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Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (PS3)

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£19.99 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk See more offers
12 Reviews

Published by: Warner / Type: Action & Adventure / Release date: 2010-06-25

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    12 Reviews
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      07.07.2012 10:39
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      I originally bought this game to play with my grand children when they come round but as I like the Harry Potter films anyway I thought I would have a go when I had an evening in to myself and thoroughly enjoyed playing it. I like playing video games but as the games and equipment have developed so much over the years they have left me behind a bit and I find that some of them are just too hard for me to be able to control what I was doing. I have dodgy arms and shoulders so have to be careful anyway I don't do too much button firing and that kind of thing and my reflexes are a bit slower these days but this game was easy to do and easy to control the characters.


      There are lots of different things you can do with this game. There are the levels which you go through to get through the game, as you complete one of these levels you get a photo added to a board on the wall in the room at the end of dragon alley. You can then go back to this wall at any time and replay the area or play it as free play, There are four boards on the wall and you fill up each board as you go through the years. Each year is set around the film for that year at Hogwarts.


      You collect coins as you go along which you can then spend in the shops in dragon alley. You can unlock characters during game play both on the levels and in free play and then you can buy the character you have unlocked. This will then give you the option of playing as this character in free play which is good as you will find as you play the normal levels there are lots of bits you come up against that you are unable to do either because you have not yet learned the magic to do it or because you need a special person to be able to do it for you. This gives the game a lot more depth as even when you finish the whole four years there are still lots of things you can go back and do which you couldn't do first time round.


      There is also another part of the game where you go in the bank at the opposite end of Dragon Alley and you go into the mines and in there you find these rooms that you can go in and do special levels. You can also go back into them as free play and play about building things and just running around or driving cars and things. The little grand children love this bit of the game and want to play this bit more than the actual game.


      There are some bits in the normal game play that you have to work out how to do things like puzzles which are quite interesting but nothing is too taxing on the brain thank goodness. I would highly recommend this game if you like Harry Potter or like playing games with the children or just having an evening in entertaining yourself. I have had the game for a couple of months now, I only put it on now and then when I am on my own and have nothing to watch on tv and I have completed all the levels and gone back in and played them again as free play and its still says I have only completed 58% of the game so there is still lots of game play to be able to do and still lots of characters left to unlock and earn the coins to be able to buy them.

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        13.03.2012 10:27

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        A true movie tie in that works brilliantly and has excellent standards of gameplay and graphics

        Harry Potter films have been one of the biggest successes in cinema history and attracted legions of fans but will a movie tie in really work with these movies or is this just a money maker?


        Positives:

        - Over 100 playable characters from your favourite films all re-created in Lego form for you to take cotrol of and use to work your way through the game.

        - A movie tie in which keeps value for money at the heart of things as it ties in to 4 movies rather than just 1.

        - Hours of in depth gameplay means this will be keeping gamers old and young alike entertained for ages.

        - Learn your spells and work your way through your favourite film scenes and locations all recreated lovingly in Lego.

        - A fun and entertaining game thanks to Lego using its unique style of gaming and humour to bring you an experience rather than just a game.

        - Truly excellent graphics with attention to detail throughout the game meaning that you can tell which locations and scenes have been recreated in this game.

        - Family friendly gameplay means that young and old can play this and even play it together thanks to the multi-player option (this is great for parents as it means you can have interaction with your child doing something they love and that is still going to be entertaining for you).


        Negatives:

        - None


        Overall this is a very fun and entertaining game which gives players of all ages hours worth of gameplay. Great graphics and animation standards means that this is an impressive game which has had a lot of time and effort put in so that this is a movie tie in that does not appear to have been simply a money making idea from Lego but instead something they were keen to do.

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        13.02.2012 12:48
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        brilliant game thats enjoyable for all ages

        I am an adult but I still love the lego series of games. My favourite of the series still has to be lego pirates of the carribean but this comes reasonably close.

        The character detail in the game is fantastic and the ability to play through the first 4 years of the harry potter at hogwarts story's is brilliant. It saves money and storage space on having to buy the games seperately so this idea of lego's to put them all together is brilliant. I have enjoyed years 1 to 4 so much that I am going to purchase years 5-7 which has just been released.

        The variety of moves in the game as well as the video sequences to fill in the story gaps is superb. I have thouroughly enjoyed it and I feel it's a must for any lego and harry potter fan as it's just really enjoyable.

        Ease of gameplay would make this suitable for a child although a 3 year old may struggle I feel its more suited to those aged 6 years and above as they can understand the story line and follow the game more easily. I do feel the lego series of games when first released are rather on the expensive side and if aimed at children aren't exactly pocket money friendly.

