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Hands On: LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7

November 7, 2011, Author: Diogo Miguel

The Harry Potter books have been out for a few years but the final film has only been released this year. At some point in the last few years some genius at Traveller’s Tales thought of putting LEGO and the Harry Potter world into one game. The result is another superb interaction in the world of LEGO games

The first Harry Potter game focused on Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts throughout years one to four. This second game focuses on year five to seven, which are the darkest moments in the adventures of Harry Potter.

The demo section I played takes place during the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Harry and Hermione have just arrived to his birthplace town Godric’s Hollow. The duo are looking for a specific grave and it’s up to players to go and search each one to check if it carries the symbol that they are looking for.

This is a LEGO game, so it’s not as straightforward as it seems. Each grave requires a different power to check if it is the right one. This game offers a few new spells to use to deal with all the new types of obstacles. One of the new spells that stands out is the stream of water spell, aguamenti, which either extinguishes fires or fills up objects. It’s definitely not a new format in the LEGO games but it works, due to the fact that there’s a different way to solve the puzzle for each gravestone.

As usual, each of the spells has a specific functionality when it comes to using them. Lumos for example will scare away certain types of plants. The spells seem much more responsive when compared to the ones in the previous game, and it’s easy to swap between them too, by either pressing the triggers or bringing up the spell circle. Each of the spells is clearly marked with a distinct colour and an icon, but sometimes it’s not clear what each of them does, but on-screen tool tips will point out which spell to use to progress.

Now where did Harry leave that quilt...

Now, it’s not a LEGO game without all the addictive collectibles found in each level. As usual, there are studs scattered all over and some of them are hidden. Firing stronger spells will make it possible to get all the studs when aiming for a perfect score. There are other collectibles found throughout too, such as fellow Hogwarts students that need rescuing. It’s always been one of the strong features in LEGO games and it’s the same in this one.

There are sections of the level which require the ability to play through in free-play with extra characters. Free-play mode gets unlocked after completing a level and makes it possible to find all the new areas to explore. It’s a nice way to make sure that the game lasts for longer without making it seem like a chore.

You know the drill, each of the characters has a role to play in the level played. For example, it’s only possible to check the grave stone symbol with Hermione. This is a clear reference to the fact that Hermione is well-known for being a source of knowledge. Other individual character traits include Hermione’s ability to use her cat Crookshanks to dig up items. It’s these details that makes each character unique and worth playing around with.

The next section of the demo took place shortly after Harry and Hermione got attacked by Voldemort’s serpent pet Nagini. Both characters worked together in pushing back the oversized serpent by hitting it with objects scattered around. It’s even possible to throw a birthday cake, one that lands right on top of Nagini’s head. It’s probably worth getting the game just to see what a serpent looks like with a birthday cake splattered on its head.

It’s an interesting boss battle that left me wondering how other major battles get recreated in the new game. I was playing this with another person at the event and there wasn’t a single moment where playing with someone made for an inferior experience. It’s one of those games that’s perfect for co-op, given that each player can do the specific skills required by both characters to beat the level.

Visually the game is similar to the previous LEGO Harry potter game but it obviously includes familiar props from Harry’s adventures throughout the fifth to seventh books. There are also no differences between the cut-scenes in this game and the previous one; characters don’t speak but the mumbling and humming that represents the speech adds to the charm of the game.

The photo-shoot is going well.

It’s not like there are any radical changes in LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 from the last game, or in any LEGO game, for that matter. However, by including new spells and locations from the last three years in Harry’s adventures, it more than makes it worth the trip back to the magical world conceived by J.K. Rowling. The last mainstream Harry Potter game didn’t get well received, but it looks like Harry might retire from his stint in the world of video-games with fond memories thanks to Traveller’s Tales.

The game hits shelves November 18th.