Game Review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Henry Stockdale

Worthy of a life-long Azkaban sentence

Without doubt, Harry Potter has become a huge cultural phenomenon over the last decade. The series, created by J.K Rowling, spanned seven main books and a successful set of films set around the various adventures of the wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as they fight the Evil Lord Voldemort. Now that the film based on the first half of the last novel in the series, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, is out, it too, like Order Of The Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince, receives a Wii adaptation. However, while both of those games proved to be surprisingly fun adventures, Deathly Hallows falls in with the rest of the wasteland of licensed games and proves to be a poor effort from EA.

There are only two different modes present: the main story and a challenge mode. The plot sees Harry, Ron and Hermione on their quest to destroy the seven horcruxes in order to defeat Lord Voldemort once and for all, all while fighting for survival as they go on the run from the increasingly corrupt wizarding world. As the title implies, the game only adapts the first half of the story due to the decision to split the film into two parts.

Unlike previous games, Deathly Hallows Part One takes a more action-oriented approach. Gone are the Quidditch matches and the potion classes as it's all adventure this time around. The game predominantly plays with an over-the-shoulder camera similar to third-person shooters, although some levels use a first-person perspective, such as stealth missions that involve using the Invisibility Cloak. Levels consist of travelling through a set area to fulfil a certain set of goals, which can range from simply getting to a certain place, finding a particular person, doing a certain spell with your wand or killing all the enemies on-screen in order to advance. You also get a variety of different potions to help you during the game such as Garroting gas, which knocks out people around it and exploding potions, which are a bit like grenades. You also have a set of collectables lying around the levels to look out for. These range from passwords to listen in on Fred and George Weasley's Potterwatch programmes, which keeps you updated on what's happening with Harry's friends, copies of The Quibbler and The Daily Prophet newspapers and a set of Deathly Hallow symbols.

However, the main problem is that they're just not fun at all. The levels are poorly designed and so mundane it feels like a chore to keep playing. There are also a set of side missions, which are completely new to the game from the film and book, that take place between some levels, such as one where you're trying to save a group of muggles from Death Eaters. However, these don't add much to the game and are actually rather annoying as they not only interrupt the storyline, but quite frankly feel like they were only included as filler to boost the length of the game. There are also five different challenges available from the start, which rank you based on the time taken to complete the game — these add some variety to the game but don't really make it any more fun.

Camera control is handled by the Wii Remote and the Nunchuck is used to move Harry about. The D-Pad to selects potions, the 2 button busts out the Invisibility cloak, there's a cover mechanic to shield you during combat, B to fires Spells and Z locks on to enemies. It's all simple enough, but the game suffers from serious problems with the camera, which is awkward to control and can lock up when you try to turn it at times, which saps ever more of what fun can be had.

Graphically, the game is poor by Wii standards, with rather ugly character models and bland level graphics that would feel more at home on a PlayStation 2. Audio isn't particularly good either, as while the background tracks sound fairly decent the character voices can be a bit annoying as they only have a small set of voice clips for each situation, and they start to grate as they frequently say the same stuff over and over again.


Overall, if you're the sort who is into action-adventure games, or someone who is a big fan of the Harry Potter series, don't buy this. Even if you enjoyed previous Harry Potter video games, you'd do well to avoid this one as what we see here is a perfect example of the average, shoddy video game tie-in. With seven months until the release of Part 2, we can only hope that EA learn from their mistakes here and step things up for Harry's grand finale.

From the web

Game Trailer

Subscribe to Nintendo Life on YouTube

The boy wizard makes another appearance on DS in this video-of-the-game-of-the-film-of-the-book. More information as always over at Nintendo

User Comments (23)



Raylax said:

I kinda saw this coming, even the adverts made it look pretty awful. The Harry Potter games should stick to free-roaming Hogwarts.



bro2dragons said:

There's so much a talented developer could do with these games... it's such a disappointment. I guess it's hard to work within confines of a movie or book or whatever... but still. I would love to see someone get license to take some departure with the series after the last movie has come and gone and finally make a wizarding game that's up to snuff.



EdEN said:

Not even a rental then? Oh well, loved part 1 of Deathly Hallows. Too bad July 2011 is far, far away.



James said:

Also please bear in mind these are screenshots from the HD version as EA was unable to supply us with Wii screenshots. Probably says it all!



Terry_Boot said:

Well I guess the logical thing to do is play some more of the excellent Lego Harry Potter instead then!!!!!



Sneaker13 said:

Too bad, hoped it will be good, but after seeing some gameplay video's I had my doubts. The forth game was also a departure from the other ones and I didn't like that one much either.



Sneaker13 said:

BTW, can't you make your own screenshots of the Wii version. I'm curious too see how bad they will look.



BulbasaurusRex said:

Dumbledore told Harry that Voldemort made a 7-part soul, which means just 6 Horcruxes, not 7, as Voldemort's body contains the 7th part. This is one of many things that was not explained properly in Movies 5 & 6.

Warning: I have read the entire 7th book, but do NOT post spoilers about the second half of the book for those who haven't read it.



Lobster said:

@Raylax Hard to have a free roaming Hogwarts game when SPOILER Harry and Co don't go back to Hogwarts for their seventh year. END SPOILER

Anyway, I've always figured that Harry Potter is one of those franchises where we'll probably have to wait at least ten years for a faithful and excellent video game adaptation of the books. It's like Goldeneye or Ghostbusters, franchise games are only good when the stuff they're adapting hasn't been in theatres for a while so there's no rush for a tie-in and developers can take their time doing it right.



erv said:

At least lego harry potter on my iphone is brilliant.

If a proper harry potter game was ever released...



Ravage said:

...And back to having a ton of fun with Lego Harry Potter. I think this game deserves a facepalm more than flingsmash!




I've played the Wii version as my wife's nephew bought it. It is a very sticky, stodgy, rough game that has been badly made in a fair few ways. Strangely it held my attention for nearly 2 hours so I would give it a 5 (JUST). The stealth areas are a nightmare in particular. EA Bright Lights haven't done a shooter before I think and boy does it show. It seems quite rushed as well. OK, tbh, in parts its almost broken!

Shame. This was on my radar as the Gears of Wand gameplay seemed a good fit for the source material. I'm also a big Potter fan.

BTW the DS version is decent and the definative game out of all the platforms' versions of this.



WiiLovePeace said:

Damn... I was hoping this one was going to be as awesome or even more awesome, than the last HP Wii game. Oh well, thanks for the heads up & good review



LuWiiGi said:

In the right hands a great HP game could be made, but to these guys it's all about the money.



lex0plex said:

The problem: The game was based off the movie, not the book. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, under development in 2000, was (to my knowledge) the only game released before the movie in 2001 and the only good Harry Potter game. Check it out if you don't mind the dated graphics. It is very fun with hundreds of secrets - very addicting to try and find them all Not many people know about the game so I wanted to spread the knowledge.



evilcorgi said:

ah, EA. The ruthless black hole, sucking in ideas and developers and leaving nothing behind but the crushed dreams or many, many people. While this doesn't even come close to conparing with there sin of cancling Thrill Kill, it is a travesty to see such a brilliant movie turned into the ever looming "movie to video game" steriotype. Evilcorgi out!

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