by Adam Wall
With a new movie installment of your favorite boy wizard comes another video game to keep gamers reliving the movie. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince the video game was designed from the ground up for the Nintendo Wii. So how does the game rate?
When I got the game home I dove right in. I didn’t open the booklet or review the controls; just popped the disc in and started a new game. There isn’t much too it and the learning curve is quite shallow. As well, there doesn’t seem to be any way to change the difficulty settings. So, everyone plays the same difficulty level and that’s that. I finished the story mode in around 7 hours overall. That is to say that if you have a free Saturday and the determination to avoid sunlight and fresh air, this is easily a one day game. Of course, there are extras and if you want to unlock everything and all the mini games and such, you’ll probably log another 24 hours of game time, but overall, you’re not looking at a huge investment of time in a game that you’ll probably only play through once and never come back to.
The game play is fairly smooth as you control Harry Potter through a third-person viewpoint. The map of Hogwarts is extensive and covers everything from the main gate to the boathouse to the owlery to Hagrid’s hut and of course the main castle. The graphics aren’t superb but they get the job done and I certainly didn’t find them distracting. The game can basically be boiled down to the story with lots of cut scenes that cover the basic plotline of book 6 using the scenes from the 6th movie as the visual base. Mixed in on top of that you’ll find three mini-games/tasks; among them, making potions, dueling, and Quidditch. Potions consists of manipulating the controls to add and mix ingredients within a time limit. Dueling consists of learning and using about six different spells. And Quidditch consists of the age old flying through rings mini game with a time limit. None of them were particularly difficult and I managed to achieve top scores (which are based around a 1-5 star rating system) on most of my first or second tries.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan and you enjoy competing against yourself to better your score until you unlock awards and high scores you’ll enjoy this game on the first run through. If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, you’ll probably get frustrated with some lengthy cut scenes that you can’t speed through or bypass and be bored with the game fairly quickly. There is a multiplayer duel mode but nothing about dueling in the game leads me to believe that it would be anything I would want to do with my friends more than a couple of times before realizing that essentially it’s a button mashing operation that would see a lot of arms flailing Wii remotes around. There’s nothing about the game that is particularly technically difficult, but I would think it would play well in the 8- to 14-year-old demographic where coordination (or lack thereof) would make the game a bit more of a challenge.
For the target demographic I mentioned above, I rate this game a B, but I’d probably wait until it dropped out of the $50 price range unless I or my kids were absolutely bonkers about Harry Potter paraphernalia.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is rated E for Everyone and available now. A copy of this game was provided by EA for the purpose of this review.
Married Gamers Report Card: B