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Lego Harry Potter

 

Lego Harry Potter

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Adventure
 
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Author:

Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Traveller’s Tales

Official Site

Features:

Players: 1 – 2 players
HDTV: 720p/1090i/1080p
In-game Dolby Digital
Co-op: Yes
Downloadable Content Support

Being a huge fan of the Lego video game series and an even bigger fan of the Harry Potter series, I was very excited about the pending release of Harry Potter Lego. In this instalment the creators have taken a slightly different approach to Harry Potter Lego, bringing some new and unique ways to solve puzzles that were not available in previous Lego titles. So everyone hop on the Hogwarts’ Express and let us travel through the first four years of Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts and beyond.

Graphics:

When playing a Lego game, you should never anticipate the high quality next generation graphics found on other current games. The unique element of Lego games is that just about everything is made up of Lego pieces, and to be fair there is only so much definition one can give to a Lego block. However, the creators of the game have successfully used these blocks to recreate the world of Harry Potter in a very unique way.

The main area you will explore and experience is Hogwarts, the wizardry school that Harry Potter and his friends attend. Fans of the series will see that the castle is nearly identical to what is seen in the movies, with the moving staircases, lecture halls and Professor Snape’s classroom recreated in Lego perfection. Even areas outside of the castle such as around Hagrid’s cottage, his garden and even the Quiddatch pitch, will be spot on and all too familiar.

The characters have been designed perfectly using the Lego formula. Every detail a fan of Harry Potter can think of has not been forgotten and rounds out the different variations of each character. The ugly sweaters that Harry and Ron receive for Christmas, Cat-Hermoine and a variety of different clothing is unlockable as you progress through the game, adding quite a bit of character variety. Adding to the lego-sculpted images of the characters are the animated cut scenes that flow in and out of the gameplay, expanding on the personalities of the characters and enhancing the rich environment already in place.

Sufficed to say, I love the graphics of any game in the Lego series and I especially welcome the improvements introduced in Lego Harry Potter. The graphics definitely boost the gaming experience of Lego Harry Potter.

Sound

The sound and music of Lego Harry Potter play huge roles in enhancing the ups and downs of Hogwarts and the surrounding areas. The original score created by John Williams for the Harry Potter films is heard throughout the game and provides a familiar musical theme.

There is no voice acting in the game. The storyline and the in-game communication between characters are portrayed by the use of expressive tones that depict the intentions of the characters and how they are feeling. These can include, but are not limited to, grunting, laughter, the deep inhale of breathe from the state of shock or surprise, and mumbled confusion. In a way, having the story told this way adds a comedic edge and lets you fill in the blanks of the story; however it can also become frustrating to those players who prefer not to have to guess what is going on at times.

The sound effects were carefully added and enhance each individual level and the whole of Hogwarts. I found the sound effects reminiscent of the Harry Potter atmosphere created through the films and books. Common to each level is the sound of clinking as you collect the studs and the stacking sounds of construction as your character builds objects and tools out of the uncovered Lego blocks. Also included are sounds that compliment the environments, from the unique sounds of the ghosts moaning and floating through the castle, the distinctive whooshing of your Nimbus 3000 flying broom, to the hissing of the snakes that guard certain areas.

The sounds at times brought on a chuckle due to their comedic use and overall I felt all the sounds in the game really brought something extra.

Gameplay

Lego Harry Potter follows the books and movies, although it has its own unique comedic approach to the story telling, which brings a much lighter tone than some of the more serious content of the story. Following the first four years of Harry Potter’s entrance into the wizardry world, you will encounter many familiar sites, enemies and friends; but if you are expecting a perfect re-creation of everything Potter you won’t get that experience. This isn’t necessarily a downside to the game because let’s face it, the amount of material they were able to get into this title is quite amazing and they would be hard pressed to fit the entire storyline into the game.

The levels have been crafted in such a way that you can find where you are going to complete each level, but when you attempt Free Play mode you will find many hidden areas throughout the levels. For those unfamiliar with previous instalments of the Lego games, in Free Play you get access to a good portion of the characters and their abilities to complete extra tasks that you cannot complete in Story Mode. Free Play is unlocked on each level, as you complete that level.

The general objectives of the game are to navigate through the levels while battling enemies, smashing up the environment to use Lego blocks to build tools, solving puzzles and/or defeating a villain at the end of each level.

Players familiar with Lego titles will notice a huge change in the tools at their disposal used to solve puzzles, combat enemies and even build Lego parts. The game puzzles and battles are now solved using a variety of spells and items that you acquire throughout your years at Hogwarts by attending lessons or solving certain scenarios. One of the core spells is Wingardiam Leviosa, which allows you to float objects into place; it also constructs Lego parts into useful items that aid your puzzle solving and battles. You will also learn how to make potions such as Strength Enhancement or Polyjuice Potions (allows you to take on the shape of any character unlocked in Story Mode).

One of the familiar special items you can acquire is Harry’s invisibility cloak. Also making an appearance in this Lego title are the wizards’ familiars, such as Ron’s pet Rat Scabbers or Hermoine’s Cat. Scabbers, being quite small, can climb around in small pipes to help unlock new areas. Hermoine’s Cat can dig up hidden items buried in the ground. As can be expected, with all the new abilities and concepts added to this Lego title, it plays a bit differently, but overall it creates a fresh experience for followers of the Lego games bringing a unique gameplay experience to newcomers.

For those who enjoy a great co-op game, you’re in luck. Every single level is playable with a friend; however it is only local co-op. Sometimes two heads are better than one, and in this case two heads is a lot more fun. More than likely you will have quite a few laughs, usually at the expense of being put into awkward situations, like being punched by your teammate and launched off the side of a building to your Lego death.

There are quite a few extra objectives to achieve while playing through Story Mode and Free Play. Attain True Wizard status by collecting a whole lot of Lego studs, or search out and collect four crest pieces to form Hogwarts’ Crests, Spell and Ability Tokens, Character Tokens, Gold Bricks and Red Bricks. Gold Bricks can be used to unlock bonus levels in Gringott’s Bank and Red Bricks will activate special extras like Carrot Wands, Fast Magic, Character Token Detector or Invincibility, to name a few. The Hogwarts’ Crests, when completed, will give you a Super Kit piece used toward building a Super Kit in the cellar of the Leaky Cauldron. What exactly this Super Kit does is up to you to find out as you complete the game.

I loved playing Lego Harry Potter and thoroughly enjoyed the focus on puzzles that kept me engaged. The comedic tone to the game is quite refreshing and keeps the game family friendly when some of the content may be a bit frightening to a younger audience.


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