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If you've already played one of the Lego titles then you pretty much know what to expect from Lego Harry Potter, it's a game based on the 1st to 4th Harry Potter books and it's set in a Lego 'universe' but to describe the game so simplistically would be massively selling it short.. It's funny, cleaverly made and interesting, in my opinion, it's the best Harry Potter game out there (not counting of course the newly released Lego Harry Potter years 5-7).
The game is, overall, a pretty accurate representation of the books, with its begining right the way back, as baby Harry is being dropped off at the home of his aunt and uncle (in a cutscene that sees lego Hagrid come crashing through the gardens of Privet Drive and jump from the wreckage only to accidentally pull a bunch of blocky flowers from his overcoat instead of the tiny lego baby) and ending with a fantastic minute long cut-scene that ties up all the loose ends and shows the departure of the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students in their magnificent ship and flying carriage respectively. The game also covers all the major events you would expect in between, the fight with the two-faced quirrel, a daring escape from the club wielding troll, the bloodthirsty basalisk and a dangerous dragon to name just a few. A lot of effort has been made to include as much detail as possible and this gives you the feeling of being presented with the opertunity to immerse yourself in the books and play through your favorite harry potter moments as Harry Potter himself, well Lego Harry at least... But, maybe you're not a fan of Harry and you've always secretly prefered Ron, well no problem, you can play as him instead, theres a really good variety of characters from the very well know to the slightly obscure, so theres someone for everyone to play, theres even the option for you to earn yourself 15 gamer score as you play though the game as Voldemort and defeate Harry... Oh the irony!
The game has been designed with a real sense of humour thats apparent in that even the 'darkest' of scenes, even the touchy subject of death (Cedric Diggory) is handled in a light-hearted and humourous manner and so makes the game potentially a more suitable choice for younger gamers, who may find the more 'realistic' harry Potter games avaliable a little scary. The funniness of the game also gives it a certain charm that adults will appreciate, theres something for everyone. In particular, fans of the Harry Potter series who may find it hard not to constantly burst out laughing whilst playing.
Theres plenty to do in the game with lots of things to find and collect, and with students getting themselves into perilous situations all over the castle you'll never be short of daring rescues to attempt. The stud collecting can get a little repetative at times, but unless you're an avid achievement hunter or someone who likes to compleate the game to 100% then stud collecting is merely a fun side-line and not an essential part of the game. Another thing that I found to become a tad tiresome were the voices of NPC as they wander round in the background, there are really only 2 main noises the characters make, a low pitched 'uh-uh' for boys and a high pitched 'ah-ah' for the girls, but if it really drives you mad you can always turn off the sound!
If you enjoy playing with a friend the game offers a 2 player co-op mode which is great, as there are so few good 2 player games about at the moment. The only drawback is the occasional difficulty that can arise because of the camera angles in 2 player modes and it is possible sometimes to get your friends character a bit stuck.. Although annoying, it isnt a huge issue and certainly shouldnt stop you from getting lots of enjoyment out of the 2 player mode.
Aside from the slight camera issues I only have two real gripes with the game. Sometimes spells dont aim very well and go firing off all over the place or at other characters, I wont lie it's a pain in the bum at times and sometimes have even left the game and gone back to it because it was doing my head in, but I really wouldnt let that put you off buying the game, the good certainly more than outways the bad and it is the games only control issue, other than that the controls are easy to use and seem to be well placed and also the menus very pleasant to navigate. My only other issue, is that some of the boss fights were a little easier than I was expecting and the last fight with Voldemort in the graveyard particularly, left me feeling a little underwhelmed. It is however a game aimed at those of all ages, so it would I suppose be daft to exclude younger players by making the game too difficult for them.
In summery, this game is by far one of my all time favorites and I would reccomend it to everyone, unless of course you dont like Lego or arnt that into Harry Potter, although even then I'd still say give it a go, this game is that good it just might make a convert out of you!
I'm a great fan of Harry Potter and I love Lego, so mixing the two is fabulous for me. I'm not, however, an avid gamer so sticking it on the Xbox is a bit of a novelty. I'll be honest at this point, I need a handy child to tell me how the controls work and help me navigate around the Xbox properly so I'm not what you'd call a hardcore gamer. But the Lego / HP combo was enough to draw me in.
In spite of my ineptitude on the console, I found this game very easy to use. The controls are quite straightforward and the game guides you along, showing you how to do different spells as you acquire them. The game follows the story of the books and movies so if you've read/seen them the game progression should be quite familiar. Interspersed at the beginning of and between levels are little Lego versions of scenes from the movies which are also pretty funny.
The game play is very clever with the player using spells and skills of the characters to solve puzzles and complete tasks in order to complete the level. Different characters can have different skills (for example, Professor McGonnagall can turn into a cat, Hermione can use her book to solve certain puzzles, Dudley Dursley is extra strong) and the 'bad' wizards have access to the Avada Kadavera spell which the good wizards don't. The game progresses through each book/movie until you've finished book 4, and then you can go back and replay each level using different characters which means that all levels can (and in fact must) be played more than once. You can also go into Hogwarts between levels and there are puzzles to solve around the castle outside of the levels.
Challenges in the game are to complete all the levels, find and collect characters (which you can then use in replay levels), collect red boxes (which gives you access to extra skills) and collect gold bricks.
The game is a lot of fun. I'm not sure that it would be very challenging to the hardcore gamer but my kids absolutely loved it, and I found it very enjoyable and easy to play. As you're able to go back into the levels once you've played them - to collect extra characters or just because you enjoyed it - I found it lasted for a long time and therefore is good value for money.