        The use of magic within the game is in keeping with the books and to be honest the game play in the first 4 years in this game is close to that of J.K Rowlings books. For the harry potter fan a must for the collection

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        23.11.2011 16:19

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        Family friendly game that is enjoyable for everyone. Worth a look.

        What could be better than Harry Potter? The answer... Lego Harry Potter of course. The Lego games franchise has been one that has provided both entertainment and engaging gameplay and Lego HP is no exception.
        All the best loved characters are here, as well as some that we could probably live without but you'll have to collect them all if you want to finish the game to 100%. Stripped back to its barest form, that is essentially what this game is, a collect everything you can affair. Obstacles are thrown in your way so you'll find yourself revisiting levels again and again once you have the spells needed to unlock other items. This might sound repetitive, and it is, but for some reason it never gets old. I found myself laughing on numerous occasions as Lego tackled some of the most memorable moments from the Harry Potter films and gave them their own Lego touch.
        Unfortunately, Lego Harry Potter finds itself subject to bugs but there are patches available to fix this is you find yourself the victim, but still it's annoying.
        Playing through story mode from years one to four doesn't tend to take long but if you want all of the characters and gold bricks on offer as well, you'll find yourself playing this for hours. Pick up and play with a friend and the fun continues.

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        26.02.2011 22:29
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        If you're a Harry Potter fan, this is an essential purchase

        Ah, Harry Potter. The character that began as a roughly formed idea that a certain Joanne Rowling came up with on a train journey from Manchester to London in 1990 has come a long way. In twenty short years the spectacled young wizard has become the star of seven books (not counting the extra spin off), seven going on eight films, and a theme park. In addition, the obligatory lines of toys and memorabilia continue to dominate markets, and it is in this group that we can include computer games. Somewhat predictably, every Harry Potter film to date has been released with a computer game not long behind. It is unfortunate, though not entirely unexpected, that these movie tie ins have been mediocre at best in terms of quality.

        However, in recent years a new type of movie-based video game has emerged, namely that carrying the Lego name. The concept is very simple; popular movies are re made with the characters and surroundings constructed of Lego. Players take the role of the characters that they ordinarily would, and the game then tells the story of the popular movies with an injection of Lego style humour given for good measure. To date the likes of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Batman have all been given this building block makeover, and largely to great success. And so it is that the Lego series turns its attention to J K Rowling's famous creation, which has apparated its way into our high street stores as Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4. But does it continue the strength of the Lego series, or does it fall short?

        YOU'RE A WIZARD, HARRY

        If you have played any of the previous Lego games (as I expect many have), you will know what to expect from Lego Harry Potter before you even load up the disc. For those who haven't experienced the charm of this series before, you can expect to see your favourite Harry Potter characters re created in Lego format, with everything made of the traditional coloured building blocks.

        Presentation has always been a strong point of the series, and Harry Potter is no exception. If anything, the magical lands of Hogwarts and beyond provide the sort of variety that certain past games in the series, such as Indiana Jones, have lacked, and as a result the Lego style really does compliment the overall feel of the game. The idea behind Harry Potter is a concept that everyone wants to be a part of deep down, and the feeling of interaction is one that should invoke curiosity and enjoyment in equal measure. Suffice to say that with everything made out of Lego blocks, these aspects come right to the fore.

        Simply put, every cutscene in the game is something of a delight, with the bright and colourful characters and backgrounds combining with over the top animations and sound effects to create scenes that are not only charming, but genuinely funny and entertaining. It is difficult to construct decent humour in computer games, but as with the other Lego games, this one manages it almost effortlessly. Of course not everything is absolutely as it is in the movies, but these bits are easily forgiven as they only ever work to increase the entertainment value.

        WELCOME TO HOGWARTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY

        The eagled eyed amongst you will notice that Harry Potter doesn't really have the same focus as previous Lego target movies. The likes of Star Wars and Batman have ample imagination, but are also based on heavily on the action side of things. After all, who would want to be a part of those movies without being able to engage in a lightsaber duel or punch The Joker square between the eyes? Whichever way you spin it, action is a stable part of those series.

        The same cannot be said of Harry Potter, and this is something that did initially concern me before playing the game. Yes, there are notable action scenes in Harry Potter, but by and large magic is not used as a weapon in the series, and it is the wide use of magic in Harry Potter that makes it same more feasible within the confines of the mind, and which really sucks people into the world as a whole. Whichever way you spin it, a Lego game based on Harry Potter just wouldn't feel right if it were as laden with action as the previous games in the series.

        I was therefore very much relieved when it became clear that Lego Harry Potter has a different focus to other games in the series. Yes, you do still fight with characters on occasion, but the combat takes a back seat to exploration, which is what this game is all about. As with previous Lego games there are countless Lego bits than populate every nook and cranny of the game world, which can be collected by finding them, solving puzzles and defeating enemies. But this time rather than being something that you can focus on as an aside to the main game, collecting these bits and blocks is what the game is all about.

