Platforms: PS3, XBox 360, Wii
Watch the Trailer
Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 follows Years 1-4 and is part of the generally successful Lego series. For me the Lego series has veered wildly in quality, peeking with the Empire Strikes Back and plummeting with the Star Wars prequels, and truth be told I was never a Harry Potter fan so I went into this not knowing what to expect.
Story wise there isn't one. No-one actually speaks and without someone nearby who has an impressive knowledge of the series you will not have any idea of what's happening. Even with help from people who have read every book several times I was frequently lost. I still couldn't tell you what this game is about. Now this won't be a problem for fans of the series but don't expect any help.
Graphics are solid, Lego lends itself to cutesy overblown proportions and the game exploits that. The enviornments are surprisingly deep so rather than just ploughing through a screen it can be worth having a poke around just to see what's there.
Gameplay is basically good, controls are well laid out and intuitive. There is a lot of fun little items that you can exploit for some sideline entertainment, at one point I found a wheelchair I could knock people over with and had to be gently reminded I'd spent 20 minutes driving into people just for fun. Theres fellow students to free, suits of armour to shake and basically anything in the stage can be smacked for some more Lego blocks.
The gameplay itself though falls into the same trap a lot of other Lego games have. Each level is a puzzle, but some levels have no clear solution so you're left running around the level basically hitting everything off everything else to make something happen. Somethings are well laid out, you need to pull the lever, to open the box, to get the block, to finish the lock, to open the gate to proceed in the stage. But if something escapes your notice, or is half-hidden, or is unusable until you've solved some other mini-puzzle, then settle in for a half-hour of tedious and frustrating gameplay.
Lego: Harry Potter was never going to be a game anyone could enjoy. For the non-fan it's ok, the ability to push buttons just to see if something happens and explore the screens does a lot to outweigh having no idea what's going on. For the fan actually knowing who lego figure #73632 is and the significance of that frown just adds to it. Taken on it's own it's a fun little 3D platformer.
Rent or Buy: Buy
Reviewed by: Tony O'Hare