Better than the predecessor
The Harry Potter game series hasn’t really been the favorite, especially among fans. The latest addition to the series, Harry Potter and the Order of
Phoenix launched on the PC platform wasn’t a disappointment though. And now, with another H.P. movie already out on the big screens, Harry Potter and
the Half-Blood Prince is also coming to you on all the gaming consoles. It isn’t really the finest game in the world, but a few tweaks simplify the mouse
controls making this launch a tad better than the previous release and makes up for an appealingly fun game. The only glitch with the game is that the
non-followers of the H.P. series won’t really figure out what’s going on in the story plot, as the game is an obvious progression of the series.
The game isn’t exactly a reproduction of the movie; through it does take the events of the movie as hallmarks. You do participate in the huge scuffles and
encounter cut-scenes portraying key moments. The game play lets you live around the entire atmosphere of Hogwarts. When you start the game, parts of the
building will be locked due to the “You-Know-Who” panic, but completing the game’s events unlocks the place. The real game play is divided into the four
basic groups – making potions, flying, dueling and investigate.
Potions is perhaps the most inventive mini-game in the title which gives you 16 different concocts to stew in your faithful caldron. The mini-game consists
of icons which pop up on the left side of the display and you choose the matching ingredient with the mouse. You grab a beaker, move it to the pot, and
dispense it in using the keyboard. As you get deeper into the game’s potions, the techniques to create brews such as Fertilizer and Wiggenweld multiply and
become more complex. You’ll need to bring the brew to a simmer, fan off smoke, make the ingredients gurgle before adding to the stew and swirl up the
contents. This potion stuff is really fascinating. Though making the potion is made easy as the steps are given away, performing them isn’t as easy, and all
the stirring, boiling, etc will keep you with your wits about you because making these potions will require you to get the ingredients to be prepared in
certain ways. Adding to this, there’s a timer that’s counting you down and you lose extra seconds each time you goof up. Thankfully, if you do get rated
one-star, you can redo a potion as many times as you like, It’s not necessary to perfect the potions brew to progress in the game; you just need to finish it
in some aspect.
Another fine addition in this title is flight. Harry is the captain of the Griffindor Quidditch team, and hence, you’ll need to fritter some time on your
broom. Flight is limited within the Quidditch stadium, rather than giving you independence to roam around freely in the setting. You pursue the snitch and
the camera always heads in the direction the gold ball goes. You don’t actually control Harry’s movement on the broom but rather the camera, with Harry
centered to it. What keeps this from being rather dull are star checkpoints distributed throughout the match. You need to soar through these stars to keep
time in your clock. Basically, this is a timed race more than it is a Quidditch match, with these stars being knock-out checkpoints, like in a mediocre
racing title. Missing a couple of these will turn the stars from green to red and eventually exhaust them completely. And also, it’s not a task at hand to
score in some goals for your team, and the AI in this section isn’t really easy to get by. But, the flight experience is still enjoyable.
Order of the Phoenix didn’t come about in wand-to-wand combat. Even though there were a lot of spells, the commands weren’t that responsive and the clashes
never felt that exciting. Things are a tad improved in Half-Blood Prince, but it’s still not up to mark. You have six spells – Stupefy, Protego,
Expelliarmus, Petrificus Totalus, Levicorpus and Charging – that are executed with the mouse. Your movements are controlled by the keyboard. This system
works well and is much better than the last scheme. And perfecting the combos for the various spells can help your task to a great deal. With Levicorpus, you
can roll any opponent you find by lifting him or her into the air and slamming Stupefy after Stupefy into his or her chest.
Exploration is the key
Exploration is a colossal element of this game. The story can be completed in about four or five hours, but there’s going to be a lot left to do for Harry
Potter fans. The game has 150 Hogwarts crests hidden throughout the school – 125 of those are either trapped on walls, tousled in bushes, and so on, but the
other 25 need to be earned. Walking around the enormous array of hallways, you need to find search lanterns, bird or some other objects with a rainbow-like
radiance around it. Wave your wand at it and you’ll get some mini-crests to fall. When you collect these mini-crests, a meter fills. Fill it up enough and
you get a full crest to add to your collection. These crests also begin unlocking added options for you – sometimes it’s new people to duel with or the
ability to create the Love Potion. If crests aren’t really your thing, there are heaps of badges to be earned by cranking out potions rapidly; being the
finest flyboy you can be, and so on.
This game doesn’t really come out as an adventure title, but is still fun to play with the mini-games and its crest hunting. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t really
stand out for any Potter fan as the game doesn’t live up to the emotions and thrill of the movie. But it’s a game to kill a bit of your time with the fun
games included in the package.