        EXPECTO PATRONUM

        Unsurprisingly, spells are a mainstay of the gameplay in Lego Harry Potter. For the first time in Lego games, holding down a spell button brings up a target reticule, which you can then move around to decide where you want to cast your spell. This offers a level of freedom in terms of targeting which hasn't been seen in the series before, so whether you are moving blocks around to create a stairway or seeing off a nasty Dementor, you always feel like you have a choice as to what you're doing. This free targeting system also benefits the feel of the game because, when you can cast spells on more or less anything, you never really lose that feeling that there is something else to discover.

        And, indeed, there usually is. One of the joys of the Lego games is laying waste to the environments around you, resulting in a wide scattering of collectible Lego bits in the process, and Lego Harry Potter continues this trend with renewed vigour. Altering the environment with spells never gets old, and enables the game to maintain a level of unrestrained fun throughout. The environments themselves really do feel alive, with objects dancing around constantly, and the residents of Hogwarts always being on hand to help you open new areas or throw you items to help with your quest.

        In fact whether you are old or young, the appeal of the general gameplay really is universal, which also means that it is a game that you can get just as much fun out of with a friend or family member than by playing alone, if not more so. There is lots to do all of the time, and whilst the game is not at all challenging and the puzzles are hardly the most taxing, the diversity in relation to the environments, spells and other gameplay aspects (such as using Scabbers or Crookshanks to explore tight and confined spaces) always keeps things fresh and fun.

        This diversity also means that you will almost inevitably be playing through this game more than once. In between missions you are free to explore the main environments from the films or head down Diagon Alley to spend your Lego trinkets. This allows you to unlock new characters and such, which in turn will potentially make areas of the game newly accessible. For anyone who is even the slightest but curious, this inevitably results in you going back through the levels again to see what new areas you can reach, which keeps the whole concept of exploration ticking over nicely. A single, quick playthrough of the game would probably take between five and eight hours, but unless you have no sense of fun about you you'll probably want to spend at least the same time again going back over things and completing more of the game. Such is the way that the game is constructed, you will be lucky to get anywhere near 50% completion on your first playthrough.

        CONCENTRATE, POTTER

        Unfortunately, despite all of the excellent aspects of the game as listed above, things are far from perfect. You always have one or two characters by your side as you progress through the game, and whilst it is easy enough for a friend or relative to take control of one of these at any time (the simple drop in/drop out feature seen in other Lego games returns to this one), when you're playing by yourself you will often find that the AI is somewhat frustrating. This is mainly in relation to puzzles that require two characters to synchronise their actions, such as standing in specific spots on the floor. Obviously with another human player this is straightforward, but unfortunately AI allies have a habit of not reading the script in relation to these, which can make progress frustrating. It's not enough to ruin the game, but it is a niggle that is worth mentioning.

        In a similar fashion, the game does have a surprising amount of other glitches and bugs. These vary in severity, from simple graphical glitches that practically affect nothing, to more significant problems such as the game not letting you interact with vital objects, which can necessitate restarting the level from scratch. It is perhaps testament to the strength of the core game that these glitches are not reasons to let this game pass you by, but at the same time it is extremely frustrating when developers can't eliminate these simple bugs from their games. Quite simply, bugs like this shouldn't exist, but unfortunately in Lego Harry Potter they do, and you might have to be prepared to spend some time tolerating them.

        THE BOY WHO LIVED

        On the whole though, Lego Harry Potter is a fun, charming, and thoroughly enjoyable trip through the first four movies in the blockbuster franchise. It is perhaps an obvious point to make, but if you have never read the books or seen the films, or if you don't like Harry Potter generally, then this game is not for you. On the flip side, if you are a fan of the books or films then there is more than enough here for you to sink your teeth in to. In fact, being a fan of the franchise will more than likely allow you to forget about the games shortcomings and let the fun reign supreme.

        It is perhaps fair to say that Lego Harry Potter is not the best Lego game to date, indeed most would agree that it isn't, but when the games are aimed at fans of the movies rather than fans of Lego, this doesn't quite seem as important as it might be. Simply put, Lego Star Wars is not an adequate replacement for a Harry Potter fan, even if it is a better game. What does matter is that Lego Harry Potter is by far and away the best Harry Potter game to date, and will likely prove to the best Harry Potter game ever released, at least until Lego Harry Potter 5-7 inevitably comes along. Until then, if you're a Harry Potter fan yourself or want to buy something for someone who is, this comes highly recommended.

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          31.08.2010 13:22
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          The best Lego game yet.

