Newest Games Release

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review

Movie games are an interesting breed this season. On one hand you have Up, the charming action/adventure with three of the most likable characters in theaters right now. But once you reach the half-way point, the game is a repetitive mess with no substance.

Then there’s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, a stellar family-friendly adventure that lacks the charm of Up but offers superior gameplay substance – and as a result, superior replay value. From a character development standpoint, we have a clear winner. But which one would you rather play?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince falls somewhere in between those games, offering characters and gameplay elements that will draw you in – and others that will turn you off. The lifelike character designs are superb; the only thing that hurts them is their facial expressions, which I doubt anyone expected to be good anyway. (Excluding MGS and Mass Effect, bad facial expressions are insanely common these days.) This helps you care for the cast, even though the voice acting is a little weak. Even better, the music – which you’ll hear more than character dialogue – is joyous and boisterous without being too bombastic.

These features make it easy to like the Half-Blood Prince as a connected moviegoer. The gameplay is where things get a little tricky because everything it provides is potentially entertaining. So what’s the problem, then? Every feature you’re about to discover is spoon-fed to the player. While not quite a cakewalk, the game is without any significant challenges; the only time you could possibly be stumped is when trying to figure out where to go next. Potter’s world is fairly large this time around, and there’s no way you’ll remember every location. Thus, the developers included a handy – and very necessary – level guide in the form of Nearly Headless Nick.

Part of me can’t complain about Nearly Headless Nick because the game would be torture without him. But by creating a game like this, one that needs a level guide, the Half-Blood Prince is quickly watered down with go here, go there escapades. Players will backtrack more times than they can count – and no, having a guide doesn’t make that experience any less repetitive. It merely makes it more tolerable, because without the guide you would be completely lost.

Some of you may be quick to point out that there have been plenty of great games that made backtracking acceptable. I agree. But in this game, you’re going to endure an awful lot of it just to fight with magic, produce a bunch of potions, and participate in numerous Quidditch events.

Just Like Magic

The Half-Blood Prince isn’t like most adventure games, which introduce new enemies by the caseload. Instead, you’ll fight them only when the story corresponds with a battle. Side characters will test Potter’s skills every now and then, and he can join the Dueling Club for additional battles. You’ll probably want to, since this is by far the most exciting part of the game.

Battles consist of two characters, two life meters and as many spells as they can cast. Most of the spells are easy to perform and require nothing more than a push of the right thumbstick. For some spells, such as Expelliarmus, both sticks are used (push them outward simultaneously). Only a half-dozen spells are offered, but you can use them to stun, knock down and levitate your opponents, all the while inflicting damage that will slowly eat away at their life meters. Most enemy attacks can be dodged with ease, but if that’s not good enough, Protego gives you the ability to deflect a spell.

Airborne Harry

You can’t play a game of Quidditch without hopping on a broom and leaping into the air. So when Potter decides it’s time to compete, he’ll do just that. Meanwhile, the player will be responsible for maneuvering Potter through a series of star-shaped rings that appear in the level. These stars give you extra time, which is noted on screen by the color of the next star you encounter (if it’s red, you’re nearly out of time).

While cool at first, this mini-game isn’t much more than a glorified and graphically rich arcade flight sim – a really primitive one where the only goal is to keep moving. Assuming you last till the end, the Golden Snitch will be acquired automatically.

Let’s Make a Potion

Harry Potter meets Cooking Mama? Not quite. In this frequent mini-game, players must take a whole bunch of weird ingredients (bugs, poison, various liquids, etc.), drop them in a caldron and heat or stir until the color changes. Heating requires a few pumps from the right thumbstick (push it up and down until it reaches the desired color); stirring requires a few spins (turn it counter-clockwise). Each potion-making session is timed, which can make it a little more challenging than, say, dodging a poorly thrown blast of magic. But it doesn’t take long before this becomes repetitive.

New ingredients are constantly being added to try and expand the variety, but that only makes the process take longer (more ingredients means longer potions). The game also expands on what you have to do to complete the potion. In the beginning you won’t have to shake (push the thumbstick up and down) an ingredient before adding it; after a while, however, certain potions will require that you do so.

Still, it isn’t enough. Potion-making might – a big might – appeal to young girls, but that seems to conflict with the rest of the game. It’s not anti-girl or anything, but it doesn’t feel like a game that women of any age will flock to.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince isn’t a horrible game by any means, but its gameplay doesn’t extend past two mini-games and a bunch of spell-based battles. Diehard Harry Potter fans will like it but they probably won’t love it. Rent it for certain – and definitely play it before making a purchase.
Review Scoring Details for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Gameplay: 6.6
Each game type (flying, battling and making potions) is decent at first. One of them – battling – stays entertaining. Not monumentally addictive, but good enough to keep you playing. The other two, however, are much too easy and much too repetitive.

Graphics: 8
Potter's world looks good, but the character designs are the best part. Just be sure and brace yourself for when they open their mouths. The effect isn't pretty.

Sound: 8.3
Ignore the voice acting and embrace the score. Wait, who am I kidding? I don't have to tell you that. You're going to love this music no matter what.

Difficulty: Easy
There were moments when I stepped out of my room, stood in the hallway and peeked over at the TV in another room – all the while playing the Half-Blood Prince successfully.

Concept: 6.8
Harry Potter games need more than Quidditch flying, magic battles and potion development.

Multiplayer: 5
Club Dueling for two, which is fun for about 20 minutes.

Overall: 6.9
Before playing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, you should first be a huge Harry Potter fan. Second, you should have a high tolerance for backtracking and mini-game repetition. Third, you must be able to enjoy a game that isn't challenging (some players just can't do that). There are tons of trivial, easily-awarded trophies and a bunch of other collectible extras that should appeal to a certain crowd. But for most, this game won't outlast the lifespan of a rental.

Artikel Terkait

By Djenggot with 0 comments


Leave a Reply