Completing the LEGO version of the Harry Potter saga, Traveller’s Tales’ LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 is another beautiful and endearing game that even Death Eaters will find charming.
LEGO games have always been big on platforming and puzzle solving with the occasional humorous cutscene. For better or for worse, this formula has been maintained in LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, the sequel to the previous LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4. This time, the game focuses on the latter half of the series, covering the last three books and final four films of the franchise. Suffice to say, it does a good job of summarizing Rowling’s lengthy story, and gamers will have more than enough fan service to keep them satisfied for weeks.
Plotwise, the game stays true to the novels and films. Harry and the gang are now facing a dark future as Voldemort threatens to put the wizarding world under his rule of terror. Those who’ve watched the films or read the novels realize the gravity of the situation at this point in the story. However, true to the LEGO spirit, the game somehow manages to turn even the most tearful scenes into a chuckle-fest. Through various grunts and expressive pantomiming, the LEGOfied Harry Potter cast hilariously moves the plot along using charming ingame actions. LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 keeps you smiling even with the serious source material its based on.
As usual, the main focus of the game is platforming and puzzle solving. Players will find themselves constantly collecting LEGO studs in order to unlock new areas and over 80 characters found in the novels and films. Various obstacles will have to be navigated through or blasted away with magic, and almost all background objects can be interacted with in some way. To add variety, there are some puzzles which require specific characters and items to successfully complete. Although the objectives aren’t explicitly stated, players will soon find context clues in the environment to guide them to the proper actions in order to progress in the game. It’s a fun way to test the skills of those who want a puzzle challenge difficult enough to encourage careful thinking, but not so much that it makes you want to throw your Wii remote clear across the room.
In between collecting items and completing quests, players will generally be attending classes to learn spells and brew potions as well as explore the vast environments which have been beautifully rendered in LEGO mode. All the famous places are here including Hogwarts, Gringrotts Bank, Privet Drive, Grimmauld Place, Godric’s Hollow, and the Ministry of Magic. Furthermore, the explorable areas are so vast that players will feel like they’re entirely immersed in the Harry Potter world and unconfined by any boundaries. Add to that a solid soundtrack that comes from the last four films and you’ve got something that really pays the franchise the respect it deserves.
In terms of action, the game uses a unique duel system wherein you select the appropriate spell to cast on the opposing witch or wizard based on signals given. These one-on-one fights are simple yet enjoyable enough to participate in. The total number of spells you can learn is huge, and watching these various curses and hexes explode off each other during battle is pretty fun to watch.
In terms of longevity, the game can take days or even weeks to complete. Although the campaign can be finished within hours, those wanting to collect every stud, explore every area, and solve every puzzle will find lots of work cut out for them. The hidden items and extra activities are massive, and most hardcore fans will have more than enough gameplay to fill their wizarding wants.
Finally, the Wii LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 game puts the icing on the cake with its cooperative drop-in drop-out mode. At anytime, another person may join the game and exit whenever he feels like it without grossly affecting the overall experience of the original player. The game also uses the dynamic split-screen feature found in most LEGO games: when both players’ characters are in the same general area, the screen is not divided, but when they stray apart from each other, a split screen appears.
A downside to the game is the mediocre targeting system, which sometimes misinterprets your intention and hits something else. Also, the LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 Wii game does not introduce any novel feature or revolutionary add-on to the LEGO core mechanics, so those hoping for something new will be disappointed.
LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 can be played on the Wii with the standard Wii remote. The game features drop-in drop-out cooperative multiplayer.
Though there’s nothing here that we haven’t seen before, LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 once again manages to captivate hearts and tickle funny bones with its attention to detail, vast environments, addicting collectibles, and hilarious cutscenes. The game stays true to the Potter universe, gives fans their due, and is lengthy and engaging enough to warrant extended play. Even if it doesn’t add anything new to the LEGO franchise, LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 may be their best one yet.