          The Lego series of video games that began with Lego Star Wars in 2004 has slowly moved from a charming novelty to one of my favourite series' of games. Each has taken a source material, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman, and crafted an intelligent, family friendly game around it. Using familiar Lego pieces to act out your favourite moments from your favourite films, it will win over your kids while the gentle satire is great for grownups too.

          Lego Harry Potter is the latest in this series, based around the first four Harry Potter films, it is also probably the best. The game is centred around Hogwarts castle, a giant hub world full of ghosts, puzzles and hidden passageways. A great deal of fun can be had just exploring the castle and by the end of the game's main story you'll still have lots to discover. You'll also move from classroom to classroom learning spells, this little minigames based on famous school scenes from the films will teach you new skills necessary to work through the game. Hogwarts as a hub is much more effective than the system developer Traveller's Tales trialled for Lego Indiana Jones 2, it's a lot harder to get lost and there's a clear structure to it that helps you keep track of where you are. It is still a bit of maze however, and you need to keep your wits about you if you decide to hunt for secrets.

          The levels themselves are as good as ever. Each follows a famous set piece from the film and generally involves a mix of basic platforming and some ingenious, usually funny puzzle solving. While many games have funny writing or cutscenes, the Lego series is one of the few games I've played in which the gameplay itself is amusing. Often the puzzles involving building things out of Lego or uncovering hidden trinkets. One moment in a level set in Hogsmeade village involves rolling a huge snowball into a wall. It's great stuff that challenges you and then offers rewards, not only in progress through the game, but genuine laughs and smiles. This makes it the perfect game to introduce children to concepts of puzzle solving, though they might need a hand every now and then. It's also very nice to see the series maintaining its commitment to two play co-op play. All levels feature at least two characters and a second play can jump in or out at any time. This means you can play through the game with a friend or even just step in to help a player who's having difficulty. Gaming is at its best when it's a social experience and this is a perfect example.

          As is usual for the series, unlockables are a huge part of this game. There are around 200 characters I'd say, while many of these seem to be Harry Potter wearing different sweaters, there are a lot of familiar faces from the series. These are uncovered throughout the levels, finding them and then buying them gives a huge amount of replay value and later on you'll find some of the characters contribute some pretty valuable skills. It's nice to see a game in which playing a second time is considered a core part of the game, each level has a story mode and a free-play. The story mode levels replicate the original seen more authentically, the goal being to work through the adventure. Free play, on the other hand, allows you to replay levels with access to any of the characters you've unlocked. Previously blocked off areas will open up and you can discover far more to each level than you imagine was there. All Lego games have offered this but Lego Harry Potter is quite simply the biggest. It offers more levels, more characters, more secrets, more collectables and just more to do than any other game in the series. It compliments this however by never sticking the difficulty too high, experience games will work through it relatively quickly but will take a fair few hours to collect absolutely everything. It's the ideal game to play with families and friends, competing to unlock more and sharing the new treats you've discovered.

          There's a very authentic Harry Potter feel to every aswell. Music is taken straight from the films and every room is full of little touches, inside jokes and references to things from the books or films. Harry Potter fans will be coming back to this one for years.

          Graphically, the series has never offered state of the art. Functional models of Lego figures in basic rendered environments is what I expected. This title has excelled, the Lego figures are fine; looking accurate as always, but the surroundings are beautiful. So much time has been spent on Hogwarts, the forbidden forest, everything. It's a beautiful game that never fails to impress. As is pretty common for a PS3 Lego title, this contains no anti-aliasing and suffers from a little bit of screen tearing. They have included a frame limiting option that controls the tearing somewhat but I found I the lower rate less pleasant.

          This is a great game for families and wonderful for kids, it should be available at anywhere selling games for around £30 and is well worth picking up. It is available on the PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii and Xbox 360. There is also a Nintendo DS game but this is a very different game with the same boxart, it's also not very good. Stick to the console versions if you can, if you really want a handheld version then only the PSP title is comparable.

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          28.07.2010 22:31
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          ps3 game

          My review on this product - lego harry potter 1-4 years

          Currently 30 odd pounds in the shops, if you search online, should definitely be cheaper.

