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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix game review



Electronic Arts for Xbox 360 (Gameplay may vary for DS, Game Boy Advance, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii and PC versions.)

Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older

Welcome to Harry Potter’s fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Things have changed around campus. Mean old Delores Umbridge from the Ministry of Magic has taken over the Defense Against the Dark Arts classes and isn’t teaching the students how to properly defend themselves. Snape is his nasty old self, but Dumbledore is hard to find.

THE LOWDOWN

harrypotterbox.jpg

Graphics: 8.0

Sound: 8.0

Gameplay: 6.0

Value: 7.5

Overall Score: 7.5 out of 10.0

Pros: The game brings the book and movie to life with an amazingly accurate 3D Hogwarts, good likenesses of the actors, many original actors’ voices and situations from the book and movie.

Cons: Gameplay often feels more like a scavenger hunt on Hogwarts grounds than an adventure.

This year a lot of people think Harry is bonkers, but Harry has more important things on his mind: He needs to prepare for Lord Voldemort’s next big attack, something nobody else seems to care about.

Most of Order of the Phoenix is played out in the form of “to do” lists in an enormous and totally believable 3D rendition of Hogwarts. We’re talking big … really big.

Running from Hagrid’s hut to the greenhouses where Professor Sprout holds her herbology labs can easily take you five minutes. Throw in the Room of Requirement on the seventh floor and Snape’s dungeon, the viaduct, owlry and boathouse, and pretty soon you have a huge world.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is out on every major gaming system. There is a stripped-down version for Game Boy Advance and a visually impressive one for PSP. Wand-intensive versions for DS and Wii take advantage of the DS stylus and Wii-mote.

If you’re looking for graphic pizzazz, you can’t beat the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.

HOUSEKEEPING

Order of the Phoenix begins with you—as Harry—fighting off dementors in London, then whisks you off to the Order of the Phoenix hideout. If you’ve read the book, you’ll understand what Harry was doing in London and who brought him to the untidy house where the Order does its bidding. The game lets these details—and many others—fly by.

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You must learn both combat and non-combat spells to prepare to defend the Ministry.

In the hideout, you learn basic spells by doing housekeeping. You learn spells that knock things back, pull things forward and lift things up. These spells come in handy once you land in Hogwarts, where the majority of the game is played.

Once you’re on the Hogwarts campus, your housekeeping duties aren’t over. Throughout your stay, you must fix pots, sweep leaves, mop floors, straighten tapestries, burn spider webs, hang pictures, light torches and more. You’re constantly commanded: “Harry, help Umbridge find these plants.” “Harry, find the giant in the Forbidden Forest.” Doing these chores increases your wizarding power and stocks unlockable surprises in your storage room.

Every time you reach a new level, a ghost named Moaning Myrtle appears and says something along the lines of, “There are things for you to see in our special room, Harry.” Those things include videos of interviews with the actors from the movie, movie clips and more.

In the beginning, all of that housekeeping might distract you from the game. But you soon learn that all of that housekeeping is the game. Oh, you get other tasks such as finding the 28 members of Dumbledore’s Army—Harry’s secret defense-against-the-dark-arts club—and locating the five talking gargoyles, but for the most part, you spend the game cleaning and straightening.

GETTING AROUND

The series of errands you’re sent on have you running across campus or down seven floors.


VIDEO: The game designers tried hard to make Hogwarts as accurate as possible.

The artists at Electronic Arts have recreated locations in great detail, and they look just like they do in the movies. The problem is that having gone to the trouble of creating these virtual places, they force you to see them again and again and again.

Frankly, Order of the Phoenix would be a very short game if they took the running out.

On the other hand, you never get lost. Other games are hard to navigate. With Order of the Phoenix, you not only get the Marauder’s Map to show you where to go, but you can also have the map guide you as you run. Just choose the person or place you need to go to on the map, and ghostly footprints will guide you as you run.

It’s a great touch.

