Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7
Price: About £10
I love Lego games. I love the retelling of the stories they are based on, the humour, the character designs and the problem solving gameplay.
Harry Potter Years 5-7 brings nothing new in terms of gameplay and overall style, but you can’t have too much of a good thing, right?
Once again, the player has to navigate through six levels for each film, with challenges to learn spells and find extras in the Hogwarts ‘hub.’ Like the previous Harry Potter Lego, Hogwarts is a vast, sprawling location that can be difficult to navigate, but they’ve also made it different. No lazy programming of the same rooms – we can now explore London and the various campsite locations from the seventh film.
There are a couple of new spells, and the way Harry and crew are stripped of the spells they gained in the previous instalment actually made sense, and didn’t rely on the gamer suspending their disbelief as sequel characters show up at most basic level.
Of course, nothing is particularly challenging. The puzzles usually involve blowing stuff up using the right spell and the rebuilding it using another. There’s nothing that stretches you too hard, with even the new duelling system amounting to little more than pushing buttons at the right time.
But that’s not really the point of Lego games – they are meant to be entertainment. And entertaining it is, with stacks of the trademark humour, and glorious character design.
Menu systems for buying spells and characters have been somewhat updated, I’m not convinced if it’s successful, though it’s massively less annoying than the ‘find the character and fight them’ system of Lego Pirates. Lots of characters and items seem to have been hiked up in price, though that’s never really a problem in Lego games – as always I found I had no money at all, then suddenly several billion studs that I couldn’t do anything with.
Red Brick upgrades were in a more logical order, the ones you could get early on being cheaper and helpful for the progression of the game. I wish I’d spent more time exploring Hogwarts as I progressed through the game, but as is usually my tactic, I left it to the end, after I’d unlocked as much as I could playing through the levels on story mode. I don’t think it really matters though – no matter how you approach Lego games, there’s an inevitable amount of replay involved, as you go back through the levels to pick up things you couldn’t access before with the characters you’ve now unlocked.
Which is all a very roundabout way of saying that Harry Potter Years 5-7 is everything you should expect from a Lego game, with nothing particularly stunning or innovative. But, as the saying goes: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And the Lego formula certainly isn’t broke.
Next Up: Fallout New Vegas