Review by nacht_hymne
"A new edge to the Potter game."
Like every other Harry Potter game, the boy who lived is at it again with his buddies Ron and Hermione. In their 4th year at Hogwarts, the trio will be encountering new spells, all new areas and the much-anticipated Triwizard Tournament. This makes the fourth Harry Potter game released on the Xbox console, with an entirely different approach.
The gameplay is going to be much different for you if you're a fan of Harry Potter games. Unlike the past releases, the gameplay is based upon levels instead of a free-roam castle. It is a fresh idea, except you will have to enter these levels several times over (if you wish to complete the game 100%) which can get very irritating, simply because every time you pick up a Triwizard Shield you'll be deported out of the level instantly and there are lots of Triwizard Shields per level.
The controls are very basic, though they take a bit to remember each assigned spell since you start with all your basic spells. By the second or third level, you should have the controls down pat.
They've kept things very basic by reducing Harry's inventory to only collector cards and allowing you to encounter barely a handful of different monsters, but discovering new ways to dispel of these baddies makes up for a portion. Though this game lacks any true collecting of items (no more Notice Board!), you'll find yourself quite pleased at the new power of your collector cards. They've added sub quests inside certain levels, which spruce things up a bit.
The puzzles are quite straight forward, mostly living up to its 10+ rating.
The biggest disappointment may be for those who are stuck on the old gaming style of past Harry Potter games. If you can open your mind to something a bit new, then overall, this game should be fun & refreshing for you. The biggest tip was being able to play along with another person; it brought an edge to the game.
Gameplay rating 8/10
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
As you venture through it's Triwizard related obstacles, you'll notice how intricate the graphics really are. Everything runs quite smoothly and I have not run into any major glitches, as with past Xbox Potter games. While flying on your broom, you almost feel literally inside the game because of how beautiful the graphics scope around you.
The characters have realistic movements when you come to a running stop, you actually see Harry reluctantly stopping. Instead of a slight irk of the wand, you'll see them making hand movements that mimic actuality. The characters are well designed with smooth features, no rough or blocky figures.
Each jinx has an array of distinct color and a magical finale that'll bring you much entertainment. Items are easy to distinguish, and the only place you might find yourself getting lost is in the Forbidden Forest.
The menu is neat and easy to use. With basic options and a level inventory, there is really no getting confused about it. Each characters life and bean count is efficiently placed in the corners of the screen, along with their picture. The cut scenes behold superior graphics and animations that are truly awesome.
As for sound, your usual Harry Potter soundtrack orchestral pieces, here and there. They're all very fitting, for half the time I was too immersed in the gameplay to notice the music.
Overall, there is barely anything negative to say about the graphics or sound on this game. Everything is clean and simple, but detailed just enough.
Graphics and Sound rating 10/10
PLAY TIME/ REPLAYABILITY
Very unfortunately, you could complete this game in less than two hours. You can also make it last for more than 2 days, depending upon your goal within the game. With only 10 total locations that you can visit, the game feels like it's missing something. But fear not, most of these locations are quite lengthy to get through.
I would most definitely pick up this game again and again. It may lack some features, but no game is perfect. I do, however, recommend that you rent or try it out before making your final purchase.
Playtime/Replayability rating 7/10
OVERALL RATING 8/10
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/14/05
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