There are not many franchises out there that spew so many differing takes on original film material. The likes of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and of course Harry Potter have had many games based on the exploits of their stars, all with mixed results. So it’s nice to say that after all those rather dull Harry Potter movie tie-in’s that EA rushed out at every chance, that the Travellers Tales LEGO take is a much better experience.
This being the second LEGO Potter game it takes place during the years of 5 to 7, or to non Harry Potter fans, the movies Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince and the final two parts of the Deathly Hallows. I mention non fans as this game is so accessible, addictive and fun that anyone that enjoys computer games will get something from this title.
The LEGO movie franchise has been growing steadily ever since the original Star Wars games and has had many improvements and fine tuning to make the next one even better, with Harry Potter being one of the best. Controlling the characters is simple and what you have come to expect with them all having easy to use powers but still suffering from floaty platform areas which are a little hard to get to grips with. As always with the LEGO based franchise, you can still get your friend to join in thanks to the drop-in/drop out co-op which this series of game has become so famous for.
This iteration of Harry Potter seems to be geared more toward exploration and adventure than the lasers and battles of the Star Wars titles and it works even better for it. Starting off with Phoenix and the initial forming of Dumbledores Army and then taking you through many famous sites like Ministry of Magic, Hogwarts and Godrics Hollow.
Even with though there is a huge roster of familiar faces, most of them have unique abilities to uncover, with even more secrets hidden and to be found once you manage to unlock the relevant character. Harry and pals have a wide range of magical powers such as the ability to levitate and move blocks, plus plenty of others at their disposal which can be switched between easily using the trigger buttons.
As in the previous game, you have powers to zap foes and to blast at the general environment, enabling you to cause destruction and get to the games ‘LEGO stud’ currency. There are also more powerful spells to light up dark passages and turn Harry invisible with his cloak of invisibility. Meanwhile, characters such as Hermione have familiars like her cat that can dig and enter small tunnels, while the Weasley’s are able to walk up walls and repair items. As you play though more spells becomes available plus you also have the ability to create potions at certain points to gain access to even more areas, but first you need to locate the ingredients.
The main story mode will lead you along the main plot points of the final films and never really offers much of a challenge, gently pointing you in the general direction with plenty of breadcrumbs and arrows highlighting where to go next but it once you have finished the story that the game really opens up, granting access to an abundance of secrets and puzzles to get you your 100% of all LEGO studs. As in all LEGO games, you have plenty of cheats to unlock that will aid you in your task to collect all of the characters, although given that there are variations in some characters, such as them simply wearing different clothes, you don’t really need to unlock them all.
As with the last game in the series, the overall magical feeling of the movies really seeps into the gameplay with also a few more additional comedic scenarios more in keeping with the LEGO feel, which makes this a great family game, made even better by the well implemented local two player mode mentioned at the beginning of this review.
There is no questioning the presentation in LEGO Harry Potter, with some fantastic cutscenes really helping to help glue the story together, which is all the more remarkable when you consider that the characters do not talk at any point in the game. As usual, everything looks fantastic in HD, with every brick standing out in high details. Add in the wonderful sound effects and music and you can have nothing but praise for another job well done by the developer.
Both collectomaniacs and fans of the movies will love LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, as it stays faithful to the films and is a great example of a moves tie-in done well. I guess the main question for Travellers Tales now is where does it go next?
Rating: GoodReview Policy
You can order LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 from ShopTo here (PSP), here (PS3), Xbox 360 (here) and here (3DS).