There’s no more books and no more films, so it’s a welcome sight to see the second installment of the LEGO Harry Potter games hit our shelves. Yet another LEGO game of a popular movie franchise hits our shelves, and I can see how some people could get bored by the amount that are out there. But these games are just too damn fun. So what makes LEGO Harry Potter years 5-7 different from the rest and worth your money?
The formula is still exactly the same as in previous games and will see you play through the main plot lines from the films. You of course have the option of collecting endless amounts of LEGO studs, house crests etc along the way, which adds more depth and longevity to the game. Collecting the studs can seem a bit tedious at times, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist and like to complete games 100%, and well, this game is quite addictive.
The controls are very easy to get to grips with, and if you’ve played the original, then you’ll jump right in. You start of with a few spells to get you through the first levels by simply pressing the Square button and moving the cursor over your target. More often than not, it will automatically select the spell you need to open or destroy some of the items in front of you. You’ll need to do this round every corner to find the hidden pieces of LEGO which will help you progress through the levels.
There are parts of the game when you use the Wingardium Leviosa spell using the Circle button which, in case you didn’t know, levitates objects. This can get extremely frustrating at times, as there has been a few occasions where the item I need gets caught on something, and it becomes a real pain to get it loose. Sometimes the item will jump back to it’s original position for you to try again, but if it doesn’t, prepare to get frustrated. The majority of the time, this spell works just fine and you’ll need to use it quite a lot throughout the game.
You start the game at The Order of the Phoenix which is the fifth story of the franchise right through to The Deathly Hallows Part 2. The opening levels are great fun and will have you flying Harry around on his broomstick through London with the rest of the Order before reaching Grimauld Place. After this you head of to the magical school of Hogwarts where the game really opens up.
In between each of the main story based levels, you’re free to roam around Hogwarts at your leisure. However, certain areas will be blocked off until you have learnt a specific spell, and where better to learn the new spells than at school. It’s impossible to lose you’re way as you’re always led to the next section by ghosts who drop ghost studs to show you where to go next.
This doesn’t hinder the game in anyway, because if you’re new to the game it’s easy to get lost through those corridors! Not only have you got the freedom to roam around Hogwarts, but you’re able to run free around Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley. Here you can purchase upgrades, extra characters which you can then use in Freeplay, golden bricks etc which adds even more to an already big game.
Each film has 6 parts to it which can take you roughly a couple of hours to go through on your first run, so long as you’re not stopping for all the studs and finding all the secrets. After completing a level, you will unlock the freeplay version, which allows you to go back to specific levels with different characters to unlock more of the hidden crests/students in peril/red bricks/golden bricks……so much to find.
A lot of the fighting is the same, however, this time around, duels have been added to the combat system which is a great new feature. The main fights of the game will see your controlled character standing inside a circle against your opponent. The colour of the ring defines which spell you need to use to take damage off your enemy and it’s up to you to select the right one. Use of shields via the circle button prevent you from getting hit, and once you make a hit, the spells come together which triggers some button bashing to take health of your opponent. It’s also impossible to fail in any of the levels because if you lose all of your health, your character will explode into a few LEGO pieces along with the scattering of a few studs. Then as if by magic, you reappear in time to recollect your dropped studs if you’re fast enough.
There were some emotional scenes throughout the final Harry Potter films, which included SPOILER ALERT a lot of the big characters being killed off. But Travellers Tales have handled this really well and put a humorous spin on it which works to great affect, seen as this is a LEGO game after all, and it doesn’t ruin the fun.
Visuals and Sound
Not only is the gameplay easy to get to grips with, but the visuals of the game are superb. Absolutely everything looks incredibly polished from the halls of Hogwarts and the Minstry of Magic, to The Burrow and Privet Drive. The attention to detail is superb with plenty of familiar locations along with some additional areas for you to explore. Of course there are some extra areas thrown in for good measure, but non of them have received any less attention. One of the best moments of the game is in The Deathly Hallows Part 1 when you get to play the story of The Three Brothers from The Tales of Beadle the Bard book which Dumbledore gives to Hermione. It was one of my favourite parts of the film and I feel the LEGO makeover works perfectly. Not only that, but every time you jump into the pensieve, the game is given an artist yellow wash to let you know you’re playing in the past and it works like a treat.
Once again, there’s no voice acting in the LEGO Harry Potter sequel, but this adds to the cuteness and innocence of the game. You get the usual “hhhmms”, “aaargghs” and “oooos” from your magical heroes and this can add to the humour along the way. It’s fantastic that Travellers Tales have used the official soundtracks from the films as I feel this really improves on the atmosphere and feel of the game, and it just wouldn’t be the same without it.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the latest LEGO game, but maybe I’m just being biased because I’m a fan of Harry Potter. I’m a big kid I know. You can tell Travellers Tales have put a lot of love and care into LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, which makes the experience so much fun. It won’t be everybody’s goblet of pumpkin juice, but if you’re after something easy going and fun to play, then I’d definitely recommend purchasing this game.
4 out of 5
Danny ‘Ender’ Martin has been part of the Zath team from pretty much the very beginning since he met Zath himself at Leeds Met University whilst studying Business IT. He’s an avid gamer and a big film buff. Danny graduated from the University of Bradford with a degree in Computer Animation and SFX and now currently works at one of the biggest UK games developers, which will hopefully see some of his ideas hit the gaming world.