Product Type: Warner Bros. PSP games
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Lego Harry Potter: Episodes 1-4 (PSP)
Member Name: CheesySpam
Lego Harry Potter: Episodes 1-4 (PSP)
Advantages: Very addictive, good for replay value, great graphics, it's funny!
Disadvantages: Average sound quality, easy, features some glitches.
Admittedly, I've been hooked on the LEGO games ever since Lego Star Wars: The Video Game came out in 2005. If you look past the fact that they are aimed at kids, you'll find addictive gameplay and excellent graphics. Plus, they're funny, which is rare in video games these days.
I enjoyed the Lego Star Wars games on PS2 and Lego Indiana Jones on PS3, as well as Lego Batman, but I wanted something new. There had to be something better than Force powers, whips and caped superheroes...why, magic of course! I was delighted when Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 was announced, which would be based on the first four books and films in the series. When it was released around seven months after Lego Indiana Jones 2, I bought it for PSP. So, is it up to the standard of the console games or just a lazy effort?
The PSP version of Lego Harry Potter basically features the same kind of gameplay as the console versions. You control a Lego character and explore Hogwarts in levels mostly based on scenes from the films. However, there are several differences.
When you start the game a cut-scene is shown, which really puts you into the mood of the Lego games. It's funny and looks good. After that, you are taken straight into a level set around 10 years after the cut-scene. You have to find Dudley's presents and at the same time you are taught the basics of the controls - how to walk, push objects and most importantly, use magic.
After this, you have the option of being taken to the next level or going to the Hub world. I'll talk about the Hub first. There's not that much to do and it lacks the scale of the various Hubs in Lego Indiana Jones 2, but it's certainly worth a visit. You can go to the shop run by Fred and George Weasley. From there, you can buy characters, unlock hints and purchase abilities that you have unlocked from red bricks. I'll talk about that later. You can then go to the Character Creator. You can edit Harry's hair, outfit and facial expression. There is also a gallery where you can view Lego scenes, based on levels in the game. Lastly, there are four doors where you enter the levels.
Once you've looked around, continue with the story mode. You may have passed the tutorial level, but there are still some things to learn. Before you know it, you arrive at Hogwarts and are being taught new spells. You need to know about the 'spell system', as I like to call it. When a blue glow appears around objects, it means that you can use magic on them. For example, this may happen when there is some debris on the floor. If you press X on it, you must press a combination of buttons. In this case, you need to press the circle button three times because you need to repair. You easily learn what buttons to press in what occasion. However, when a red glow appears around objects, it means that you haven't yet learnt the spell that you need to cast on it.
You will probably complete the game in less than 10 hours. But you're not NEARLY finished yet. By now, you will have learnt every spell, so you can go back and do everything that you can't have done before. You could find chests that you couldn't open because you hadn't learnt the unlocking spell, Alohamora. It will enable you to reach Wizard Hats, Red Bricks and Wizard Cards. I'll explain about these next.
There are five Wizard Hats in each of the 44 levels in the game. For every 10 Wizard Hat you get, you unlock something for the Gallery I mentioned earlier. Red Bricks are quite valuable. There are 15 hidden across the whole game and each one unlocks a special ability and are either hidden or found in plain sight. Some are used for comedic value, but others help you. Lastly, Wizard Cards simply unlock new characters, which you can use for Free Play - when you can replay levels using any character.
==Summary of Each Stage==
Stage 1 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - is the longest stage in the game, but is more about teaching you about what to do, rather than fun. It's arguably the worst stage in the game. Nevertheless, the last level is superb and the mini-games are great.
Stage 2 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - is far better. Each of the 12 levels feature varied gameplay. You also learn new spells and there are a wide range of environments, including the dark Forbidden Forest and the lively Diagon Alley. The only real negative I can think of is the easy boss in the last level of the stage.
Stage 3 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - features some vast levels and there are even more secrets to discover. It tells the tale of how Harry tries to avoid escaped prisoner Sirius Black. Like the previous stage, there are plenty of different environments. It's the best stage yet, but can The Goblet of Fire beat it?
Stage 4 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - is a fun, albeit short, stage. Even so, it IS the best stage and is somewhat epic. It features some of the best levels in Lego games yet - there's been nothing better than swimming around in a huge lake avoiding sea creatures and exploring a deadly maze. I expected it though, as it's based one of the best Harry Potter films, which featured some of the best scenes in the series.
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 on PSP has the same graphical style as on consoles. It doesn't feature a huge amount of detail - after all, it's a LEGO game featuring lots of Lego. But in my opinion, it's one of the best looking games on PSP.
The sound quality isn't great, to be honest. It's a bit tinny and sounds like something from a low quality radio. However, it may sound a bit clearer if you use headphones. But the music itself is great - it's taken from the films. There's no talking in the game anyway, so it doesn't matter too much.
Overall, Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 is a great game. It features addictive gameplay, has a great replay value, features excellent graphics and is funny! The sound quality is average, however, and it's a bit too easy. Plus, I found a glitch that stopped me from progressing in a level so I had to restart it. But if you can overlook these, you'll really enjoy it.
This review is also posted on Ciao, under my name YoshiCheesePuff. Thanks for reading!
Summary: One of the best Lego games yet!
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