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Preview: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7

Posted by Jeff the Fridge from Cardiff - Published on 09/11/2011 at 16:53
0 comments » - Tagged as Technology


LEGO games have found a way to be the perfect games for kids.

They're funny, challenging at the right moments and are great for father-son bonding moments. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 was the best game up to 2010, but then three different games from three different films came out this year. LEGO Star Wars: The Clone Wars had many great ideas with the RTS style modes and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean genuinely made me laugh. But can the second HP LEGO game be the best one yet?

There is a notable upgrade to the graphics since the first game, but it’s not quite as good as Pirates, but is still very good, not just for a LEGO game, or even a kids game, but games over all. The notable difference from PS3 and Xbox against the Wii is still definitely there, making me wish that Nintendo would change their stance on tech and make a hi-def Wii. The 3D on the 3DS is okay, but I still prefer playing on a 2D scope. The magic effects work really well, much better than the ones on those awful tie-in games for the movies. Everything is colourful and cheery, apart from the bits that purposefully aren’t. Everything that is made out of LEGO is great. Seeing a LEGO bee eat a giant ice-cream is strangely fantastic.

I find the addition of aiming spells by holding down the X-button very useful, even if the auto-aim is much improved in since the latest LEGO Star Wars game. Trying to aim at things on a 2D platformer style in the section with the three brothers was very difficult, especially when it had unneeded depth. The bit that most perplexed me with the controls though was something Tt Games kept from the original - the spell wheel. I find this very useful but hard to use. It has pictures for each different spell, but I hadn’t played a walkthrough before my demo so didn’t know what each spell did. I spent about ten minutes in Lovegood’s garden before I figured out what each of my spells did. The addition of pets is extremely useful, meaning there isn’t the annoying character changes from the past games, just a quick turn of the spell wheel to the top-right.

The story follows the same path as the movies and books, but it is a few months behind getting a full wave of Potter fans as the final film came out in July. Instead peoples Potter enthusiasm has probably been curbed. One thing surprised me in the demo that I didn’t think would. If you haven’t read the books (if so, why not!) this will probably go right over your heads. Potter devotees like I will probably not realise the importance until they think about. So what is this amazing occurrence, you may ask me. It’s simply the fact that Ron can use Pigwidgeon as a pet. This might not seem important, but when you think about it, it is. Even though Pigwidgeon isn’t part of the main story (so isn’t in the films), this is very important to me. It says one simple thing about Tt Games; they care about the source material.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is coming out on November 18th and costs £34.99 at Game. It’s a great game for people young and old (but probably not students because it’ll be a bit embarrassing playing LEGO Harry Potter while all your mates are probably on MW3 or Arkham City). I would greatly recommend this game when it comes out, it’s extremely fun, has great graphics and will keep the younger half (and the dads not as grown-up as they should be) entertained all Christmas. I can’t wait to get this game, though it will probably drop off my radar with Skyrim being released a week earlier. If you want to have a go at blasting Death-Eaters, don't get the movie tie-in games. If you want a challenging puzzle game with epic magical duels, keep your sights aimed at LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7.

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