Product Type: Warner Bros. PSP games
Newest Review: ... is not nearly as much about what you are doing so much as where you are doing it. Yeah, you're essentially just spamming the "Squar... more
Linear, Fun, Linear, and Fun
Lego Harry Potter: Episodes 1-4 (PSP)
Member Name: Lions
Lego Harry Potter: Episodes 1-4 (PSP)
Advantages: Lots of unlockables to keep you interested and playing
Disadvantages: Incredibly linear gameplay
If you happen to be one of those people that gets bored with games after they beat them, and just want one fun playthrough, only to be finished with the game afterwards, then Lego Harry Potter for the PSP should be satisfying enough, gameplay-wise, for you. Various notable story sections from each of the first four Harry Potter books are converted into levels for you to play through as Harry, as well as some other famous and favorite characters. Some of them deviate from the actual story from the book/movies, so as with other Lego games like Star Wars or Indiana Jones, you are definitely expected to know the story BEFORE you play the game, else the short cut scenes with little talking will just confuse you and leave a very bare experience.
Most of your gameplay is going to be either simple puzzles, basic combat, or mini-games. As always, the Lego appeal is not nearly as much about what you are doing so much as where you are doing it. Yeah, you're essentially just spamming the "Square" button for your attack spell, but it's in Hogwarts as you head towards Potions class, so it adds a level of interest that would not otherwise be there. However, this also means that if you aren't into Harry Potter, you're not going to like this game. This may seem obvious, but I feel inclined to point it out regardless. Don't come into Lego Harry Potter looking for a good "action game" experience. If you want that, go play another PSP great like God of War, Metal Gear Solid, or Killzone. On a similar note, the puzzles and mini games are nothing spectacular either, it's all just far too linear to appeal to anyone that isn't a Harry Potter fan.
Lego Harry Potter isn't going to blow you away like some other PSP games, and that's simply the bare truth. The graphics and Lego asthetics are appealing and easy on the eyes, but it's not like it's some graphical masterpiece within the boundaries of the PSP's hardware (see Daxter if you want a truly phenomenal mobile graphics game.) However, it's also important and fair to keep in mind that Lego games aren't meant to have massive epic Michael-Bay-Transformers-2-like explosions. We're on a playing field of toy blocks, and if you think about it that way, there is truly nothing to complain about graphics-wise. If you played Lego Star Wars on the Playstation 2, then Lego Harry Potter will look great, and you'll have nothing to complain about. And really, if you're coming into this game looking for HD graphics, then you should probably have your head checked- it's not the forte of this game, nor does it pretend to be.
There isn't much to say here except... it's a Lego game. That means there is no challenge. If you lose all of your health, your character bursts into tiny little brick pieces, and then respawns pretty much right where you were with no progress lost. If you want a game that isn't going to frustrate you, then this is probably it, because in every level of every book, I never once found myself annoyed or unable to complete a task assigned to me. Literally, anyone could pick up this game and beat it, which is both a good and bad game. In a way it can make the game a bit dull at times, knowing that you WILL succeed, heck, you'd have to try not to. But on a more lighthearted note, it also means this will be a more attractive gaming option to more people.
There's actually a surprisingly large amount of lasting appeal to Lego Harry Potter. With four books worth of levels, and each of those levels containing all kinds of hidden goodies like Red Bricks, Wizard Cards, etc., you'll have your work set out for you for a long time. Each level is loaded with studs, and a number threshold must be crossed every level to obtain one of the five Golden Hats in every level of the game. And for every 15 Golden Hats, there's another character available for purchase in the game's central hub, the Room of Requirement. And what better thing to purchase them with then the Lego studs you collect throughout the game? It's all quite inter-connected, and it really is nice to see an effort at creating a game that will be a longer lasting experience than the 10 hours or so that it will take to race through all of the levels.
What's really interesting about all of the game's levels though is that it forces you to replay older story sequences if you want to complete everything. There are parts of Diagon Alley and Privet Drive in the Philosopher's Stone, e.g. the first 25% of the game, that will not be unlockable until Harry has learned high level spells in Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. This means that it is not just about running around levels in your first playthrough, it's about obtaining all of the characters, abilities, and spells, and then using them as your tools to lift, move, ignite, and transfigure the Lego world to your liking in order to find everything that is has to offer.
The linear gameplay is still the flaw that plagues the Lego series, and that issue has not gone away with Lego Harry Potter for the PSP. However, the charm still survives, at least for now. As I've said already, those who are not already a fan of Harry Potter should not pick this game up, as it simply isn't something that's directed at a general audience. However, if you are a Harry Potter fan, and you want a game that will give you lots of things to unlock, and a bunch of interesting locations from your favorite book series to explore, then Lego Harry Potter will provide hours of gameplay for you to get lost in, which is really all we can ask of games today anyway.
Summary: If you like Harry Potter, and you like fun, the two translate and fuse nicely into one here.