|System: Wii, PC, PS3, X360, PS2, 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 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Harry Potter hops on his broom stick to hit each and every gaming platform, with Wii receiving what is perhaps the definitive version of the Half-Blood Prince. Does EA truly bring Hogwarts to life with this video game adaptation of a bestseller, or should you simply wait on the movie?
Regardless of which version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince game you opt for, the story is going to be pretty much the same. Rather than branching off to explore some unique plot, the console game aims to run you through the books main events by way of exploration of the fabled Hogwarts School of Wizardry and three basic mini-games.
Aside from one brief instance in the game where youll exert limited control over Ron Weasley, youll take control of Harry using the analog stick on the Nunchuk. Moving Harry around feels natural, and you can walk or jog depending on how far you push on the control stick. He can also run fast when holding the Z button, though thats best reserved for navigating wide-open spaces.
As is the case with EAs handling of most licensed games, Half-Blood Prince pretty much leads you by the nose each step of the way. Youll first meet up with Ron and Hermione for a bit of clean-up on the Weasley farm, in which case youll be instructed on how to cast your first spell, Wingardium Leviosa. This spell allows you to lift things highlighted in the environment, and its executed by pointing the Wii Remote and pressing A over the desired object. Once locked onto an object, you flick the Wii Remote upward to levitate it, aim with the control stick, and toss objects with a forward-flicking gesture. Casting works fairly well, but it only comes into play in the main story a handful of times. Youll otherwise be using this type of utility spell to collect crests hidden throughout the game (more on that later).
Half-Blood Prince on Wii plays, in some respects, like a Grand Theft Auto game, affording the player a fair amount of freedom to explore. Theres only one way to progress in the story, but between scripted events, you can wander around Hogwarts at your leisure. This is also the most impressive element of the game, and when it comes to offering a sandbox based on the Harry Potter universe, Half-Blood Prince pushes the envelope on Wii. There are zero load times when moving from area to area, and the school feels truly alive.
Considering the scale of Hogwarts, it is unfortunate there isnt an overworld map to consult. In lieu of a map, however, you can call on the aid of Nearly Headless Nick, who will either offer clues about your next objective or lead you directly to it. Its a mechanic that works great during the main game, but the lack of an actual map can make covering the whole of Hogwarts a bit tedious after the tale has been completed.
The actual story portion of the game is really short, clocking in at about five hours, give or take. Half-Blood Prince uses three mini-games and a handful of spells to move the story forward, and as brief as the experience is, youll likely be glad to see it end. Using Nick, youll be led to one mini-game after another. The story uses the minis as an excuse to get to the next bit of plot and dialogue (or perhaps its vice versa?), though the payoff is sparse. Whereas the handheld version of the game offers players nice, large chunks of dialogue, the story in Half-Blood Prince on Wii feels incidental.