          It really is a funny game, - as always - lego games are ment to be with some humour, and in this one its been done excellently. Its definitely a charming game, and it has a really great gameplay. Theres a loads of variety of things to do in gameplay, I wont spoil to much for you, or it wont be fun if you buy the game. Theres loads of hidden stuff through out the game which over time you will find out more faster. They are usually secret man holes to places etc, or switches etc. There is sometimes these anoying glitches which take place both in the game and online, which is annoying. You always keep on targeting on enemiees some how. The characters are pretty good, and go well with the gameplay and surroundings. If youve played other lego games, its very much similar to those, just with new characters and new levels and stuff.Between levels, you can head to Diagon Alley to spend your pips on new characters, costumes, spells, and other unlockable trinkets. But the goal of all the spellcasting isn't just to gather money; it's to solve environmental puzzles to progress to the next chapter. The puzzles and games in the game are not that hard, which is suitable for the younger audience, as they might find it to challenging and get bored to quickly. Between story missions, you can explore Hogwarts and other optional areas, such as Gringotts Bank. You might finish a quick play through in six hours if you're just interested in seeing the story, but Lego Harry Potter is the kind of game you return to again and again to uncover its various secrets and collectibles However many times you play the game, you will still find the same enjoyment as you did on the first try, with you finding out more things. Trophies are the best thing to get you to do more interesting stuff. You may need a certain character to go somewhere certain, or do a certain attack. Online mode is defintely a great mode to be playing on, it involves a free mode, a party mode, and of course some mini games which can be enjoyed with friends.

          Great game. Recommended.

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          21.07.2010 21:21

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          An enjoyably cute game and great for a laugh

          Playing this game was one of the most fun gaming experiences I've had since multiplayer Crash Team Racing on the original Play Station. You begin by playing as Harry or Hagrid to collect coins and other treasure in order to unlock new characters and attend lessons to learn spells to tackle Boggarts and Dementors alike. The game is, quite obviously not really intended for the most serious of gamers and, unfortunately for die-hard Potter fans, some parts of the plot are completely glossed over, but Lego Harry Potter does SPELL (*bad pun*) out a tremendous amount of fun if you don't take it too seriously. Also, it's good if you want to earn some easy trophies.

          The game's quite user-friendly, as I found I picked up the controls fairly quickly after spending the last 7 years with an Xbox controller in my hands instead of that of it's Sony conterpart, although switching between spells can be confusing at times... and it took a very long time to master the art of flying!

          The LEGO aspect of the game is ingenius. Having never played a LEGO console game before, I was unsure what to expect from the game but I was soon in awe of the concept. The on-screen characters are pleasingly true to their physical LEGO counterparts and LEGO Crookshanks and Fang certainly pump up the cute factor.

          The storyline is good, but there is a glitch in the game that makes it very difficult to move on from a certain section (the dragon dungeon) without finding some sort of 'cheat' online (you have to use Herminone/Crookshanks to get out which is no help if you aren't playing as them when you go down there!). Until a patch is fixed, I'm sure this glitch will make the game near-on impossible to complete without seeking online help. Also, in some parts of the game certain spells do not work easily and Lego bricks don't snap together properly when using spells on them which can get pretty frustrating. I could understand that to a young player, a glitch meaning they are stuck on a level would lead to them getting bored with the game, or upset that the game isn't working properly... Not really hat you want from a game you have to fork out over £30 for.

          I will be buying this game for the Wii as that it my own console and be writing a review about the difference in controls, no doubt, but until then I shall pester my boyfriend again in order to spend some more time in the magical wonderland that is LEGO Harry Potter: Year 1-4.

          Overall this is a very good game, but at the moment it is quite expensive for me. It is still over £30 in the supermarkets, game shops and online, which I guess is about average for a new game but it is a lot of money to pay out if you are not sure about liking the game or don't think you will play it often.

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          21.07.2010 21:19
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          A great game

          OK so you've read the books and seen the films, maybe even been to the theme park, but have you bought the lego???? No I hear you cry, oh you didn't know it existed- well I promise you it does and you could go and track it down or you could take the simpler option and buy this game.
          Reviewing PS3 version because that's the one I have but you'll most likely only get a little bit of variation between systems. The PS3 one has some glitches so if you can wait until these have been fixed before buying its worth doing so, however they don't ruin the game play experience for the most part. The only reason I say wait really is because there's so much to be done that if you hit a glitch you may be stuck waiting for a patch which will only work on new games and there's nothing more annoying than nearly finishing a game then having to start again.

          If you haven't played a lego game before- where can you possibly have been? This one should not disappoint fans of the series. It is great fun and with more unlockables than any of its predecessors.
          It is based on the first 4 films which for the uninitiated are; Philosophers Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire. Presumably we will get a release of Lego Harry Potter 2 in 2012 so as to complete the Harry Potter chronicles.

