|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PS2, DS, PSP, GBA||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA UK||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 26, 2007||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|
by Matthew Walker
June 28, 2007 - Harry Potter has become one of the most successful franchises and has reached a status that most fictional characters could never hope to reach. Not only have the novels relayed his yearly adventures and sparked generations to return to the confines of their rooms with a book in hand, but his tales have captured audiences with the depictions of Hogwarts' years on the big screen. In fact, if you have not caught the Harry Potter bug yet, now is as good a time as any. The fifth movie in the series arrives to a screen near you in less than a month, the closing chapter in the Harry Potter books arrives one week after the film's release, and the best Harry Potter game adaptation is on shelves now. Life is good for fans of this phenomenal series. Let's explore how good it is.
Of course, there have been titles to correlate to the previous four films as well as the Quidditch World Cup game based off the infectious sport wizards play. If you are unfamiliar with Quidditch, think soccer blended with football and add enchanted objects and brooms. While some were decent attempts at capturing the magic all fell short in one way or another. Hopefully, the latest installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, is an indicator of the truly wondrous things to come as we draw near the end. If so, then I can't wait for the next adventure at Hogwarts. The main reason behind my excitement is quite simple - the Wii makes the game enjoyable on a whole different level.
For those of you that have yet to read the fifth year at Hogwarts, or have failed to be bitten by the anticipation bug for the fifth film, this is Harry's darkest year at Hogwarts. Since Harry is 15, he not only has the angst and mood of a normal teenager, but he also has all the anger of being kept in the dark about things going on in the wizarding community brooding in him. After all, it was only a few short months ago that Harry witnessed a horrific tragedy and the rebirth of the man that has been trying to claim his life for several years. Not to mention the Tri-Wizard Tournament that he barely survived himself. This year doesn't bode very well for him either. In addition to the O.W.L.S. every fifth year must take to help decide the path they wish to take after school, Harry and his friends will square off against the new, malevolent Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Dolores Umbridge, teach Dumbledore's Army, and ultimately have tragedy strike once more. The poor guy just can't seem to catch a break.
Of course, you will play as Harry, what would the game be if you couldn't control the boy who lived? Your school time buddies will also be joining you as well. In fact, Ron and Hermione will stick by your side throughout the game - assisting in duels, over coming challenges set forth, and, of course, treading through Hogwarts. The school in previous installments has been a pale comparison to either the film or our imaginations of what the glorified school should look like. This time around there is really no room to complain on any level to the scope and scale of the legendary school. This is one of the most compelling things about the game. Even if you find yourself bored with the sometimes monotonous go here and grab aspect of the game, which you won't, you have the entire facility at your disposal in the game. Whether it be visiting the Great Hall or donning your father's Invisibility Cloak to scurry down to visit Hagrid, the vast size of the school will keep you entertained for hours on end. You may find yourself lost at times though; if that is the case, you can pull out your Marauder's Map and quickly have it show you the way to were you want to go. EA really outdid themselves this time around with the size of the game.