|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Bright Light||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 30, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
You could say Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been designed for casual gamers and it's more for young, inexperienced kids; you could say it's intended to supplement the movie and those who read the books will get more out of it; however, you can tell the developers didn't put a whole lot of effort into this game and were simply counting on the fans' blind loyalty.
Don't get mad at me because this game is awful. I didn't make it. I'm trying to save you some time and money here. If you like the game, then you should be happy that you feel you didn't waste your money. If I said the game was good and you didn't like it, then you have every right to be mad at me. But that's fine, I'm used to that. And you, as an avid reader of Cheat Code Central reviews, should also be used to the stigma of movie-licensed games that they can often be inferior. So often we see rush jobs where the developers are forced into completing a game to coincide with the release of the movie. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is another example of a rushed game. There's nothing redeeming about it at all. It's a game that doesn't know what it wants to be. It's a series of fetch quests loosely strung together with a series of mini-games.
The movie is set for release in a few days. Not having read the book I don't know what the storyline is. Having played the game, I still don't know what the storyline is. If you don't like reading, you might as well see the movie as there are no voiceovers in the game - it's all text-based cutscenes. If you don't mind reading, you may as well read the book - it will last longer and make more sense. In the beginning of the game we see Beatrice performing some soliloquy about the return of the Dark Lord. She manages to get a couple of characters to pledge their allegiance to him with the unbreakable vow. We only see the back of these characters' heads, so there's a bit of a mystery. We won't know exactly who is plotting to destroy Harry and his gang, other than the developers of this game.
Running around Hogwarts School comprises the majority of the gameplay. You'll be searching all over hell and high water for an entire shopping list of seemingly disparate items. Your exploits will take you through a labyrinth of hallways, rooms, stairwells, and the requisite secret passages. You're required to collect items which you will use to collect more items. Many of the items that you find will be traded with other non-playable characters for such collectibles as butterbeer and trading cards. You'll look everywhere for these items, and the developers believe that should suffice for fun and excitement. Look behind the plants; look on top of the bookshelf; look under the table - wow! Mini-games are also included, and their main function is to facilitate the collection of more items. Are you starting to get the point of this game? Although, it's not much of a point, it's more of a sphere.
Spells don't take on the prominence that they should. Casting spells is exactly the same as activating a power-up. In order to cast a spell, you wiggle the nub (I'm talking about moving the analog stick in case you're thinking differently). Spells are facilitated by the collection of triplicate items such as clothing, artifacts, and various potion ingredients. Spells are also used during duals against other enemies and sorcerers. They are fired much like a missile; a heat-seeking missile that requires little effort to aim. Just select from a close or ranged attack, press the fire button, and hope your spell is powerful enough to do some damage.