|System: X360, PS3, PC, PS2, Wii 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: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In order to get to all of these mini-game challenges, you will have to run all over Hogwarts. The school is a big place, and between the secret painting passageways and moving staircases, getting around Hogwarts can be pretty tough. Luckily, the game has included a guide in the form of Nearly Headless Nick, who will help you reach any point of interest in the school. Although this feature is completely optional, I found out the hard way that trying to get around without him was folly indeed.
In addition to these mini-games, you will also have to wander around Hogwarts looking for collectible emblems. There are a total of 125 emblems scattered across the expansive halls of Hogwarts, and while some of these emblems are just lying in pathways waiting for you to pick them up, many are hidden in secret rooms and corridors. Some emblems even require a bit of puzzle-solving to attain them. For instance, I came across some emblems that were hidden behind jail-like bars, and in order to get them out, I had to bang them against a wall to break them, move all the pieces out with a spell, and then use another spell to put them back together. Granted, this isnt high-level puzzle-solving, but the effort was made to keep the gameplay varied, and I can certainly appreciate that.
In addition to the single-player experience, there is also an unlockable duel mode which will allow you to engage in wizard fights with a friend. Though this mode isnt that memorable, it allows you to fight as different wizards (which is something you couldnt do in the game) and is good for some laughs with friends.
Visuals-wise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince looks very good. Hogwarts comes to life in vivid detail, with everything from the dark halls of Floor 7 to the grassy fields of the Quidditch Ditch; there are plenty of beautiful views to be had in this game. The character models also look very good, and their look is on par with the ever changing features of the movies actors. The only real complaint I have is that the characters features are oddly stoic, and their eyes and mouths tend to move very slowly. These aspects gave the characters a very wooden look to them, which was a little distracting during plot scenes.
However, the sound is pitch perfect. Although the voice actors in the game arent the same ones from the movie, they do sound very close, and they do an excellent job of voicing the games numerous plot and dialogue scenes. As for the music in the game, it sounds almost identical to the movies orchestral score. The themes and melodies fit the action perfectly, and I couldnt have been happier with the games score.
Overall, I can very confidently say that Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a fun movie tie-in game, and it certainly lives up to what is expected of it. Although it isnt terribly long or deep, it will give fans of the series some solid gameplay, and it certainly isnt too challenging for younger fans who might want to play it. The game also has some solid replay value from its multiplayer modes, so if youre itching to get back into Hogwarts for year 6, then Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a great vehicle to do so.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor