Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (2010) [Xbox 360/PS3]

As a big fan of the Harry Potter series I was excited to play the first instalment in the Lego Harry Potter series. The game focuses on the stories of the first four films and allows the player to explore many areas of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and more. The game also allows players to visit legendary places such as Hogsmeade and The Forbidden Forrest.

Each film is split into 6 levels which is an understandable number considering the game covers four films but I felt that it covered the narratives rather briskly. Yes, the game featured the critical points of each story but many moments that would be called critical by fans were left out. It is a similar feeling to those that felt a lot of key moments weren’t present in the films. However, the game did manage to feature extra parts of the story through cutscenes, which as usual were brilliantly imaginative and were made comical by with lego related twists.

Like other Lego games, the player was rewarded for paying close attention to props and puzzles dotted throughout the levels and free-roaming areas. However, by selecting the “wingardium leviosa” spell which most characters you play as have mastered, these props are highlighted when stood near them; which made it a little too easy. Despite this, completing the game isn’t a walk in the park. It’s puzzles and challenges produce many problems that the player has to remember what skills they have learned in order to overcome them. In some instances using the correct characters at the right times is needed to progress onto the next stage. This is one element about the game I was very impressed and surprised with. It provided a challenge for people of all ages and as an adult, I found myself scratching my head more than once! This will definitely be one of my favourite games I’ll play this month.

Another feature I liked was the fact that you could play co-operative multiplayer and this was great news for my girlfriend who isn’t much of a gamer. It meant that we could enjoy the game together and at the same pace despite our differing experience levels. However, when playing multiplayer we discovered a few flaws, the first of which being glitches. Personally we only encountered one major glitch that forced us to restart the level but after reading forums it became apparent that there are a few and they seem to arise whenever they please; making them impossible to avoid. Other problems we came across were mainly achievement orientated. Such as on multiplayer the available achievements are quite limited and they won’t always unlock for player 2! I found this pretty unacceptable as you’d think after five years they would have fixed these problems.

Saying this, the game offers many incentives to go back and play through again by using collectables and creating areas that can only be accessed with certain characters in free-play mode. There are also 167 playable characters which all have to be unlocked before they can be purchased. So players may go back and play through again to collect more studs or find the rest of the characters, gold bricks or house crest pieces.

Overall, this game provided hours of entertainment and thrills through puzzle-solving and action-packed duals. A must-buy for any Harry Potter fan!

Rating: 3.7/5

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