LEGO Harry Potter - Cheat Happens Game Review
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LEGO Harry Potter
PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Rated: "E10+" for Everyone 10+



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

I often wonder what my generation will leave behind for the next. What our legacy will be. Oh, I’m not waxing philosophical on world leaders or global issues, I’m thinking about pop culture. What movies, TV shows and games will my kids discover from my childhood and find them just as fresh, relevant and engaging? Then it came to me -- the Harry Potter series. The movies, based off the books by JK Rowling are filled with the same wonder and spectacle that made me fall in love with Star Wars the first time my parents showed it to me. Hey, it beats them growing up revering Twilight.

It’s that sense of wonder that makes Lego Harry Potter (1-4) such a great title. While the series magic may have been missing from the last two Lego games, it’s definitely back in full force here, and if you’re a fan of the young Wizard, you’re bound to love this funny and charming retelling of his first few years. And with a ton of hidden bonus content to discover, you won’t be putting the game down anytime soon.

If you’ve played any of the Lego games pre Lego Batman and Lego Indiana Jones II, you probably know what to expect here. The first four Harry Potter films (those who have both read the books and seen the movies will notice that the folks at Traveler’s Tales have chosen to take the side of the movies if a discrepancy arises) are retold all in Lego.  The result is witty and often hilarious, but you’ll obviously have a much better time with the game if you’re a fan of the source material.  The game takes a few creative liberties with the stories in the name of comedic effect, but most of these instances aren’t too big of discrepancies and are done in the form of in-jokes that fans will surely love.

"...being able to cast spells dramatically changes the way you’ll play through the game."

 
   

Throughout much of Lego Harry Potter, you’ll wander throughout Hogwarts and the surrounding areas breaking whatever you can in between the game’s platforming and action sequences as you’d expect, but this game brings something new to the table, the ability to cast spells. It may not sound like much, but being able to cast spells dramatically changes the way you’ll play through the game. In previous titles, the goal was to find solutions to puzzles through adventuring and platforming, here though – you’ll have to have the right spell equipped. Take the original Lego Indiana Jones for instance, if you came across a blocked entrance, you’d either have to find an alternate way in, or a way to smash whatever was blocking your path. Here though, you’ll cycle through your spells and find the best one to clear the debris. Truthfully, you’ll use the spell system in most of the game’s action sequences (including one with he who shall not be named). It’s an entertaining and welcome twist, especially for those who have played the Lego games before and are looking for something new.

In between missions, you can hit up Diagon Alley to unlock more characters, go treasure hunting or simply break stuff for fun.  Like the previous Lego games, there’s a plethora of extra content and hidden goodies to discover if you’re willing to look for them. While you’ll find some of them when playing through the game’s story modes, most can be found in the game’s free-roam sessions, and they’re found much easier when you’ve got a second player to help you. While there’s still no online co-op (seriously?), a second player can drop in and out at any time. This could be the ultimate genius of the Lego games series, while the controls are challenging enough for adults to enjoy, they’re also accessible enough for children, meaning anyone can play.

"...the targeting system in Lego Harry Potter is spotty at best."

 
   

The controls though, as adaptable as they are, are also part of the game’s biggest downfalls. Much like the other Lego games before it, the targeting system in Lego Harry Potter is spotty at best. While you’ll often try to aim at your preferred target, the game often decides that it’s not in your best interest and switches your target causing you to take on a lot more damage than you should. The targeting system becomes much simpler when you’re using a traditional controller, so PC owners would be best served to plug one in before playing.

There’s also an issue with the camera system. If you’re going to do a platformer, you’d damn well better have a camera that can show me where I’m going to jump, but that doesn’t seem to be a priority here in Lego Harry Potter. You’ll often be attempting a complex series of jumps only to have the camera swing wildly to a very obnoxious position, causing you of course, to fall to your untimely doom. Again, it’s a problem that’s plagued the Lego series since its inception; it’s just a shame that the developers haven’t addressed it yet.

One thing you will notice playing through Lego Harry Potter is the fact that this is clearly the most visually pleasing Lego game to date.  The environments are stunningly detailed, and as usual the character animations are just as silly as you’d expect.  Though I did notice a few hiccups in some of the cut scenes, most everything runs rather smoothly. I was most impressed though by the animations for the spells.

Lego Harry Potter is easily the best Lego game to date. Though it suffers from the same faults as the past games in the series, it also takes the best parts of those titles and tweaks them to make it its own. It’s both accessible yet deep, and everyone should be able to find something they love in the title, especially if you’re a fan of the source material. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Add Studs, Super Health, Super Jump

I understand that some of you may be opposed to cheating in games like Lego Harry Potter, if that’s the case, just think of the trainer from Cheat Happens as one big spell. See, its tons easier isn’t it?

The trainer is filled with exactly what you’d expect from a Lego game including add studs, super health and super jump. I have to admit though, I was a bit disappointed to see that there was no cheat…ahem…I mean spell to unlock all the spells in the game for use. It would make finding some of the game’s hidden objects so much easier early in the game.

 

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