Are you or your children Harry Potter fans? I certainly am! Though it wasn’t until I read the books that I became a die-hard fan. Now I own all the movies on DVD and the books in hardcover – and I’m hooked!
What I hadn’t tried – until now – was a Harry Potter Wii game! But that has been remedied, and I’m here now to share my thoughts on the new Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince game for the Wii.
First of all, I want to note that I have never played any of the other Harry Potter games, either on the Wii or any other gaming platform. So this won’t be a comparison review. This is a review by a young mom who loves her Wii and the Harry Potter series. My experience with gaming platforms is pretty much limited to Nintendo: The Wii, Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo, and regular Nintendo. I’ve played some games with my husband on his Playstation 3, but I’m not really in love with that system. I’m a Nintendo girl at heart, I guess. ;-)
I may as well tell you right now that I’m really enjoying the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince game. It’s been a week now and I go back to it every day – it’s fun! I now believe that anyone who has a child who wants to get an idea of what it would be like to go to school at Hogwarts and really get an “interactive Harry Potter experience” should think about buying this game.
The Plot Thickens
This particular game is, obviously, based on the sixth book and movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. You play as Harry Potter and are given “quests” to complete as you make your way through the game. For example, Harry finds the Half-Blood Prince’s potion book and, as in the movie, finds himself being taken in by the genius therein. Though the movie play parts of the game that you have to sit through can be a bit tedious, there is some humorous dialogue that made me laugh out loud – Hermione and Ron’s verbal sparring especially.
To add extra interest and fun, there are school clubs that you can join to try to beat your scores in Dueling, Potions, and Quidditch (flying around on your broom trying to catch the Snitch).
Okay, now let’s get down to details.
Controls: You need the Wii Remote (Wand) and the Nunchuk for this game. I think the Wii must be the best platform for Harry Potter games because the Wii Remote is already like a magic wand. It makes role-playing that much easier! Figuring out the different controls for activities like dueling, playing Quidditch, and making potions is very simple, which was a relief to me. I hate playing games that take you forever to figure out the controls! And to move Harry around the castle, you use the little directional stick on the top of the Nunchuk – that’s super easy as well. Oh, and I should mention that you use your arms a lot when dueling and making potions, and this actually made my arms sore! I guess I’m a bit out of shape, huh? And how embarrassing is it to have to tell people that my arms are sore from dueling??? ;-)
Graphics: I think the graphics are great! Of course. the characters seem a bit like lifeless dolls at times, but it doesn’t bother me at all. The castle is very detailed with hundreds of paintings and tapestries that I actually want to stop and look at sometimes. I know, I’m a nerd.
Difficulty Level: I think most children over the age of 8 would be able to enjoy this game. The younger kids can give the dueling a go, that’s one of the most challenging and exciting mini-missions. Different hand motions are taught for each spell such as Expelliarmus, Stupefy, and Levicorpus. You can choose to practice your dueling and potion-making anytime, too. Potion-making is challenging because you’re timed and have to make sure you’re adding the right ingredients, the right amount, and you stir and heat the ingredients yourself. If you make a mistake, smoke pours out of the cauldron and you have to wave it away quickly. It probably sounds more complicated than it is – I don’t think the activities are too difficult for children at all, and different age groups will enjoy different aspects of the game more.
Missions: There is the main mission that follows along with the movie and book, but there are also mini-missions as well. As you explore the castle (usually on your way somewhere with Nearly Headless Nick’s directional help), you can collect Hogwarts Crests and unlock bonuses and mini-games, do “good deeds” for fellow students and get rewards, and earn badges. You also learn new spells as you go.
Two-Player: There is a two-player dueling mode that is unlocked at some point early in the game. I played this with my husband. I beat him. ;-) I’m not sure yet whether there are more opportunities for two players to interact together. I’ll update this review when I get further into the game.
What I didn’t like: There is a LOT of dialogue as they try to fill in the plot so you know where you’re at in the story. Not enough to make me want to turn it off, but I have been known to walk away for a moment until it’s over. I’ve seen the movie and read the book, so I know what happens. And there’s no way to skip past it.
The only other thing is that you’re running around the castle from one place to the other an awful lot. The size of the castle is very life-like, which is cool and tedious at the same time. The cool aspects are the moving staircases, the portrait shortcuts (as long as you know the password), and the mini-quests as you go.
I find this game to be worth buying. I think that fans of Harry Potter will enjoy it and kids will have a blast experiencing life in Harry Potter’s world! The cons I listed are not near enough to cause me to dislike the game or put me off from buying future Harry Potter releases. I recommend it!
Note: This game is rated E for Everyone and is available for X-Box, Wii, PSP, PS3, PS2, Nintendo DS, and PC/Mac. My review is on the Wii version only.
You can buy this game on Amazon.com for only $46.99, and it ships free with Super Saver Shipping!
Open to US and Canada.
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