Reviews

Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 Review

Release Date: Out now!
Developer: Travellers Tales
Publisher: Warner Bro’s
Singleplayer: Yes
Splitscreen: Yes, 2 players.
Multiplayer: 1-2
PEGI:7+

Harry Potter returns yet again but this time it’s in game form, with added Lego, comedy and general confusion along with Ron bieng repeatedly smacked in the face by pretty much every object to ever grace the planet.

Travellers Tales have certaily been getting around with these Lego games based on famous series, Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones and now JK Rowlings famous work is getting the treatment to and it seems that TT have gone with the simple concept of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Anyone who has played on of the previous Lego games is going to feel right at home with the basics of the game.
It takes place across the first four Harry Potter books, The Philosophers Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and the Goblet of Fire allowing Travellers Tales to create a game based on the major moments from the books.

Of course being made of Lego means Harry can’t speak leading to the entire 4 books being played out in miming, grunts and Ron being smacked in the face.
Sadly this has lead to a major problem, if you have never read the Harry Potter books nor watched the films then your going to be lost.Not just lost in fact, completely and utterly bemused.
The plot of all 4 books have been compressed massively, mixed with the lack of voice acting and it’s impossible to know who is who and why that just happened. No, not that.that!

Luckily most people have either read the books or watched the films, but even those who have not will appreciate the humour within Lego Harry Potter, from characters miming troll attacks to Rons rather hopeless attempts at magic the magic and charm of the Harry Potter world as been captured in Lego form extremely well, giving the whole thing a certain charming appeal.

The familiar Lego gameplay returns, you can free-roam around hogwarts to a degree though much of it cannot be accessed until the correct spells are learned.
You’ll be lead to each new level by a ghost which keeps needless trekking around to a low allowing people who just want to get on with it a sense of direction while others can still explore at will.
In fact it’s exploration and replay that makes Lego Harry Potter shine, with around 100 unlockable characters to get, golden bricks to find and more completionists will have something to keep them going for a while.
You can expect around 12-15 hours of gameplay if you go through the story mode (which can be played in Co-op with a friend) and only grab the occasional collectible.
But you can also come back in free-play with any character to get into otherwise unaccessible area’s and find the last collectibles.

As you venture around the world you collect Studs ( Currency of a sorts) and solve puzzles to advance mixed with the occasional bit of combat or even broomstick flying.
The puzzles are all based on some wacky logic, and yet somehow make sense as you happily use the games main staple spell (Wingardium Leviosa) to flip things upside down, build objects and more.
At any time you’ll have at least two characters whom you can swap between at will by tapping the Y button, of course certain characters have certain strengths which allow them to access area’s others can’t.
It’s never too difficulty, in fact the game is pretty much a walkthrough and you can’t die as such allowing you to simply enjoy the game.

It all feels familair but remains a fun experience to play, a few minor niggles such as trying to line up the Lego sections do annoy at times but these are minor complaints and the Lego gameplay has capture the magic of Hogwarts very well.

But there are a few times when you’ll find yourself stuck simply due to not noticing some small object you needed to destroy to get an ingredient for a potion, it can be a little frustrating at times but is far from game ruining.
It’s all compelling stuff though often hampered by some frustrating fixed camera views which can lead to some moments of confusion and annoyance as you cannot see your goal or miss a platform.
other things include awkward vehicle handling, thankfully these are not often used.

Special mention must also be made to the Lego Builder which allows you to create your own worlds, and entire levels to playthrough.
It provides a good range of tools to play with and it’s possible to create levels almost as well done as the games original levels giving the game added length as the creative out there will be able to spend many a happy hour creating vast levels.
It’s sad then that these levels cannot be shared, it feels like a wasted opportunity.

While Lego Harry Potter may not deviate far from the traditional Lego gameplay the combination of License’s have created something with an addictive charm that is hard to describe, while the gameplay is simple and the game is easy to complete you’ll find it easy to sit, relax and play the game for a few hours at a time and come out of it with a smile from the antics of the characters.

The Good:
+ Lego Ron!
+ Simple yet addictive.
+Lego antics!

The Bad:
– Overly compressed storyline makes it hard for newcomers to understand.
– Often irritating camera angles.

Scores:

Graphics: 7.5
It all looks sharp and clean and the environments are well done, but it’s far from fantasic.

Sound: 7
No voice acting to speak of, but the music from the films adds a nice tone to it all though some sound glitches exist.

Story: 5
It may be the story of the books but it’s so compressed that anybody who does not already know the story will be lost.

Gameplay: 8
Fun and addictive, it may be simple but it’s easy to lost a few hours in this game at a time.

Lifespan: 8.5
The story can be done in around 12 hours but completionists will be at it for a while.

overall: 7.5
The formula may not have changed but Harry Potter suits the Lego universe and it’s created a good game all round, though older gamers may find it too easy and simplistic.

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