          The game draws on the previous games in the lego series with some improvements and some noticeable omissions.
          The hub system is somewhat less confusing than Lego Indiana Jones 2 but is nowhere near as basic as Lego Star Wars. You arrive in the leaky cauldron, following completion of the opening level and can continue with the story mode or play the first level again in freeplay. You can also explore diagon alley and later knockturn alley looking for characters to unlock. The characters come as studs which you unlock by collecting but don't expect it to be easy. Diagon Alley is the home for purchasing gold and red bricks and your unlocked characters as well as curses and spells.
          In the leaky cauldron you can either return to Hogwarts to continue the story and explore or replay levels in freeplay. In this game you have to complete lessons to unlock certain spells. It uses the same targeting system as lego batman to cast the spells and the most used spell is wingardium leviosa which operates in a very similar way to the force ability in lego star wars. You can complete the lessons in Hogwarts, Hogwarts also has a number of unlockable characters and is the home to the red bricks.

          The game has a lot to explore i've played for about 20 hours and not got to 50% complete yet, I have completed all the story levels though. It is very fun and worth every penny. Its more geared towards players who like to explore and unlock lots of things as it offers unlockables in spades. There are no easy trophies really, you need to play the game and unlock them as you play.

          It really is a great game though I was disappointed that there were no build it activities- though these were sometimes overused in previous games. It is definitly worth playing if you enjoy this sort of game but it is geared towards people that have played these games before- if you're new to the franchise start with star wars or the first Indiana Jones game to get to grips with the basics.

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            14.07.2010 01:37

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            A great laugh, whatever age you are

            Lego Harry Potter concentrates on the first four books of the adventures at Hogwarts. Even though everything in the game is made out of Lego, everything is instantly recognisable.
            The game is fun to play, using simple controls to get through levels. An average level will see Harry and his friends have to solve problems by choosing the right spell, making a potion or defending Hogwarts from some form of evil.
            Players can choose to be any one of a number of favourite characters, each one with their different spells and skills for every task.
            The only letdown is how it misses a lot of vital parts of the storylines. Any Harry Potter experts also won't be happy with how some of the scenes have been altered, but it's all been done with the quality of the game at heart.
            Even as a 19 myself who is use to playing games with better graphics and generally more guns and violence, I wasn't bored. If you've played any of the Lego games before, you'll be glad to hear that this one is simply better than all the rest!

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            11.07.2010 16:35
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            A very good platform game

            The LEGO games have slowly been infiltrating franchises over the last few years, weaving a spell of simplicity and hilarity as you see your favorite films recreated in LEGO fashion. To date we have seen the Star wars saga, Indiana jones and even Rockband has been turned into a LEGO game, so it could only be a matter of time before Harry and freinds saw this happen to them.

            The game , as the title suggests, takes you through the first 4 years of Harry's time in Hogwarts school of wizardry taking levels from famous moments in the books and films. If your unsure of what these are it takes the events from the Philosophers stone, Chamber of secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of fire.
            As you play through you will no doubt sit there having "ooooh yeeeee" moments as you recall the moment as its recreated in wonderful LEGO. But if you havn't seen Harry Potter before don't worry as you don't need to have read or seen it before to understand the game, although some jokes may go past as they are for the big followers.

            LEGO Harry Potter keeps the gameplay and mechanics that were used in all the other titles , making it very easy to pick up and play. The game is a 3D platforming adventure game, with an enthasis on collecting "studs" which are like coins in Mario, as well as puzzles and teamwork via the games great multiplayer design.

            A big element is the combat, this is done mostly through a range of different spells which affect the environment and your enemies. As you play through the game you learn new speels from teachers and these go into an inventory like system called a spell wheel. The first you learn is Wingardium leviosa, used in the game to move objects or raise your teamate to a higher point, other notable spells are Lumos to push away attacking plants and Riddikulus to fight off your worst fears.
            As well as spells you can also use different potions , these have to be made by collecting different things and mixing them up, this is really simple and they can help you along with the level , however potion making is a dangerous art and using the wrong ingrediants will leave you as a frog. One of the best potions in the game is the Polyjuice potion allowing you to change into any character you have unlocked.

            With such a wide range of characters created in the Harry Potter novels it was important for them to make an appearance in the game. With just under 170 available to you via unlocking, each character has different strengths and weaknesses as well as abilities to help you through the level, these include the expected Ron and Hermione, but also Remus and Dumbledor. An example of the strengths is Harry being amaing on the broomstick, letting him feint and show off like a quidditch messi.
            Whilst you generally play as Harry throughout the game , you can then go back to an older level in "free play mode" and explore it with a new character, who may be able to get to places and things another character couldn't. For example using Harry's invisibilty to cloak to sneak around or Hermione cracking locks by reading books, ok so some are more exciting than others , but lets not judge.
            It's also not restricted to the wizards, you can also play as animals such as Ron's rat Scabbard (We all know about him dont we), Hagrids "beautiful" dog Fang and even the wonderful Dobby. These bring their own abilities such as digging things up or climbing up walls or through tiny spaces.