All of that running back and forth would ruin most games, but in the case of Order of the Phoenix, it’s not a deal-breaker. The 3D worlds and characters are realistic and the game gives you so many new things to see and characters to meet.

BATTLING THE BADDIES

Ultimately, Harry does leave Hogwarts to enter the Ministry of Magic and face Voldemort and his Deatheater henchmen. By the time you get to this showdown, you will have learned both combat and non-combat spells. You’ll not only be able defend the Ministry, but you’ll also have the skills to clean up afterward.


VIDEO: Watch clips of some of the game’s various battles.

The battle system in Order of the Phoenix is good, but not perfect. You have offensive spells to hurt your opponent and defensive spells for deflecting attacks. The fights themselves feel more like chaos than battles.

Kudos to Electronic Arts, however, for adding simplicity to what might have been an impossibly hard fighting system. You cast spells by moving the right thumbpad in unique ways—clockwise, counter-clockwise, up-down, etc. During the heat of battle, it’s easy to get sloppy with your movements, but Order of the Phoenix is quite forgiving. It reads your spells even when you’re not exact.

That keeps things fun.

ONE FINAL NOTE

There’s a term used in gaming (originally in robotics) called “uncanny valley,” which refers to the lifeless eyes on otherwise realistic characters. You’ll see a lot of it in this game.

lifelesseyes.jpg
Like most video games, the faces in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix can seem frozen.

The model of Harry moves like a real person and has a recognizable version of his face—and even the real voice of actor Daniel Radcliffe—but has the flat, unmoving eyes of a statue.

Likewise, Ron looks real but a bit corpse-like. Hermione and Ginny Weasley look the scariest: Their faces are accurate but frozen in a snarl.

In years to come, game consoles will be able to unfreeze character faces. But at least for now, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix does have some of the best-looking characters and sets of any game.

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Comments about “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix game review”

  1. Drift kingzz says:

    How do i complete the part that you need to clean Hogwarts??

  2. ti says:

    how do you get the book down

  3. harry guy says:

    yo any of u know where to get the 5 gargoiles?

    i have four of them in need them to get somone off the da listthx:)

  4. accio says:

    How do you get to the Room of Requirement?

  5. Anonymous says:

    finding the GARGOYLES

    what does it mean

  6. Mongoose says:

    I’m still reading the book lol

  7. Con1 says:

    COOL GAME!! ; }

  8. Otter says:

    I have been looking for 3 hours for a trace of how to find the D.A. members my map is blank! I hear a few people complaining about it on the internet but there are no awnsers. Hermione and Ron say to look at the map-Nothing-Look at the message board-Nothing! I checked all the available castle but alas!

    Someone please Help!!!

  9. viper says:

    What is this game like?

  10. harry potter rules 87 says:

    I am here to Help for PS2 I’ll check every day at 7:30

  11. ash says:

    how do you complete the library level

  12. jacksta says:

    on the one bit where you have to get the book down in the library how do you do it by the way its on psp

  13. Anonymous says:

    The hardest gargoyle to find is on the 4th floor. Once you are up there look around, there is a small door way that leads you to a small balcony. on this balcony you will find a very grumpy gargoyle.

  14. twinlight says:

    Too easy i beat it before movie came out in theaters

  15. potterfan!!!no1 says:

    hey=]],

    i want 2 no.im buyin the harry potter ootp psp game does ney1 hav it??iz it gud i want to no!!!i hope it iz ill like it neyway hehe i like all tha hp games.except 4 hp4 pfft who agrees with me haha.nd im having trouble gettin all the portrait passwords.

    thanx!!!!=]]

  16. jm says:

    Im going to ask what everybody’s is asking… where are the five so-called gargoyles? My sister is trying to beat this game, so im helping her out and i dont know where they are (i dont like this game, but i already read all the books, i love them)

  17. harrypotter7iscool says:

    where is the balcony on the fourth floor that has the talking gargoyle?

  18. harrypotterforprez says:

    i have got the answeres !!

    1.In the Transfiguration Courtyard, where Dean is located.

