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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince game review

Could the new Harry Potter game use more magic? There’s some good news and some bad news, depending on which version you play.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Electronic Arts for PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, DS, PSP, PC
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older
harrypotter-cover
Xbox 360 and PS3
Graphics: 8.0
Sound: 8.0
Gameplay: 7.0
Replay Value: 6.0
Overall Score: 7.0

Pros: Great graphics, dueling club, casting spells

Cons: No online play, characters’ lips move weirdly, not enough that’s truly new

Wii
Graphics: 6.0
Sound: 6.0
Gameplay: 6.0
Replay Value: 6.0
Overall Score: 6.0

PSP
Graphics: 6.0
Sound: 6.0
Gameplay: 5.0
Replay Value: 5.0
Overall Score: 5.5

DS
Graphics: 5.0
Sound: 5.0
Gameplay: 5.0
Replay Value: 5.0
Overall Score: 5.0

FIRST, THE BAD NEWS

I’m afraid I have to tell you to stay away from the handheld versions. Both the PSP and DS games are pretty similar. In some ways, they just don’t look finished and corners have been cut. In an adventure game that isn’t too full of true adventure, the gamemakers add a lot that isn’t in the book, and it’s boring stuff.

There’s so much going-here-and-going-there to accomplish tasks, you often don’t want to play. Plus, the mini-games based on Gobstones, the marble game, and Exploding Snap, the card game, just don’t inspire a sense of wonder. There’s very little that’s magical here.

The Wii version is almost as much of a disappointment. Like the last game, you’ll make potions, play Quidditch and explore Hogwarts. What makes this game lesser than the other console versions is that the movements you want to make with the Wii remote aren’t always the ones that end up happening on the screen. It’s been years since the Wii was released; shouldn’t you be able to pull off really precise moves by now?

harrypotter2NOW, THE GOOD NEWS

The slightly more thrilling versions of the game are the ones made for Xbox 360 and PS3. The first thing you see is a bunch of quick scenes from the game, which gets you energized. After meeting Hermione and Ron and riding really fast through some hoops and navigating via the left stick, you’re transported far outside Hogwarts.

In a beautiful but somewhat creepy night full of shadows and moonlight, the quirky Luna Lovegood leads you up the road to the school. During the trip, you learn that there are 150 Crests to collect during the game. Also, shimmering and glowing objects such as street lamps contain Mini Crests. Collect enough, and you’ll eventually unlock extra bonuses and shortcuts.

harrypotter3Once inside, you meet Nearly Headless Nick, who’s your helper in case you get stuck during missions or become lost. Early on, you learn how to lift and throw an object with Wingardium Leviosa. You need to do this to collect a Crest that’s high up on an old brick wall. Sometimes Crests are really difficult to get. Exploding cauldrons and dungbombs help when Wingardium Leviosa isn’t enough.

MORE BAD NEWS

You follow Nearly Headless Nick to the Potion room to do some timed mixing of the weird liquids and powders that make spells. While the designers try to make this cool by adding sound effects and vibrant potion colors, mixing things together is just not that interesting.

harrypotter5I also discovered that moving down circular staircases got me dizzy, especially when I ran quickly. If you’re prone to getting motion sickness in a game, try to move slowly and take a break every 15 minutes or so. There’s no need to finish the game in a hurry. In fact, moving more slowly lets you check out the detailed environments that fill the Half-Blood Prince and set the mysterious mood.

While the characters’ faces look pretty close to the real-life actors, their lips don’t look right when they say certain words, especially when the words begin with b, f, m, n and p. I know this sounds like I’m nitpicking, but check it out yourself. It’s pretty distracting.

It also would have been great to have Quidditch and dueling in online modes. But it looks like EA still believes (like many developers) that kids don’t want to play with their pals online.

BUT MORE GOOD NEWS

Yet there are some compelling things. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you unlock shortcuts in the game. And it’s fun to interact with characters. You can even talk to lion statues (if they feature Crests) and get small missions from them called Good Deeds.

harrypotter4One of the most enjoyable things to do is dueling. Once you take on Ron, you’re admitted into the Gryffindor Dueling Club. In these battles, which get harder and harder, you can use Levicorpus to levitate your foe and Petrificus Totalus to freeze your opponent. Basically, the dueling is practice that helps when you eventually take on the crafty Death Eaters.

Overall, diehard fans of the Harry Potter series won’t care about the glitches and lack of new gameplay. But do yourself a favor and rent before you buy, especially when it comes to the handheld versions. You’ll want to make sure you really like it before you make a financial investment in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

85 Comments on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince game review

  1. jinglewhips // October 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm // Reply

    love and beat game

  2. I bet the game and it was easyer then I thout!!!

  3. I really have the game itshelf and I wanted it to be 12 plus big time .

  4. Thank you for nice article.Best regards.

  5. i like it

  6. good but kinda bad graphics

  7. Legend of Zelda mastr // December 4, 2009 at 8:03 pm // Reply

    hey, Jake 500, I think that lego Harry would be kina weird… don’t you think? I mean, HP is full of talking and stuff, so don’t you think it would be kinda empty on lego?

  8. I hope the lego harry potter game comes out soon.

  9. This game was alsome, it was just like the books and movies

  10. this game blew my mind away cant wait till the last two movies come out. I love the series more than any thing else. The reason i loved the game so much is i read th book 52 times and met Jane Katherine Rowling in person!

    • Whoa gabe! you actually met J.K.R. in person?
      thats awesome!
      about the game none of the harry potter games of what I know of
      are completely true to the movie, they always add a lot of extra things that are boring to do

  11. I WANT IT!

  12. I beat the game for DS.Needs better graphics, but it’s okay

  13. I like Harry potter.

  14. Harrypartner6 // October 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm // Reply

    I need help on the lion quest in the transfiguration courtyard. what is quest I don’t remember it? :)

  15. I can`t wait to see HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX!
    You should make more copies.
    I am almost ten,and I am dieing to see it.
    I really love HARRY POTTER!
    THANK YOU!

  16. it so cool

  17. how do you use dueling packs? I can’t find how to work them anywhere! (PC Version)

  18. how do you use dueling packs for the pc version?
    I can’t find how to do them anywhere!

  19. i cant wait tell i get the game of harry potter and the half blood prince the game.

  20. TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

  21. I want this game so bad with the xbox360 I’m hoping to win.
    The game looks so awesome,I think I’ll love it with my ds if I don’t win the xbox360.

  22. Samster the hamster2000 // September 27, 2009 at 9:54 am // Reply

    doesnt sound very fun at all

  23. It is the best because I have all the peaple.

  24. HarryPotter is the best.

  25. I got the game people

  26. I agree Harry Potter is the best fantasy series in the world!

  27. i agree I need to play too!

  28. i watch the movie with my sister who is a harry potter fan and she did not like it I did not either

  29. i love the movie…but it is sad.

  30. i think harry potter is a good game so stop critisizeing it already :mad:

  31. MrsDracoMalfoy // September 4, 2009 at 10:28 pm // Reply

    Oooh!I know how to do the Avifors challenge in HP2 on Gamecube!I so want to get HBP game…Do you know if they have it for Game cube?

  32. legendaryfreak // September 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm // Reply

    yea guess what the fun thing is you get to fight GREYBACK

  33. this game is asome

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