It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a PS3 game. I don’t buy a lot of them, so that should explain why. I just got done playing Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 all the way through to 100%, and figured it’d be a good time to review the game.
I’ve been a big fan (well, mostly) of the Lego games, and (mostly) Lego Harry Potter has been no exception. The play style between them tends not to be too much different: You have ways of blowing things up, puzzles to solve, and on occasion are given things to build, too. You work your way through six parts of a movie and collect Gold Bricks as a measure of your completion of the game. It usually takes two or three play throughs of a given level before you’ve gotten all of the things from it you can get. You play it first in “Story Mode”, where you play the characters of the scene; then you can play it in “Free Play” mode, and are free to use some of the extra characters you might have opened up along the way. In fact, on many levels, those extra characters are required to totally complete the level; you need an evil wizard to magic certain items, and you don’t get to play one until you’ve found the character token in whatever level it’s in.
This, I have to say, had me resenting the game a little at one point. I was enjoying the Story Mode play of a level, but was keenly aware of the things I couldn’t do while there, and knew I was going to have to go back through the level at least one more time to really complete it. “Forced Replayability” is the best way to describe the situation. Most of the time it’s easy to view it as “additional exploration,” but sometimes it’s hard not to resent having to do something twice.
In spite of this momentary weakness in my enjoyment of the game, on the whole, Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 is a worthy addition to the Lego series. There are some really funny bits in the cut scenes, particularly the last one: Wait until you see what Dumbledore gives Cedric’s grieving father!
My only real regret? That this was only Years 1-4, and not all seven!
As can be not uncommon in the Lego games, sometimes you’ll have issues finding things when you’ve finished all the story modes and are ready to go through and do all of the Free Play modes to get everything. First, I suggest (if you can find them) locating all of the “Red Bricks” and purchasing them. Several of the Red Bricks provide pointers to show you where things might be hidden. Failing that, use a walk-through. Try to avoid using a walk-through when doing Story Mode – you shouldn’t need it, and you will pretty much always have to go back in Free Play to get everything anyway.
I did not have the same issue with Lego Harry Potter that I had with Lego Indiana Jones; I very much enjoyed this game and think it’s worth the $50 I spent on it.