Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Review
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With poor visuals, flawed gameplay and a narrative that fails to adhere closely to the source material, Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a colossal disappointment for gamers and Harry Potter aficionados' alike.
- The combat is somewhat interesting, at first
- The atrocious stealth-based missions
- The fact the story deviates from the source material on numerous occasions
- The awful visuals, poor AI and near-broken gameplay mechanics
J.K. Rowling is a true master at capturing the excitement and fear of adolescence. Sure, she penned a series of seven novels based on a young wizard and his search to find and destroy he who must not be named, but it’s not just the setting and magical world that fixates audiences, it’s the overarching and relatable themes of death, sorrow, joy, wonder, mystery, and that transformational period known as youth. Her stories attract both young and old audiences alike and has them lining up for the latest movie adaptation of the first half of the last book in the series. But so far, just about every attempt to capture those emotions and excitement in a game has fallen extremely short.
With the final book of Harry Potter comes the darkest tale yet and therefore the darkest film. It’s clear after playing the videogame adaptation that developer EA Bright Light tried very hard to create a game that coincides with the more grown-up Potter audience; after all, the first book came out more than 10 years ago. Harry has grown up in that time, and so has the audience.
Past Harry Potter games have been less than stellar, but this most recent entry is painstakingly flat. This is incredibly disappointing because the story is excellent and Rowling's world is rich, full of interesting heroes, villains, and locales. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 The Videogame, sadly, lazily throws some shooter gameplay on top of the story and calls it a day.
As mentioned previously, Deathly Hallows is a far more darker outing compared to previous entries in the series, as one would expect given the narrative’s transition from covering more light-hearted affairs to touching on themes of death and despair. The story picks up after Dumbledore’s death, where Harry, Ron, and Hermione decide it’s time to put an end to Lord Voldemort once and for all. Instead of returning to wizardry school, they set out to find Mr. Volde’s remaining Horcruxes, which are a piece of an individual’s soul that are used to become immortal. In order to vanquish Voldemort once and for all, Harry and company must destroy these soul shards.
The game has two distinct styles of play – namely third-person combat and stealth - though it ultimately fails to execute either in a remotely compelling way. Instead of being a dark voyage through the English countryside, London, and the Ministry of Magic, Deathly Hallows dissolves in to a broken, generic shooter, filled with less than appealing character models, poor lip-synching, and more bugs than an ant farm. Most of the game has you wandering around with your two mates, casting spells at various, yet overly repetitive enemies. You’ll fight Death Eaters, Snatchers, Dementors, and other generally incompetent foes, while utilizing a simplistic cover system that is at best broken, and at worst downright atrocious. The game has moments of “man, that was almost cool” with things like destructible cover, though they are relatively short lived. Specifically, if you cover behind an object too long, it breaks—go figure—but actually lining yourself up behind the cover is extremely unresponsive and downright irritating. You can also create your own cover, and use it to your advantage to thwart enemies, which offers a nice little twist on the proceedings. However, your fellow chums prove less than helpful throughout the adventure. Instead of using cover, they blindly fire into walls at enemies around the corner -- and it’s not like these spells can penetrate walls, either. Nope, as AI partners go, Hermoine and Ron are sadly just about as obtuse and inconsequential in the grand scheme of things as you can get.
In terms of battles, the combat is decent enough to enjoy for the six to eight hours you’ll get out of the game, albeit only just. There’s even a bit of diversity in the spells, which you acquire as Harry levels up. You simply click the right trigger to call up a wheel of spells, and chose your arsenal. There’s spells to disarm, immobilize, and even confuse enemies into shooting their buddies. The combat is overall pretty repetitive, but it’s not completely ... (continued on next page)