Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows Pt1 Review

deathlyhallowsgame1

Gears of Wands?

Another Potter movie means another video game and for me, The Harry Potter games have been thoroughly enjoyable. The ability to explore Hogwarts was the main highlight to all of the games. But what if Hogwarts was to be removed from the game completely? Removing Hogwarts was necessary for this latest instalment but it has done it no favours at all. What EA Bright Light Studio has done is follow Deathly Hallows narrative very closely and added in a few missions in-between to string out the length of the game. The result? Exceptionally poor!

As a massive fan of both the films and the previous games, Deathly Hallows feels like a dirty and rushed product which brands 95% of all movie tie-in games. I never ever counted the Harry Potter series into this category but unfortunately I am resigned to now adding it into the sin bin. When we went to the preview event at Epping Forest to see the game for the first time, the single player was being kept behind closed doors and was only viewable by a select few. Fortunately we got to see the game and what we saw inside the Ministry of Magic looked pretty impressive. However, once you realise that the game is essentially a third person shooter with a shoddy camera, aiming issues coupled with badly rendered dialogue and stealth segments that make you want to tear your own eyes out – you soon realise why the game is getting such bad scores that it is.

Are the scores out their exceptionally harsh? Absolutely not, they are fully justified as I began to get frustrated at the game from the very first opening scene. You start off on the rails with Hagrid on his bike as you try and fend off Death Eaters and Snatchers. Whilst the on the rails action looked nice, the X Y axis sensitivity was awful. Not even adjusting the sensitivity in the games settings could help improve things either. Exploration elements take place in the game in first person which made no sense either. I say exploration but everything that you do need can be found easily enough because it contains a glowing shimmer around them. The combat in the game is adequate, cover system is as responsive as pensioner’s joints in the winter and casting spells no matter how many of them never feel’s remotely strategic whilst also becoming boring quickly. You could use Stupify throughout the majority of the game if you wanted to. The more you play in Deathly Hallows the more you will unlock as Harry has an XP system which will enable him to unlock and learn new spells. This system unfortunately isn’t fully realised and doesn’t add anything to the game.

Now for the tip of the spear, if you could bare the mediocrity of it all then it would be the stealth sections that push you past the point of despair. Harry will use his invisibility cloak throughout the game much like the film. Once again you have to wear this in first person, which makes it harder to gauge proximity. All fine and well you say, but when your cloak has a power meter on it that can only be recharged by standing still pretty much takes the proverbial biscuit. Why would this be remotely entertaining? There are some collectables in the game, you can collect transmissions from the Weasley Twins which can be played back, whether you will be able to get them all is another mystery as the constant re-spawning enemies means that you can never fully explore an area before being rushed off to the next cut-scene.

Graphically the game is a step up from Half Blood Prince, you’ll never fully realise the graphical leap unless you are fortunate enough to own one of the latest LED TV’s on the market though. The only real highlight to the game was the Kinect features which saw you basically carry out similar challenges which are found within the menu system for all versions, except on the rails. You can fight hordes of enemies on the rails and cast spells using the Kinect system it’s a nice little gimmick which we enjoyed. We found it quite responsive. Once you started casting the spells into the Kinect camera it worked a heck of a lot better.

Unfortunately there really isn’t much fun to be found in this title and we can only advise that you check out Lego Harry Potter if you want a dose of something more bearable this year. The polar shift in spell casting technique and the lack of Hogwarts has really condemned this game. I know that people like Dan Potter worked extremely hard on making the game feel authentic and whilst that element of the game is true, it’s still essentially polishing a turd. Deathly Hallows is the worst in the series of games, somehow managing to out-do Azkaban and Goblet of Fire which were the weaker of the games so far. I never thought I’d be saying this being such a fan of Order of the Phoenix but that is indeed the reality. I felt like I killed Dobby myself by the time I finished this title.

33/100

Formats: Xbox 360 (reviewed), Wii, PlayStation 3, PC and Nintendo DS
Price: £49.99, rated 12

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: EA Bright Light Studio

Release Date: 19th November 2010

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  • Craig Baker

    I thought this game had some promise when I first saw gameplay back at E3, unfortunatley the game didnt deliver. I’m eternally grateful I held back from buy this game and waited to read some reviews..

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