7 July 2010

The boy who lived...made of LEGO!

LEGO Harry Potter – Various consoles

Welcome readers to the brand spanking new Video Game twice-monthly review that will be unleashed in this fine month of July. So from now on, two games a month will be highlighted for your pleasure, and will cover most platforms, but mainly staying with the PS3 and X-Box 360. For the first review, we have an early peek at LEGO’s latest instalment in their famed series of turning recent films into the LEGO world’s we’ve always been craving for more of. After huge success with Indiana Jones, Batman and the most popular of the series, Star Wars, the newest addition to the franchise is the huge cultural and generational definer, the book series about the boy who lived and the film series that started the new wave of cinema goers, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Yes, Harry and his friends are now turned into LEGO and we the gamers will traverse through each year of Potter’s education. Starting when he first joins Hogwarts, the school for Wizards until when he duals with Lord Voldemort for the first time. LEGO Harry Potter covers the first 4 years, covering Harry Potter and the Philosophy’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and finally, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

For each of these books/film, LEGO
have turned them on their heads and shortened them, involving the main storylines filled with action and suspense, with the films being turned into 6 acts. Each act covers a chunk of the films, mainly with learning new spells, meeting new teachers and wizards in the wizarding world, developing the relationships you have with your friends, and facing off against evil. All of these topics are covered heavily in this game, but you may find that it takes a lot of time to cover everything within that year. With LEGO being renowned for creating games that have longevity in how many collectable items there are, here Hogwarts is turned into a massive playground, where various spells and tricks are used to open new doors, destroy enemies, use building blocks to reach new heights and so on. It’s hard to describe the amount of time we will have trying to 100% the game, it’s almost on par for the likes of Final Fantasy, where it certainly challenges the more hardcore gamer, even though these series are aimed at the younger audiences, even myself, being 20, found it engaging and entertaining.

The cut scenes used here are very funny and charming, which help with the large nature of collecting everything and hitting everything you see on scene. It does take a long time to move onto the next chapter or film/book. I only reached up until the middle of the third, with not completing the game entirely. Even just doing up to the third book/film, i man
aged to knock up about 20 hours of game play, maybe even more with the secret levels and secret missions. And this game also emphasises the use of friends and multiplayer, where a friend can jump in and help you in certain missions. A great new feature, which i would love to see in other games is the use of split screen, where normally, the screen is split and a massive black line is produced in the middle causing you to see less and finding it much more of a challenge to move around freely, but here, if the characters are near each other the line goes away and the whole screen is viewed. I’m not sure it would work in larger area games, but it does a massive favour to the game play.

Overall, an engaging, charming and funny game which continues the tradition of solid game making by LEGO. I look forward to the next 3/4 years in the Harry Potter universe, especially with the last of the films being released at the end of this year and next year.

VISUALS: For a LEGO game it sure has a great looking shine that slicks all the way through 17%

SOUND: At times annoying but others, the sounds of the film melt into the scene and its wonderfully enjoyable 15%

GAMEPLAY: Gone has the times of annoying falls into a random pit or getting stuck, perfect! 18%

LASTING APPEAL: You've got a few hours of collecting all the bolts and collectables 18%

SPECIAL FEATURES: A few special levels, but no online multiplayer 13%


Simon Childs

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