LEGO Harry Potter - Years 1-4


posted 7/28/2010 by Jeremy Duff
other articles by Jeremy Duff
One Page Platforms: 360
If you happen to be playing alone though, you can rest assured that TT has greatly improved the AI of the computer controlled characters in LEGO Harry Potter. Many of the puzzles that you will encounter throughout the game require the cooperation of 2 or more of your characters; while this is easier to perform with a real life partner, the computer controlled characters more than adequately perform their duties this time around. In the previous LEGO games, this has been noted as a major hindrance as the computer never seemed to perform the functions or actions that you needed them to do; this time around though, they are usually rather productive and right there when and where you need them.

Unfortunately though, the one aspect of the game that TT has not addressed is the aging save system used in the game. Your game(s) is only saved upon the completion of a major event. Gamers have no means of simply selecting the option to save their progress at any given time. Considering that this is a game where you will spend a lot of time simply roaming around and collecting bits, it is often hard to quickly save your progress and time / progression is often lost. More than one occasion has occurred where I resumed my game only to find that I had lost some gameplay time since I quit playing. While this doesn’t affect things such as the acquisition of new characters of spells, as the game autosaves on those events, periods of time that I spent simply collecting funds to buy new items were simply wiped away. This was definitely disheartening and extremely annoying, but never really served to ruin the experience for me overall.

Another great move TT has made with LEGO Harry Potter is to the physical combat system. Most of the previous LEGO themed games had heavy focus on physical combat sequences with enemies; LEGO Harry Potter ditches that in favor of focusing largely on the magic used by Harry and his friends. You won’t be punching and kicking your way through this adventure; instead, you will be waving your magical wand to manipulate the environment and those within it. The few times in the game where combat is required utilize your assortment of spells in order to inflict damage on the enemies. Most of the time, you will simply be launching items at the bad guys or even reflecting their spells.

Speaking of spells, as you progress through your story, you will learn and acquire new spells which can all be accessed through a selection wheel triggered by pressing and holding the Y button; conversely you can progress through them all by pressing either of the bumpers on the controller. The list of spells that you can acquire is quite extensive, though only 8 can be assigned to a character at any given time. You will be using Wingardium Leviosa to lift and move people and objects, Lumos to light your way, and Solem variations to handle plants and vines you will encounter from a distance. In addition to spells, your selection wheel can also be equipped with magical items such as Harry’s invisibility cloak and various characters’ magical pets. All of these tools, spells, items, and animals alike, will be necessary in order to explore everything that Hogwarts has to offer.

All of these features are simply tools for you to use on your massive adventure and the term massive is probably a little bit of an understatement. There is a ton to do in this game. Aside from the story progression, which will last from 8-12 hours (give or take), the addition of collectible golden and red bricks, 160-ish unlockable characters, “students in perils” to assist and unlock, and a wide variety of puzzles make for a very long gameplay experience for those willing to put in the time.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.

Lego Harry Potter is a massive blast from start to finish... and I mean that in every sense possible. Not only is the game a lot of fun but there is a ton to do which will keep you, and hopefully a friend, coming back again and again. Traveler’s Tales Games has done an incredible job of not only recreating Hogwart's and the world around it but at injecting the player(s) into that world as well. Although the diehard Harry Potter fans will get more out of the game than others, there is quality fun to be had here by all.

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