a good game with improved gameplay and graphics and a more complete version of Hogwarts (with the exception of the Prefects Bathroom and the DADA classroom) just a little too short. If you were to mix the aforementioned plus points from OOTP and incorporate them into HBP with the complete set of classrooms (and the tasks for teachers) then you really would have a 5 star game.