            The levels are well designed although can feel slightly repetitive after a while , however when you think most of the film is set in Hogwarts this is understandable.
            The platforming area's are very good and give a good mix of puzzling and detail to keep you intrested.
            The puzzles are just right, being neither to difficult that you want to give up nor too easy that it's hardly a puzzle at all.
            When you meet big bosses they too are not overly difficult , and are seen more as a chance for comedy more than anything else.
            Thrown in for a bit of variety are missions where you must help you fellow students in a certain situation, these are quite fun and feel as though other stuff is happening around you, rather than just the one story.
            But it isn't just Hogwarts, you also have the town of Hogmead, Diagonal alley, The leaky cauldron and plenty more area's to keep you entertained.
            Although I should note The leaky cauldron is more an area to upgrade and unlock, working as a go between for levels than a stage.


            The multiplayer is done by a "Drop in - Drop out" method and works extremely smoothly letting 2 players run around together, this is great as it teaches children to help each other out as well as share. Also if one leaves the game doesn't stop, the other player just gets taken over by the AI. And unlike previous games where the camera would be pulled between the two players, then stopping like a parent to give the players a talking too about sharing, it now splits in two to let both the players run around and let you do what your doing.
            If your not lucky enough to have a freind to play the game with, the AI will take their place. They are surprisingly good and don't seem to wander off or be as useluss as many other AI partners in games, also a note is that their is no online support which seems strange because most games have it the other way round.

            The game has a unique look being LEGO, this is entertaining and whilst it isn't the most spectacular looking game , it does do very well.
            All the area's are instantly recognisable and so are the characters, which look awesome by the way in their lego form.
            Spells are colourful and swirl around giving the game a very mystical atmosphere as well as showing off the details in the game as sparkles often highlight what you are putting a spell on.
            I also think that one of the best looking level is Hogsmead , the snow and lego snowmen look brilliant and I could have spent a lot more time wandering around that level.

            The game doesn't use a soundtrack too often just little musical peices here and there, it mainly lets the environment provide the noise. Thunder and rain are clear and atmospheric as it falls outside the windows of Hogwarts. Similarly you cant help but smile at the wirring sound you get when you levitate an object, especially when your about to throw it at a enemy.

            The comedy thats placed in the game is also a testament to the writers, firing a spell at a radio causes tiny lego skeletons to dance for your approval , and what more could you want than to see moaning mrytal show off some cool syncronised swimming skills.

            The game also see's the need for longevity and keeping the player intrested, especially when the games aimed at young children. Part of this is going through the game again as new characters or playing mini games, but it's also the bits you can't do in certain levels.
            Relatively early in the game you walk down to Hagrids house and you see these pixies holding chests with locks on them, you cant reach them but you know their there for a reason and it's not until later you learn spells which will let you go back to get them.

            The game keeps giving with a level creator, letting you create your own levels and then save them. Now this isn't as in depth as Little big planet but it is still very fun. One issue I did have with it was the lack of uploading to the internet, I would have loved to have seen what other's had created as well as my own.

            The controls are exceedingly simple , with the spells switching around on the shoulder button's and the jump's feeling OK. I cant complain considering it's audience, im sure my young neice would have no problems picking this up and joining the adventure.

            If your aim is to get everything then their is a good 50+ hours of gametime.

            The game is available for £32 on the ps3, unfortunatley this is the going rate for games these days, however if you are a big fan of Harry Potter and LEGO, or even want a good laugh then this game is for you.

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            • More +
              30.06.2010 15:19
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              looked good - is good

              *Update* - Having read a few reviews now apparently there is a bug in the game which can see you having to start all over again - a dungeon with a dragon - in year 4 - though in year 4 of the game have managed to avoid this - thus far. My feelings below still stand as we have had hours of fun from this title.....


              Reveiw:

              Having pretty played our way through several other Lego games, it's fair to say that the 6 year old and I were awaiting the release of the latest Lego game - Harry Potter Years 1-4 with great anticipation. The trailer, which we first saw at Legoland itself in 3-D looked promising, but having heard mixed things about the previous lego game to be released before this one, Indiana Jones 2, I did wonder if it would be as good as it looked.

              Having played our way through a fair bit of the game already, which as you might expect is in 4 "years" and follows the stories as far as I can tell, I have to say that it really has lived up to our expectations. The 6 year old has pronounced it to be the "best lego game ever" - and I would have to say I agree with her totally.

              Like the other Lego games there's no need to have any knowledge of the characters to enjoy the game in full - my daughter never come across Harry and pals, and my recollection of the books is shady to say the least. I can, however, remember enough to enjoy the references to Quidditch and enjoy seeing the story unfold pretty well in a faithful reproduction of the book, Diagonal Alley and all.

