Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review
- Posted July 8th, 2009 at 17:01 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 27 Comments
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While Potter fanatics will get limited enjoyment out of the boy wizard's wand-waving antics, everyone else will be left disappointed at the lack of creativity.
- The faithful representation of Hogwarts
- The solid spell-casting and combat mechanics
- The potion-making mini-game
- The lack of variety in the gameplay
- The lack of things to do in a relatively large game space
- Quidditch. It really sucks.
With its magnificent Great Hall, moving staircases, hidden alcoves and secret passageways, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a magical place ripe for exploration. If you’ve been following the Harry Potter videogame series then you won’t be surprised to discover that Hogwarts in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, the sixth game in the money-spinning franchise, is virtually identical to that in previous games. Fans will instantly recognize the impressively detailed interior and dimly lit corridors beyond the castle’s huge oak doors and will be equally familiar with the school’s exterior, with its courtyards, pumpkin patches, looming towers and bold architecture that superbly captures the look and feel of the movie interpretation of J.K Rowling’s magical castle. With such an impressive building and surroundings on display, Hogwarts is an enticing place that demands to be explored.
Ironically enough, however, Half-Blood Prince doesn’t exactly give you much incentive to want to explore the game world. Aside from searching every nook and cranny for school crests that unlock various rewards, and picking up a few good deeds from fellow students, there’s just not enough gameplay variety to keep you amused or retain your attention for that long. This is because the gameplay in Half-Blood Prince predominantly consists of three mini-games, which are a real mixed bag in terms of quality and fun-factor. Out of the three games, one is excellent, fairly challenging and good fun to play; one is not very challenging at all, but good fun to play for a short period of time; and the other one is only mildly engaging the first time you play it. Any more than that and it becomes monotonous. There's a real wasted opportunity in Half-Blood Prince. Even with such creative source material at the developer's fingertips, it hasn't managed to use it wisely to create an engaging game space full of interesting and exciting quests - it's all quite frankly, a little bit boring.
Instead of a game chocked full of engaging quests, mini-games take up an unhealthy chunk of your time. The best of the mini-games is potion-making. During potion-making classes, you’re required to follow on-screen prompts and pick the right ingredients to pour into the cauldron. You then need to heat the mixture up by flicking the right analogue stick up and down, which turns the liquid to the appropriate color. Though the premise of potion-making is brain-achingly simple, it is an entertaining and challenging game. In addition to the two main actions of pouring and heating, you’re also required to stir the concoction and wave any smoke out of the way should you get the measurements wrong. Having to do these actions with a timer ticking down to zero in the background adds to the tension and keeps you on your toes.
The other mini-games aren’t quite as engaging. Harry is invited to join the Gryffindor dueling club so you’ll spend plenty of time fighting for your house and moving up the rankings. It’s also a good opportunity to get some fighting practice for when you’re involved in combat outside of the club. Winning your duel is a fairly simple affair though, that requires little more than dodging out of the way of incoming spells and then unleashing a Stupefy spell to stun your opponent or an Expelliarmus spell to knock them to the ground. Seasoned gamers won’t find dueling challenging in the slightest, but younger children may get some satisfaction out of battling against some familiar characters from the Potter universe and trying to time attacks and second guess your opponent’s next move. You can’t fault the control scheme. Spell-casting has been mapped well to the control pad and it’s fairly enjoyable rolling the right analogue stick to repair objects (Reparo!) or levitating your opponent by hollering Levicorpus and then moving both the left and right stick in the same direction. Indeed, spell-casting and fighting opponents outside of the dueling club provides some of the most entertaining moments during an otherwise average Potter adventure.
The least impressive of the three mini-games is Quidditch. If you've ever played Quidditch World Cup or any other of the Potter games that allow you to play this school sport, you’ll be disappointed at the watered-down ... (continued on next page)
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- 12:04pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
looks good to me
- 12:05pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
they shoud stop coming out with harry potter game cuz its horribly
Updator | Updator
- 12:09pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
how come it's got that you like the potion making game and that you dislike it too
jonnyvito | Updator
- 12:17pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
They're all fairly average games. A real shame, but still a must for Potter fans.
- 12:22pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
the first 2 games were brilliant!!
- 12:43pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
This game looks pretty generic, honestly.
But I remember playing Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets many years ago on my old Gameboy Advance. NOW that game was fun!
- 12:46pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
i think im going to watch this movie. Ive lost interest in the series after the 1st 3. But now its at the point where the story is getting darker. The Half-Blood Prince, and the final chapter which will be split into 2 parts nov 2010 & july 2011 release date, Deathly hallows looks promising.
- 12:52pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
you guys says that you like the potion makin mini game ant then you say that you dislike it? wtf..get right psu
- 1:13pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
agree with 5. First two games on PSone were great. old good times....
- 1:34pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
The first 2 were awesome for both the ps1 and ps2. The third one was pretty good. The 4th one sucked and then it all went down hill from there. It seems like ever since they started coming out with it for the Wii it sucks.
- 1:36pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
They should make it follow the actual storyline. That would be so cool. Not the same sh it that they put in every videogames.
and AT LEAST have a tiny glimpse of something to do with horcruxes as this is where Harry starts to understand them.
- 2:22pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
i like this game and enjoyable.... love the potion making.. only a bit annoyed with quidditch where u need 5 stars scores to get gold trophy, crest hunting is fun.....
- 2:49pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
game is pretty fun
i agree with everone else when saying the first 2 were awesome
i remember how GREAT chamber of secrets was... i loved that game back in the day
- 3:46pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
wheres Fight Night review
- 4:53pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
If its good for the kids that enjoy this kind of thing, thats all that matters, not every title can be a AAA.
- 6:59pm EDT - July 8th, 2009
i really dont get how the developers can continue to make this game franchise suck, year after year, (and dont forget they had an extra 6 months of work on this one than originally planned, due to the movie being pushed back). I was hoping for a decent harry potter game for once but i guess il have to hope they get it right next time :P
seriously how hard can it be when you have an awsome book franchise to work with?
- 4:54pm EDT - July 9th, 2009
I've said it before and I'll say it again, games based on movies always SUCK!!
Sonan | Sonan
- 11:38pm EDT - July 9th, 2009
Is anybody really surprised?
- 6:06am EDT - July 10th, 2009
I think the reviewer missed out half of the game enjoyment, HP and the Order of the Phoenix had Sixaxis motion detection for casting spells, such as moving the Sixaxis forward for the Repulso spell, or orienting the Sixaxis to move objects. If they removed it from this game, it's clear it's totally stupid and the game deserved 1.0/10, but if it's there and the reviewer "forgot" to use it, then the score should be changed.
- 6:14am EDT - July 10th, 2009
@17 Well the Harry Potter movies suck too, they are nothing like the books. The books are brilliant, the movies are bleah, the games are good for childrens (and this is not a bad thing).
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