After nearly 15 years of books, films, games and more wizardy merchandise than you can shake a magic wand at, the Hogwarts Express (or should that be money train?) has finally reached the end of the line.
It’s the final part of Harry Potter, and to partner the film we have for you the PS3 game of the same name from Electronic Arts. Unsurprisingly, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 the game picks up the story where the first Deathly Hallows movie left off, with big villain Lord Voldemort completing his ascension to power and Harry and friends searching for the horcruxes (keys) to stop him. As you would expect, the game follows the film’s interpretation of the second half of the final book pretty closely, and although I’m nowhere near the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan, perhaps the best thing that can be said for Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is that it did inspire me to dig further into the HP series than I’d ever done before.
The game begins in standard fashion by teaching you the basics of movement and spellcasting. The combat is actually very simple but complex at the same time. The first spell you learn is Stupefy, which is a common ball of light that’s easily accessed by pressing the square button, then R1. As you progress the different spells you learn include Expulso (rapid fire attack) and Expelliarimus (breaks shields) as well as a shield spell called Protego that can be called on by pressing and holding L2. It’s not long before you learn that Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has something of a Gears of War style to it’s gameplay, with its main aspect being to run, hide and then use cover as you cast various spells against the hordes of Voldemort’s minions.
This was by far the most disappointing thing about Deathly Hallows gameplay-wise It was highly repetitive to continually have to walk into the stages and just kill wizard after wizard. There are also no puzzles in the game, which is surprising as the previous games had them, and while the The movements of the slightly jittery characters movements were somewhat annoying, the automatic aiming is a big help, especially when you have multiple targets to choose from. For a spot of variety, the game also gives you the chance to play as different characters, ranging from Ron to Hermione and the other fringe characters.
I have to say that the graphics in Deathly Hallows: Part 2 are not the greatest. Characters sometimes seem a bit square-faced and their likeness to their movie personas are always as exact as they should be. The backdrops and scenery are well done though, and the lighting effects add to the mood of the game. As you play you progress from caves to Hogwarts to libraries to a forest and then back to Hogwarts, and it was easy to see that the programmers had gone to a lot of trouble to try and capture the different emotions that releated to each of the varied environments.
This emotive feel is also evident the game’s music. When you are in battle, the music adds to the excitement and makes you sit up in your chair to search for the enemies, and the changing tunes help give each different area it’s own identity. I especially liked the subtle notes and ambient sounds that play in the woods. The character voices are done by the real actors (of course) and they seem passionate and dead on, although the lip movements sometimes didn’t match the words being said.
If you’re a big multiplayer fan, then Deathly Hallows: Part 2 probably won’t be the game for you, as it’s a single player only experience. To provide it with some extra longevity, the game does include balls of light and magic triangles to collect which unlock challenges – where you play parts of the game again trying to score as many points as possible to compete against others on PSN – as well as music tracks that you can listen to and characters you can view (both allay and enemies). These are just trivial extras however, and add little to the replay value. There’s no real point in collecting these objects, unless you are a massive Harry fan, and the lack of multiplayer really kills this game as I know many fans would love to go online and play as their favorite characters in a frag-fest.
Overall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a decent enough game. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would, despite the fact that it is awfully repetative. The story is dead on, as you would expect, and while the graphics could never be called cutting edge, the music and sound are well done and you do feel the characters come to life. The lack of replay value doesn’t help, but looking back, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 does neatly encapulate how the Harry Potter video games, much like the young wizard himself, have had more than fair share of ups and downs along the way.
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