Review: LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE HARRY

Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Genre: Action Adventure
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Compatability (PS3): 448KB Mininum Space | Players 1-2 | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 480p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p
Compatability (Xbox 360): 1MB Mininum Space | Players 1-2 | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Co-Op 2
Rating: 8.2

It’s time to enter the magical world of Harry Potter. High on the list of many fans of Harry Potter movie series was the long awaited Traveller’s Tales game adaptation of Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4. Harry Potter, Lego, and family gaming enthusiasts rejoice, for the gaming world is now filled with a combination of all three.

Since the release of the first Lego games, there has been a standard format for adapting the movies to the games. Design levels that are straight forward and follow the storyline of the movies, include the original musical scores, and put in some form of “home base” (in this case the Leaky Cauldron) for the player to launch levels from. Add in what seems to be an endless array of challenges and unlockables and BOOM you have a Lego inspired movie game. First off, while the game is not difficult for the veteran gamer, it is somewhat of a welcome break from what seems to be an endless bonanza of bad movie games. Save for the “Chronicles of Riddick” or “Toy Story 3”, most movie based games are poorly made and do not deliver on content. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 does deliver a meaningful gaming experience as do the rest of the games in the Lego series.

Loads of quests await you in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4.

In the beginning of the game you are involved in a cut-scene that plays on some tongue-in-cheek humor with the actual movie storyline. From there you are transported to the Leaky Cauldron to embark on your journey through the movie levels. Each movie has six different levels that allow you to play through an entire movies worth of events. At the end of each level is a boss and/or puzzle that takes you to the next level. This happens through the first four movies of the Harry Potter series. The levels are filled with silly family humor and cut-scenes to try to keep the player engaged. Once you are done with the story, the player can explore a seemingly massive array of unlockables, ten full bonus levels, and a creator level.

The game is well designed in the graphics category and gives the player a nice, clean world in which to play. I played the game on a high definition television and found the attention to detail very well done. There were no visible glitches from the graphics standpoint and nothing to stand out or distract the player from what they are doing. The game also incorporates some jaw-dropping music as adapted from the movies into the game. The music fits well with the scenes and helps the player stay involved on the story and mission at hand. Also, the difficulty of the game is perfect for gamers who want to relax and play a family based game, or for gamers who are just aching to grab all of the hidden items and add to the trophy/gamer score part of their system.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry looks awesome.

On the down side, the controls, like many of the games in the Lego series have a tendency to be very odd and sometimes a little difficult to deal with. While most of the physical gameplay is easy, sometimes it is hard to switch spells quickly enough and the aiming for the spells is a little quirky at times. Also while you’re searching through the massive amount of unlockables, there are a few glitches in the detectors that you are given after you pay for the post. There are times when you’ll be chasing hidden items that aren’t really there, even with the use of the time-turner ability. Furthermore, the AI is completely useless. There are a few situations where you will have to pick up a second controller and play two characters at once simply to handle a multiplayer task that the AI is supposed to do for you.

Overall, Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is a good quality game that will keep casual and hardcore gamers satisfied with its experience. It also stays in line with the family oriented gaming design that Traveller’s Tales is so well known for. Despite it’s relatively short story mode and random quirky happenings, I have to be honest and tell you that I still took the time to rack up a 1000 gamer score from this game. After sinking some hours into Harry Potter’s Lego world, I came out pretty satisfied.

Reviewed by vadrummin – November 26, 2010

Graphics
Overall the graphics are very good. There aren’t any notable design flaws or graphic glitches. The levels are clean, well-designed, and easy to navigate. The 3D lego characters look great in high-definition.
 
Sound
The music is well incorporated from the movies to the games. The sound effects for the spells are also good but the lack of verbal communication between the characters can be a sticking point for some gamers.
 
Fun
There are tons of hidden characters, spells, and usable cheats in this game that make the replay value remarkable. Plus, if worse comes to worse, you can go on a co-op game and have some fun breaking your friends.
 
Final Score

 

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