It’s time to make potions, wand waving and even play a round of Quidditch in the latest Harry Potter game, so does this adaption to the series make things any better?
Following the movies tradition, you start off choosing your wand (well the wand chooses you) and then you head off to Hogwarts. Once arrived at this magical place you then go through the sorting hat process where it will choose the house to put you in or you can call out the name of the house yourself. With the power of Kinect you can also put yourself into the game with the camera taking a picture of your face and putting it onto a character, even Voldemort looks better on a good day. Now there are two ways to play the game, you can play the game in “movie mode” so you play as Harry Potter or you can play in “custom mode” so you play as your Xbox 360 avatar. The game works through the book series, so you start year one as a newly discovered wizard and work your way through each level.
In each level there are different games or mini tasks to complete, which only lasts for a maximum of three minutes. At the end of each level you will be scored on how you did and then have a personal best and upload on a local board. The small mini games consist of casting spells, making potions, spell duels and even a Quidditch match. The more games you play then more levels and specials matches you unlock. If you think you get to stroll around the grounds of Hogwarts then that’s been completely removed; it feels as though the game atmosphere has been stripped away and just leaves you departed from the magical world.
You are treated to tiny movie segments or still images to set the scene, and then jump into the action. Sadly the repertoire of moves is very limited and shows off some really basic design. Once the story mode ends, players can explore a series of bonus games in the Extra Classes menu, where they can mix more potions, cast more spells, engage in more duels, and play together with friends in a handful of multiplayer mini-games.
The main characters in the game are not voiced by their counterparts from the films; they sound rather dull and feel as though they were cloned in some way. Younger children will most like this game but for other fans of the series, then don’t get your hopes up. The decent Harry Potter game that utilised the Kinect was Deathly Hallows part 1, this game does not even come close which is a real shame. There can be the occasional difficulty spikes for some of the levels and this can get frustrating especially for children, if you have a short attention span then this game may suit you. Once you understand the controls everything starts to get repetitive in no time, each year at Hogwarts consist of three or four mini games on rails and that’s all there is.
Warner Brothers really let this series die out and let things slip; if the game had some exploration added to it then this game would be better and more suitable for all gamers but just feels bland and only children seem to be the target audience. There is not much replay value to the game and it is rather short for a retail game; Harry Potter for Kinect should have been an arcade game at most; there is no online play to this game, although you can do local multiplayer with the spell duels.
The soundtrack is what you’d expect from a Harry Potter title, in that it utilises the music from the films. The graphics are not all bad and is what you would expect from a Kinect title; the character design feels like something you see in Madame Tussauds they have a waxed look to them. If you like bobbing and jumping up and down like a looney, then this game will be best for you.
The Harry Potter series has had its fair share of the spot light with the films and the books but for the games then that is something else. If you want to get this game in the shops then it would be best to wait for it to go on sale in the bargain bin. Once at the end of this game, you feel like a muggle more than a wizard and going to Hogwarts was a waste of time.