Review by DarkNeo715

"My Review of <i>Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone</i>"

Hogwarts Term Begins…

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is an action/adventure game developed by Argonaut and published by EA Games. This game is based on both the book (by J.K. Rowling) and the movie. In this game, you experience the magical world that Harry Potter lives in.

Graphics/Sound
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was made in 2001. Yet, the graphics in this game are not on par with other games that were made during that time. These graphics remind me of the graphics of a game made in 1998…games that were released three years before it!!! Needless to say that does not bode well for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’s graphics. Harry Potter looked nice, most of the environments were looked nice or average…but the characters (other then Potter) looked horrible. I mean, we know that Hagrid is not supposed to be the prettiest thing in the world, but did they really have to make him sooo ugly? For the rest of the characters you will pretty much find yourself asking the same question about them. Also, if your looking for some astounding cut-scenes that will astound and awe you for its graphical amazingness…look somewhere else. All of the cut-scenes are either done by presenting you with the turning pages of a story book, or in real time (read not good) graphics. So, for it’s sheer behind the times graphics (or lack there of), I give Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a 2/10 for graphics.
To be honest with you I usually don’t pay attention to a game’s sound…unless I happen to really really like the game, or unless the sound just is totally awesome and you can’t help but to listen to the great music and sound FX. Unfortunately, I neither liked Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone nor did the sound grab and hit me with great music and sound FX. For the most part I would compare the music to the music in Tomb Raider…non-existent for the most part. Except for key events you will usually just hear the sound FX that the game provides. Unfortunately, unlike Tomb Raider the music in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone does not at all enhance your gaming experience. It does not add suspense or wonder or awe or anything at all to the game. The sound FX are ok. They aren’t stupendous and they aren’t dreadful. I liked the voice acting, for the most part. I thought that most of the characters’ voice are accurate and wonderfully done…there are a couple exceptions though. I thought that P..P..P..Professor Q..Q..Quirell’s (sp?) voice acting was horrible…but that might just be me. Overall, the voice acting saves this game from an extremely low score so I will give Harry Potter a 4/10 for sound.
Total Graphics/Sound Rating: 6/20

Storyline
The story is supposed to follow the basic plotline of the book and movie. In a sense the game does this…ok, maybe not. To be completely frank, the storyline in the game was horrible. It is hard to find a place to start complaining about…okay I got one. Character development…is basically absent. I got the feeling that each and every character was static throughout the game. I even felt that Harry Potter had no character development. The game failed to clearly explain Harry’s origin and why he is at Hogwarts. You never get to see the friendship develop between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. You never see the hatred develop between Harry and Draco. You never even really seen Albus Dumbledore at all (except for a real-time cut scene at the beginning)!!! Another turn off was the amount of time that the game spends on things that aren’t important to the main plot (the main plot of the book and movie, not in the game b/c there is no main plot in the game). You spend about half of the game wandering around Hogwarts trying to find your next class. It isn’t until late in the game that you really start to get into the plot involving the Sorcerer’s Stone. I frequently found me asking myself (yes, I do like to talk to myself from time to time) why am I doing this or doing that? Why can’t I just play pranks on other kids in the school? Why do I have to jump across floating pots? Also, there are little things that the game has changed about the story…most of them for the worst. For this horrible, horrible storyline I give Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a 2/10.
Storyline Rating: 2/10

Gameplay
Hmm…the controls in this game are not what I would call ‘sound.’ The awkward camera angle will sometimes account for a loss of direction, but other then that moving Mr. Potter around is no problem. My main complaint comes with jumping. Jumping is an intricate part of gameplay in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, so one would logically assume that there would be a jump button…but assuming makes a ^behind^ out of you and me. To jump all that you have to do is push forward. It worked for the Zeldas on N64, but that doesn’t mean that it will work for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone! I feel as if they could have included a jump button…is it really that hard to program something like that? Another complaint comes with the Quiddich controls. The default controls are horrible I had to change them, but even them I found them a little too sensitive. So, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone gets a 3/10 for controls.
This game is almost ridiculously easy and short. Just to let you know, it only took me about 5.25 hrs. of actual game time to complete the game. For the most part I pretty much ran through Harry Potter. There were some spots where I got held up (usually because of suspect controls or camera angles), but overall it was easy…except for one part. The mine cart ride was something that I feel was beyond the difficulty lvl for the target audience (prob 8-12 yr. olds). It took me about the same amount of time to master the mine cart part (for my 3 wizard’s cards b/c I like to get everything) as to get through about 75% of the game. But for those young ones out there…don’t worry!!! You get infinite continues…not that you will need them…but you do!!! Anyways, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone gets a 4/10 for its challenge and play time.
Fun…that was something that this game was missing. It is sad for all those Potter fans out there. The amazing amounts of bad things in this game just piled higher and higher and higher and…needless to say…higher. This big pile wiped out all of the fun in the game…almost. I really liked a couple of things. I liked the voiceovers (I found myself happy everytime I met a new character so that I could see what excellent voice was given to that particular character). Also, I liked the mine cart rides. While they were frustrating for a short while, I thoroughly enjoyed them. So, I give Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a 3/10 for its fun factor rating.
Total Gameplay Rating: 10/30

Replay Value
Basically…none. Once you beat the game there is nothing worth playing it over for (unless you are a perfectionist like me and missed some items on your way). There is no special mode or different difficulty lvl. You can play Quiddich after you unlock it…but as how it is impossible to lose and the controls are horrible, I wasn’t going to hazard doing that. Perhaps there is some replay value in that…but as I have said I haven’t played that part so I wouldn’t know.

Recommendation
Well I you have that itch to play this game, then I suggest that you rent or borrow it. You should be able to beat this game in a very short period of time. Otherwise, don’t touch it at all there are much better games out there.

Overall Rating
I give Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone a 2/10. For the most part I didn’t like it. Yet, somethings, such as the voices and mine cart part, kept me from saying that this is the bottom of the pit when it comes to games. If you are a big Harry Potter fan…you prob won’t enjoy this…but I’m not saying that you won’t. If you aren’t a big Harry Potter fan, you won’t enjoy this. If you have never read the book or seen the movie you won’t understand the game (probably) that is how badly the story is developed.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 12/20/02, Updated 12/20/02


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