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LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 game review



It was the end of an era when the Harry Potter books and movies were finished. Now, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 concludes that landmark series as well.

LEGO HARRY POTTER:
YEARS 5-7

WBIE for PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, 3DS, DS, PC; Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older.

Gameplay: 8.5
Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Replay Value: 8.5
Overall Score: 8.5

Pros: Lots of spell casting; fun puzzles to solve; beautiful environments.

Cons: Repetitive gameplay; nonplayable characters get stuck on each other; no online play.

This finale to LEGO Harry follows the same blueprint that all the LEGO movie-based games do. Collect a ton of studs. Build bridges and vehicles to get from one place to another. Solve puzzles, such as finding an escaped toad for a wizard.

GETTING STARTED

Begin in a playground featuring some slides and a seesaw. Boy, are there a lot of studs in this small area.

It’s fun to use Harry’s wand to make toast of the environment and collect your LEGO pieces. And the zapping, crashing sounds along with the vibration in the controller help make the experience feel real.

Immediately, you find a helper in this first level to, in this case, help open the gate. Ron is helpful, too. His power lets you build or open things when they’re colored blue.

GETTING AROUND THE GLITCHES

There are a lot of LEGO people around, sometimes too many. In a small error of game design, these nonplayable characters can get stuck on one another. If that happens to you and they block your way, just bump into them to separate them.

It’s nice to see game designers devise new ways to use the Xbox’s processing power by adding so many characters to a crowd scene. But I really don’t know what purpose they serve beyond overpopulating places, such as a town square.

SPELLS AND SECRETS

The biggest fun feature in LEGO Harry is dueling with other characters. Use various spells depending on the weaknesses of your particular foe. And you need quick reflexes to win. Dueling was in the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean game, and I’m really glad it’s in Harry, too.

This LEGO Harry is darker and creepier than last year’s game, just like the last movies in the series. But there’s always some humor to temper the scarier moments. This is a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

And you’ll find more of the strange secrets hidden within once you finish the main game and return for Free Play mode. In fact, you’ll see that when you complete the primary storyline, you’re only 50 percent done. Go back and have some more fun!

While it’s not that different from the last offering, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 gives you a ton of enjoyable gaming. And you’ll meet 200 Potter characters along the way, a huge number.

If you don’t want to say goodbye to Harry just yet, here’s a fine way to spend time in his world — throughout the holidays and beyond.

The Games Guru reviewed LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 on an Xbox 360.

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