Becoming a Real-Life Wizard: Our Review of the “LEGO Harry Potter Collection”
If you want to immerse yourself in the magical world without going all the way to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, look no further than the LEGO Harry Potter Collection for the PS4. Enhanced visuals, ten new playable characters, and five new spells enrich a game already oozing with tidbits from J.K. Rowling’s magical world. We’d like to thank LEGO for providing us with a copy of the game for review, and without further ado, here are our thoughts!
The Collection combines both of the original Harry Potter LEGO games (LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7) into a single disc. The graphics were pretty good in the original games, but they’re a little smoother in the Collection; the difference is much more apparent in Years 1-4, which came out earlier than Years 5-7.
I was delighted to find that as I cycled through spells, the light bar on the PS4 changed depending on the color of the spell I had equipped. While the light bar obviously doesn’t light up the whole room, it was a nice touch that let me feel just a little more immersed in Harry’s world. The game had a few mechanical issues; the automatic spell targeting didn’t always work, and there were a number of small glitches, but overall, it ran very smoothly.
Anyone who played the original games will find no surprises in the cut scenes. Years 1-4 and 5-7 came out before TT Games started incorporating dialogue into their games, but no words are necessary to communicate the story thanks to the over-the-top gestures and silly sounds employed by the various LEGO versions of our favorite magical characters.
My favorite instance of this was definitely the “Troll in the Dungeon” cutscene when one of the panicking students shakes his friend and slaps him across the face. The many tragic deaths throughout the series, so difficult to relive in book or movie form, are much easier to sit through with this kind of silliness, as when a certain godfather loses his pants on his way beyond the veil, and Lupin has to give them back when Harry isn’t looking.
Playing through the story on its own was a lot of fun, but it didn’t take a very long time; it’s going back through the games and collecting everything that really makes this game so enjoyable. My quest for 100% was quite an epic endeavor. Across both games, there are 400 gold bricks, 40 red bricks, 110 students in peril, 192 Hogwarts crest pieces, 37 spells, and 367 characters to collect – totaling 1,146 collectibles.
Collecting everything the game has to offer is my favorite part of the Collection. You’re forced to explore every nook and cranny of the Hogwarts grounds, and Years 5-7 lets you explore a lot more than that! This game really immerses you in the magical world in a way the books and movies simply can’t; you get to navigate the wizarding world, make decisions about which spells to use, and blast everything in your path to smithereens in order to find the solution to your magical problems. With the soundtracks playing in the background, it really feels like you’re running around Hogwarts.
Overall, my experience playing the Collection surpassed my time with the original games. The new spells and characters made playing the game twice as fun; I loved dueling Voldemort as Salazar Slytherin, terrorizing Hogwarts students as Peeves, and turning strangers walking along Diagon Alley into ducks. I would recommend it to Harry Potter fans young and old, gamers and non-gamers, anyone looking to immerse themselves in the wizarding world from the comfort of their living room.