|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS|
|Dev: EA Bright Light|
|Release: July 12, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Fantasy Violence|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Harry Potter is one of the most epic literary series ever. The movies, while not quite as epic as the books, have captivated audiences for a decade. The game series, on the other hand, has never really impressed anyone. While it would have been nice to see the game series go out on a high note, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 goes out with barely even a whimper. The game looks awful, plays terribly, and is just plain disappointing. Was I expecting much from this game? No, not really. But considering this was the last opportunity for us to get a good Harry Potter game, the sting of Deathly Hallows - Part 2's poor quality is that much more disappointing since we know that this will be it from the Harry Potter game series.
The problems start right at the beginning. The story makes no sense. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I've read the books, and the way events are presented in the game is silly at best. If you don't understand the world of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet, don't expect to learn anything from the game. Events just sort of happen randomly, and even as someone extremely familiar with the source material, I couldn't help but be confused by the way the game portrays Harry Potter's final act.
Though the lack of cohesive story was annoying, it wasn't the worst part of the game. That distinction belongs to the gameplay. Unfortunately, the game takes the same approach as Part 1, basically turning Harry Potter into a third-person shooter. You "equip" spells with the controller's face buttons, aim with the left stick, and then fire with the right trigger. Though we've had the experience before, it's no less awkward in Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and it still feels quite disingenuous to the franchise. Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is going to be the most action-oriented of all the Potter films, but I don't think we'll see more than ten minutes of extreme wand battling in the movie. In the game, that's all there is.
The game is also unfortunately linear. This wouldn't be such a problem if the set pieces weren't so tiny. The game pretty much only lets you move forward, and other than the occasional small pocket of space off to the side, there is nowhere to go. This is especially sad, considering the game version of the Half-Blood Prince at least had a semi-open world and let you walk around Hogwarts at your own pace. But that small bit of freedom has been lost completely in the Deathly Hallows games, which is depressing indeed.
The only highlight of the game (and I use this term lightly) is the ability to play as different characters. Though spells and powers don't change, it is still pretty cool to reenact the battle between Professor Snape and McGonagall while playing as the latter. Though the games have traditionally focused on the so-called "golden trio," it's nice to finally take charge of characters who've been pushed to the side over the years. While playing as other characters isn't exactly optional (you'll just "inhabit" other bodies when another character needs to be used), at least it's a somewhat interesting facet in the game. And in a sea of bland, it stands out.
The technical aspects of the game aren't up to par either. The character models lack detail, and they feature that really horrific "dead-eyed" look that gamers have come to hate so much. Animations are awkward, and characters sort of skate along or flail their limbs around wildly. Even environments fail to impress, with "The Wizarding World" being rendered in a barely-recognizable way. I suppose the news isn't all bad though. There's a dragon near the beginning of the game that doesn't look horrible, but that's an isolated sequence.