              With previous games I've struggled with the control of characters - the Batman games seem to involve characters inexplicably falling off things, and the Indiana Jones game also had it's annoying moments as far as controlling the characters was concerned. The developers seem to have tightened things up considerably with this game - gameplay is excellent and there's more of a focus on solving puzzles than blasting things.The puzzles are strangely satisfying without being too annoying - we've not got too stuck as yet, though the game is so new that there aren't any walkthroughs on the internet should you get stuck. We've enjoyed finding things to make spells and using magic to build things out of Lego in order to progress in the game, all to the accompaniment of the actual Harry Potter music from the film. All the elements from the stories such as Goblins, the Sorting Hat and the Ghosts are there and make for an interesting game full of fun and humour. There are rather less vehicles to drive than previous games but the broomsticks more than make up for it!

              Some of the familiar elements from other games are there - you collect studs of different values as you progress and have to find hidden things; in this case parts of the crests of the 4 Hogwart's houses. I like the idea that in this game you accumulate magic spells through lessons with the teachers, though there is rather a plethora of spells, which can get confusing, but it's strangely satisfying freezing goblins, making potions and making someone have a flower on their head. There are bonus levels to be bought from the Goblin Bank that are great fun too. Once you have unlocked a level, like in the other games you can go back in "Free Play" as a range of different characters to access areas you couldn't before or find more hidden items. The gentle humour that I tend to associate with the Lego games is there in abundance, though I have found that there are rather a lot of cutscenes and these are pretty slow to load at times, and I'm not sure why they chose a swirling green cauldron on the pause screen as it is rather uninspiring - you do find this cauldron appears rather a lot whilst you are mid a level when you leave a room to go into another one, or enter the Quidditch court.

              That aside gameplay is excellent and on PS3 the graphics, as you would expect, are excellent, everything is detailed and you can really enjoy the Lego generated scenery. Some of the scenes are a little bit dark and you have to adjust the settings to be able to play properly, or even use the wand with the lumos spell to cast light, but this is in keeping with parts of the world of Harry Potter I suppose.

              The game has captured the freshness that I used to associate with Harry Potter books before the series became one more slightly formulaic book and I gave up watching the films. The story is totally suited to the Lego series and the game works really well on so many levels - literally. We did find that there is rather a difference in length between some of the levels, one near the start seemed to take about 2 hours and involve having to pause the game whilst we went and did other things as we couldn't save it, only to be followed by a few levels that were easily completed in 10 minutes or so.

              They've ironed out some of the issues that made co-operative play in some of the other games so frustrating at times. If characters move too far apart then a split screen comes into play - this works well and is much better than finding your character inexplicably transported next to your buddy. Generally the characters are much easier to control and it's just better to play than some of the other titles. You can play just as well in one player mode - I've done both, and the AI in this game does seem slightly better programmed than I've found before.

              You do need to change wands to use different spells, but this doesn't mean the controls are too tricky, certainly my 6 year old can manage them fine. We've really enjoyed the fun elements such as donning the invisibility cloak, or moving blocks with our wand or indeed zapping pictures to find them come to life. As you unlock more characters throughout the game you can go back and play as them - there are 167 characters in all, and some of them are animals, a new idea here for Lego, you can play as Scabbers the rat, or Hagrid's dog (I'm surprising myself with my knowledge of Potter characters here), and this is fun as Scabbers crawls up pipes or the dog digs up things to solve various puzzles.

              Bar a couple of times when the game has fallen over (I hope there will be patches soon) we have found the game remarkably un-buggy, especially again compared to previous games. What is a bit disconcerting at first is unlike previous titles where you went to different settings in every level, you do find as you follow the story you return time and again to various parts of Hogwarts and other settings Potter fans would be familiar with, to complete various tasks. Actually this doesn't mean the game is not varied or interesting - you feel like you are living the magic with Harry and friends. You don't get lost either as a ghost is there to guide you on your path as you progress. We haven't unlocked all the extra elements yet and so have a lot of gameplay left and I suspect we will get hours and hours of fun from this game, which was picked up for £25 from Sainsbury's and seems to be £35 elsewhere.

              There's so much fun to be had from this game. As we have enjoyed the other games in the series so much I was worried we would be let down but not at all. It's like looking up an old friend and finding they have had a makeover that has worked - I doubt you will be disappointed with this game, whether you are a Potter fan or not - I've not read any reviews so am not sure how well this game has been received but thumbs up from us! You could pick up this game having never played a Lego game before, but if you have you will appreciate the familiarity of it all, but feel like this is just more of a slick and satisfying Lego game than previous titles.

              Whether you are familiar with the Lego series or not I highly recommend this game - it's a family game, but really would appeal to all ages I expect; it really is magic!

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