Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire Review / Preview for the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire Review / Preview for the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP)

Bloody hell, its Harry Potter! by Devin DiNardo

December 2, 2005 – With my love for the Harry Potter movies increasing with the release of the fourth chapter in Harry’s magical life, The Goblet of Fire, I saw it fit to pay homage to the young wizard as he and his mates make their very first appearance on Sony’s PSP.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the PSP is, in actuality, a large step away from the hit movie. After all, it must be moderately difficult to market a videogame based upon puberty and the challenges that lie therein. So with this in mind, Electronic Arts were prepared to re-tell the fourth tale of Potter in typical videogame fashion.

The Goblet of Fire immediately feels like your stereotypical platformer. The option to choose one of the three wizards or witch (Harry, Ron or Hermione) is available to you at the start of each level. After your wizard or witch has been chosen, you’ll find yourself bopping around each level to collect not only Tri-Wizard shields to advance to the next level, but also every wizard or witch’s favorite candy.

The famous Bernie Botz Every Flavored Jellybeans are the main item for collection. While you won’t have to open orange boxes covered in question marks to obtain the jellybeans, they will come available to collect after you defeat an enemy, or use your magic spells to complete certain tasks. Ah yes, magic. When you begin casting your magic, the feel of the platformer dies.

Unfortunately, the three magic casters all cast the same spells. At your disposal will be the Accio spell (the triangle button) that has your wizard cast their wand into the air to attract out of reach collectables such as jellybeans or pumpkin cakes (which also replenish health). Next is your Jinx spell (the X button), which is simply your attack spell. Finally you have Charms, which allow you to lift enemies into the air and to move large objects. If there is a daunting task ahead of you, such as an insanely large bolder or an incredibly large gate that cannot be moved by you alone, your AI comrades will come in to help.

As you’ll soon learn, this isn’t always a good thing.

Too often during gameplay the artificial intelligence of your party seems to forget its intelligent surname. When you are presented with small puzzles such as lifting heavy objects or dousing a large flame, the objective usually requires all three members of your party to complete. Such as in the Forbidden Forest, which marks your first meeting with the Hungarian Horntail Dragon, where you must use a Aqua Eructo charm to put out a large flame. Often playing as Hermione (insert jokes here) frustration became quite frequent when Harry Potter took on an attitude that could rival any American Pop Diva. Instead of assisting you and Ron in dousing the large flame, or pulling open a large gate, Harry will take a small troll around the stage, looking at flowers, admiring his hair, staring at Hermione’s bum… Needless to say, Harry’s anti-social behavior tends to arise at the most inopportune time during the game.

Diva-like AI aside, what really blew me away about this game was the art direction. Each level is tailored to a grim, castle like representation of the school of Hogwarts. The player models themselves seem to have been given an incredible attention to detail as each character looks exactly like its movie counterpart. Although the cutscenes don’t feature full motion video, the presentation that EA showcases between levels is beautiful. The crystal clear 2D images are treated with fresh camera angles to re-create a full motion video feel.

Not having the young actors of the film providing the voice-overs is only one of the minor flaws found in this game. It does become rather boring and repetitive when hearing the same lines spoken with poor British accents.

However with only a few minor details as the only weak points, Electronic Arts did a bang up job porting the Harry Potter storyline over to the PSP. The execution of the magic spells and the top notch presentation makes this game a definite buy for Harry Potter fans and for those gamers looking for a simply fun title to pop into their lonely PSP.

By Devin DiNardo
CCC Staff Writer

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