Review of “LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5–7”
The crew over at TT Games and game director Arthur Parsons bring a touch to the Harry Potter series that previously hasn’t been seen on gaming consoles. It is evident that there are true Potter fans behind the scenes of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5–7. Yes, the LEGO games follow the movie story line closely, but they also pull things from the books that fans of the series can and will appreciate.
The biggest difference is the playability of almost every character in the series. The game opens in Little Whinging on a rain-soaked playground. You will need to use both Harry and Dudley to navigate the level before coming face-to-face with several Dementors.
A few minutes later, you’re flying over London and arriving outside number twelve, Grimmauld Place. And it is here you really begin to see what makes the LEGO games different. Instead of being just a series of cutscenes, you’re presented with a creative challenge: Your entire advance guard collides just before arrival. You must use Harry and Kingsley Shacklebolt to rescue the other guard members, including Mad-Eye Moody, who has become stuck in a fountain.
After freeing him, you next have to locate his missing staff. And notice the detail: If you leave Mad-Eye idle for long periods of time, you’ll see he will take a swig out of his hidden hip flask. He also walks with a noticeable limp.
Humor has become a staple of all the LEGO games, and this one is no exception, from Mr. Weasley planting one on Harry’s cheek just before his trial to Cornelius Fudge pulling his bowler hat down over his head when Dumbledore tells him Voldemort has returned. Ron, who now has Pigwidgeon in place of Scabbers, flies around with a crash helmet.
Fans will enjoy LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5–7 because it not only allows them to roam around places like the Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, and Hogwarts but also gives them the opportunity to participate in the scenes they would want to while reading the books, whether you’re putting the Black family tapestry back together with Sirius, playing with the young Marauders in Snape’s memories, assembling everyone inside the Hog’s Head for the first meeting of Dumbledore’s Army, dueling inside the Room of Requirement with Fred and George, or befriending Grawp in the Forbidden Forest.
Gamers are tasked with finding the missing pieces of the House crest in each level, freeing “students in peril,” unlocking hidden characters, collecting golden LEGO bricks, and pocketing enough coins to become a true wizard.
Once unlocked, you can buy characters in Madam Malkin’s to use in free play mode. So if you ever wanted to play the entire game as Argus Filch, Kreacher, or Professor Trelawney, here’s your chance! The upstairs area in Madam Malkin’s also allows you to create your own character. The Leaky Cauldron remains your home base: You can cycle through any previously completed level for free play mode and check on the status of several items you have collected.
Your spells are very limited… until you decide you’ve had enough of Dolores Umbridge. Then your arsenal expands to include the Levitation Charm, the Invisibility Cloak, the Wand-Lighting Charm, and the Patronus Charm. You’ll have to head over to Charms class with Professor Flitwick to unlock the Severing Charm, the Reductor Curse, and the Water-Making Spell. Additionally, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is your home for buying additional, and in most cases much more humorous, spells.
This review has been mainly limited to Year 5, but suffice it to say, there are plenty more surprises, cool tasks, and levels to come! And it’s very likely gamers will have a few sleepless nights of their own (in a good way) as they pore over everything that LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5–7 has to offer.
We highly recommend this game to fans of the Harry Potter series. It is a game made for fans by fans, and it is abundantly evident how much time and dedication went into its development.