Anyone who has read the book should be able to get the most out of the game, especially if they’ve found the latest film disappointing
Back to school already? Oh wait its Hogwarts. Half Blood Prince is the Sixth book in the Harry Potter series and with the film just been recently released there’s a video game. If you’ve read through the Half Blood Prince should know most of the plots and twist with thrills and chills. In the latest chapter Lord Voldemort carries out orders to his death-eaters. Voldemort has chosen Draco Malfoy to carry out his deeds with Professor Snape’s help as well.
Harry, Ron and Hermione are back at Hogwarts once again for another year. A new teacher called Professor Slughorn gets his old job back as Potion master and Professor Snape takes the Defence-against the Dark Arts classes. Harry and Professor Dumbledore also find out more about Tom Riddle (Voldemort’s past). If you’ve read the book you will probably get the most out of the game more then you would out of the film. But if you’ve only seen the films, you might get a little lost on story if you haven’t read the book.
Gameplay: If you’ve played through Order of the Phoenix on Playstation 2 or 3 the controls feel pretty much the same. You’ll be using the analogue sticks to cast your spells like Wingardium Leviosa which makes objects float, or casting Expelliarmus during wizard duels. You can explore Hogwarts without any loading screens at all which is good for most gamers if you’re used to free-roaming games in the past.
In Order of the Phoenix you used the Marauder’s Map to find out where you needed to go and you’d see footprints on the floor telling you which way to go. This time, however, Nearly-Headless Nick will be your guide to Hogwarts. Yes, Nearly Headless Nick did appear a lot in the books and in the first 3 games as well but I guess that it makes most Potter fans happy to see old characters again.
There are mini games as well, where you can make potions in lessons or in Potion clubs. In order to make a potion, you must get the right colour and mixing to make the potion. If you don’t there will be a lot of smoke and you can easily get rid of it by pressing the shoulder buttons L2 and R2, but you have to hurry as you’re timed on how quick you make it. Another mini game is Wizarding Duels where you can battle other students and you’ll be facing some bosses throughout the main story as well, but they can be really easy to beat if you keep firing spells a lot by using the right analogue stick.
You can also play with a friend if you head to versus mode at the main menu, where you can select your favourite characters like Ron, or Crabbe or Luna. But I guess that the 2 player Wizarding Duels kind of make it feel like a fighting game but using wands as weapons. There is no online mode the Wizarding Duels which is a shame for the hardcore Potter fans out there.
Most Potter fans might get the most out of the game, if you’ve found the film a big disappointment
Quidditch makes a return in the Half Blood Prince. The last time we saw Quidditch as a mini-game and task mission was back in 2004 with the Prisoner of Azkaban. You will still be playing as Harry as he tries to catch the golden snitch (a small golden ball where seekers have to catch it). You have to fly through coloured stars in order to go faster but if you miss any, your time will run out and you have to start again. You can’t use the six-axis controls if you’re flying a broom, you can only use the left analogue stick to move, which is a shame because it would have been a nice idea for the game.
Graphics and Sound: Like I said, nothing has changed in terms of graphics and are pretty much the same as the Order of the Phoenix was back in 2007. But the characters have minor detailed looks and expressions which are a little rushed, possibly due to trying to release the game at the same time the film.
The main actors from the films offer their voices for the game. The main characters like Harry, Ron and Hermione do sound authentic, but they’re not 100% perfect. Snape, Dumbledore and Nearly-Headless Nick’s voices, however, are much different to the voices in the movies which a lot of people loved, then again I guess that the game does try it making perfect as what the book was. But the voicing for Crabbe and Goyle is fairly funny in the game where they try and block Harry’s way, saying stuff like “Well if it isn’t the losers from Gryffindor, they’re…losers”.
Overall: Most Potter fans might get the most out of the game, if you’ve found the film a big disappointment in terms of plots and endings. There are trophies for Half Blood Prince if you want to get the most out of it, but you’ll most likely get over 50% once you’ve beaten the main story which can easily take you up to 4-6 hours. However, there are plenty of things to do before and after you complete the game. You can collect Hogwarts Crests in different areas, floors and walls in Hogwarts. The more you collect, the more you unlock. Collecting Hogwarts Crests gives you more characters for wizard duels, more health and your spells will be more powerful to use.
Some people might feel a little put off by the game being so short, meaning that you’d probably be better off reading the book again or you could rent the game if you can’t be bothered paying £30-£40. But when the next Potter film is made, how will they make Deathly Hollows when it’s not set in Hogwarts? Potter fans will just have to wait and see.
The Bad: Gameplay consists of only three different activities that get old fast, Story is difficult to follow if you haven’t read the book, Character models and voice acting are subpar, Main story is a little short, No online Wizarding duels.