    2.Near the Viaduct (before you cross the bridge itself)

    3.On the fourth floor, out on the balcony

    4.Head up the stairs in the Paved Courtyard, take a right and head past the statues to find it

    5.Located on the stairs leading up to the Defense Against the Darks Arts classroom

  19. harrypotterforprez says:

    i can not find the 5 gargoyles!!!! i have 4 but cant find the last one…am i supposed to find the one that fell off the platform?

  20. x hbgftljglkgv says:

    Please be nice. Abusive comments or those containing offensive language, web links or e-mail addresses will not be approved.

  21. cooL-boy says:

    where are located the five gargoyles?

  22. ............ says:

    where are the five gargoyles?

  23. Halaxis says:

    I read Deathly Hallows in 6 hours or less, not to brag($-]

  24. myself says:

    The last book is awesome. It’s the best one yet.

  25. harry james potter fan144 says:

    ive each book but harry potter and the deathly hollows im a harry potter geek

  26. harry james potter fan144 says:

    im harrypotters bigest fan i want to have this gme sooooooooooooo baddddddddddd!!!!!!

  27. meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

    I (meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee) am Harry Potter’s very biggest fan (I MEAN IT)

  28. mia says:

    how do i get the book in the library..please help me i just ca’t get it

  29. the best says:

    i heard Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix pc game is only on dvd-rom is there

    any Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix pc game for cd-rom plz tell me

  30. softball says:

    where are the five gargoles???

  31. MCLAREN says:

    every time i play the slytherin chess champion i always leave him with one piece and i would still have 6 or 7 pieces left he just say stalemate or something i must’ve lost to him at least 30 times now by that cause. how do i avoid him saying stalemate.

  32. i love books! ! ! says:

    i want glasses just like harry im his biggest fan and im a right geek hua hua

  33. thinkguy33 says:

    wow i cant wait to get my wii so i can get this game. i sooooooooo want to see the movie.

  34. dissapointment says:

    the graphs are good but the game sucks. Why isn’t it over after the dull fight between D and W anyways? The actions of the hero is so limited. I’d prefer simple verbal comments to trying to push banks with magic. Needs serious revison.

  35. Pokemaster says:

    I reallllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllyy want that game!!!!! It seems realy cool.

  36. dontore says:

    i think more people shuld be interested with the harry potter seres i mean its awsome i would love to have harry’s powers and go to school at hagworts and be best frends with ron and hermine

  37. josh says:

    where are the five talking gargoles

  38. Elvis says:

    what is the best place to go in oreder of the phoenix i just ordered the game of amazon and when i get to hogwarts i want to know the best place to go can someone help me plz!?!

  39. MOUN129 SAYS says:

    MY COUSINS LOVE HARRY POTTER. I NEVER READ THE BOOKS.

    I WATCH THE SNEAK PREVIEW’S OF ALL THE NEW MOVIES.

    ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS HARRY POTTER IS SO CUTEEEE!!!!!!!!

  40. Batman says:

    HI I REALLY WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE!

  41. gorgehd says:

    i think this is probaly the best ever harry potter game and the best game i have ever played just a bit better than the film!

  42. nickykitty says:

    Playing the game now cant find the rest of the 28 and walking forever around lol! When i get through this bit hopefully it will speed up.

  43. waqas says:

    where is dungeon

  44. rs rules911 says:

    i reckon the game is far far far beta than da movie

  45. legofreak1000 says:

    the movie was the worst harry potter movie yet!!

  46. rs rocks says:

    I loved the movie and i REALLY REALLY REALLY want to get the game…also the books are Really good.

  47. bj says:

    THIS GAME RULZ!! BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!

  48. SunShine says:

    THE MOVIE WAS NOT GOOD AT ALL BUT THE GAME IS ALSOME!!! YOUR MONEY IS WHILE SPENT ON IT:)

  49. pattmann says:

    now i REAAAAAAAAALLY want to see the movie :(

  50. LOVE says:

    DA MOVI IS AWESOM!!!!

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