Harry Potter is a name that few people do not know. Though opinions vary greatly from one person to the next, none can doubt the success of this renowned series. This franchise started off as books and have spawned movies, toys, inspired theme parks, and of course, video games.
The LEGO series has always done an excellent job of taking any franchise and applying a very lighthearted, child-like nature to it; but does Traveller’s Tales succeed in delivering the story of Harry Potter’s darkest times in a way that satisfies both fans of the LEGO franchise as well as the Harry Potter fans out there? We find out in our review of what’s HOT and what’s NOT in LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7.
As with all games in the LEGO series, this game is complete eye candy. No one knows how to tell a story quite like the folks down at Traveller’s Tales. Not a single word is spoken, yet through facial expression, hand gestures, and some very interesting improvisation, this game does not skip a beat. Each stage is littered with puzzles and secret areas that simply cannot be reached until the second or even third time around. Certain stages in the game even displays multiple battles happening simultaneously in far off distances as you seek ways to achieve a greater goal through the use of supporting characters. There is never a time when gamers’ eyes will not be scanning the entire screen for one purpose or another and every moment of it is enjoyable.
Perfectly Placed Audio
At no point in time does the music ever become repetitive or boring as the game does an excellent job utilizing what type of music to play in order to assist the events of the story by setting the proper mood. When things are mellow gamers will find themselves bobbing along with the music, and when things get hectic (The Deathly Hallows Part 2 specifically) expect to find yourself edging toward the front of your seat even if you already know what is going to happen. Each spell has a uniquely different sound to it, so much so that you can eventually learn what spell you have selected just by the sound your wand made when you chose it.
As the game progresses, Harry and his crew unlock new types of spells each with its own properties. These new spells allow gamers to access new puzzles and areas that are blocked off. These areas are present as early as the very first stage in the game and even after the first play through, depending on how many LEGO studs have been collected, gamers may not even have enough to unlock a character who knows Dark Magic (required to activate dark magic objects). Each stage has four “Hogwarts House Crest” pieces to locate, “Students in Peril”, Character Tokens that must be found before a character can be purchased/unlocked, and Red Bricks which, once found, allows for new power ups or special abilities to be purchased for the corresponding red brick. On top of all that, there are 200 Gold Bricks that can be either found or earned through various means.
Wizard Duels are Cool!
One of the biggest surprises in this game happens the first time you are required to duel another wizard. Each spell has a certain color association; in order to attack the other wizard in a duel, gamers must attack with the same color spell as their opponent. If done correctly a beautiful display of power struggles between the two until one loses. The ability to cast a shield adds additional strategy into the mix that gamers will find very riveting and entertaining. Boss battles will mix it up between duels and a convoluted game of catch, keeping gameplay simple for younger gamers while at the same time challenging for the older Potter fans out there.
The Deathly Hallows Part 2
Even through the saddest of events, the game somehow manages to maintain the lightheartedness that is planted throughout the game, and generally this is not a bad thing. However, this tendency to keep things care-free becomes a constant reminder that this is just a video game and destroys the engrossing feeling that becomes so strong by this point in the game.
During the last portion of the game moments that are truly supposed to tug at heart strings, almost felt abusive; as if the game was merely mocking the most tragic of events as death become more frequent. The game would have been better off leaving these somber moments as just that, instead of making failed attempts at lightening the mood with comical humor. Fans of the Franchise will enjoy the game up until The Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Story progression can be confusing at times
Fans of Harry Potter will be able to follow the story in this game without a problem; even if you are not a fan of the series, the story is told very well and gamers will be able to keep up with about 95% of the game’s story. Those few stages, such as the one that is supposed to tell the story of the Deathly Hallows, are so utterly confusing that even Potter fans will be taken aback.
LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 is an excellent edition to the LEGO series. Gamers will have a phenomenal time as they spend hours hunting down the dozens of collectible items, visiting and revisiting stages, and solving new puzzles. Although the game has beautiful level designs, invigorating action scenes, and perfectly placed audio, this game may not sit well with fans of the Harry Potter franchise unless they can look past the fun that is made of the deaths in the game.
[Editor’s Note: LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 was reviewed on the PlayStation 3. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 Review,