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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. im really intrested in this game because it is cool my friend has this game

  2. Can I please play it:)

  3. it a little nice to me and excitng

  4. I have this game it’s great

  5. i have the computer game and it is good but i cant get past the clock tower shortcut to play quidditch.

  6. felixthegwm // July 31, 2009 at 3:19 am // Reply

    Where do I sign up for a petition to get EA to make Online Dueling? :-D

    MAN I LOVE DUELING!!! LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

    HAHA, i’m probably the only 27-year-old still playing… **blush**

    Just finished the mission based game of HP 5. Gotta collect all the crests though.

    Also wish the duels would last longer, and wish the in-game duels (Crabb, Goyle, Death Eaters) would be re-playable/accessible under “Clubs > Duels”

  7. monkeyboy10 // July 30, 2009 at 7:10 pm // Reply

    i have the goblet of fire game. just avoid voldemort and attack when he’s vulnerable. kill all his minions too.

  8. I have only played the 2nd and 4th Harry Potter games through, and I believe they were fine games. The second had an adventure-ish feel, even though it is immensly outdated, which is more than I can say for the Goblet of Fire. Both I played on the gamecube, even though their release dates were far between. I believe the Goblet of Fire had much better quality, graphics and gameplay combined. However, it feels really tight and controlled, and I wish you could explore places and find your missions like it seems you can do in the 6th, according to this review, and that you could do in the older, and outdated, 2nd. The 4th really became monotonus, while you collected all the triwizard cups, in every level, searching again and again, and only was broken by the exhilerating first triwizard task, and the different, but still monotonous, 2nd task.

    (Also, in response to swimmer21’s question, I believe you jinx all the skeletons, and then Voldemort will throw a statue at you. Eventually, it will become stuck in the mud. Move the energy ball over to the statue, rinse, and repeat.)

    This game is truly better than its predesessors, as seen in the review, as must be expected, but I agree, renting should be used before the final financial decision is made. Especially if buying on the Wii, or Nintendo DS, because while they are good consoles, the controls suffer occasionally and may kill good gameplay. I doubt I shall buy this game, because I unfortionately do not have any of the spectacular consoles that deserved good ratings from you on this particular game. Oh well.

  9. its cool

  10. is there duelig for DS?

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