Harry Potter sells like hot cakes, slap his name on a book, movie, game and you’ll have tweens and retrotarded middle aged women lining up in a fluster to buy. The new movie and game are based on the sixth book which surged to internet infamy with spoilers ruining many childhoods. So not only does Harry Potter: And The Half Blood Prince tread the line of being based on an existing work of fiction, it also has to run the gambit of conforming to the movie, how does it fare?
Of the highest importance for a movie game is the resemblance of both appearance and mannerism to the actors. Fortunately Harry looks like Daniel Radcliffe, Ron looks like Rupert Grint, but Hermione Granger, poor little Hermione looks nothing like Emma Watson, such a pity. Snap, Dumbledore and that perpetually annoying Draco Malfoy manages to show up all looking the part and displaying characteristics that reminded me of their filmic counterparts. Another key figure in the Harry Potter world is the school it’s self, I think that this is the best part of the game, the school is very well reconstructed, the stair well with the moving staircases in particular along with other places like the great hall, the Quidditch field and even Hagrid’s cottage.
The story (as my wife informed me) sums up the book’s events for the most part, there are a lot of little details missing, but the plot is there and so if you haven’t read the book and don’t want to ruin the movies plot then perhaps it might be a good idea to wait until after you’ve watched the movie before you play. I found the way the story was told a little patchy, there were “cutscenes” that seemed to be put in as an after though, with voices and images but no real drama or compelling imagery.
Where the game really falls short is the length, started and finished the game in one sitting in a single morning. There can’t be more than 4 hours worth of story there. There are additional activities to perform and these can be done once the story line is complete, but the incentive is pretty much gone once the story has been wrapped up.
These activites include playing Quidditch (which is really just chasing the Golden Snitch) duelling, which I think was the most enjoyable gameplay element from the experience despite the ability to bully your way through it, and potion making. There are crests hidden through out the school to find if you like collectathons, but it does give an excuse to explore the nooks and crannies of the school.
If games were races then some might be considered Marathons, others might be an exhilarating 100 meter sprint, Harry Potter would be the 1500 meter race, not simple and short enough to get your blood racing while also lacking the endurance and satisfaction of grinding out a marathon. Infact it was so short I found it hard justifying not just writing a single paragraph review.
If you simply want to experience the movie/book world in a game, then this is a good place to do it with the detail that has been given to the game world, but I wouldn’t be buying it for the actual game play portion, it’s just too short and unrewarding.