Review by keyblade101

"A carbon copy of it's predecessor that feels remarkably empty"

Ok so in this instalment of the Harry Potter franchise, you follow the exploits of the titular character as he attends his first year at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learning spells and playing Quiditch , whilst unravelling the mystery of the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's stone. This is the premise that EA games would have you believe and that we would all love to see unfortunately the finished product is… well disappointing to say the least.

Let's start off with the positives… if there are any. First of all the game is fun…ish. Working out puzzles and exploring the “spell challenge” dungeons are the best part of this game without a doubt and are fun to play through. Although the puzzles are simplistic and shouldn't stump anyone over the age of 5, there is something fun about casting spells at things to solve them. Another good aspect of the game is Hogwarts it's self… It's huge compared to the original PlayStation One game and is something to behold as you soar above it on your broomstick, which should satisfy any die hard fans.

Now on to negatives… which there are many… The most obvious is that this game is EXACTLY the same as the “Chamber of Secrets” game released before this one was. Hogwarts has changed very little physically between the games and the tasks have all been done before, i.e. collect potion ingredients, fly through some hoops, sneak past some prefects etc. However, this game is a lot emptier than its predecessor with very little to do in Hogwarts besides look for cards in classroom desk. The story doesn't help this as you usually just go to class rooms leaving large portions of the map untouched. Gone are the fun mini-games like Gnome tossing. Gone is the Quiditch Cup, as you play ONE rather infuriating game of ride the bucking bull whilst trying to aim for some rings. Gone is any sense of Coherence in the plot. With only ONE new spell, “spongify”, you wonder why Harry was to learn all his spells again in the next game! The whole sneaking element from the last game has vanished, leaving a very lacklustre and half arsed feel as you only sneak to the Library (AGAIN). Wizard cards no longer have “fixed locations” and so it is random which one you get, meaning u have to swap any spared you have. This takes all the fun out of collecting and makes it far too easy to collect them all. The monsters that you fight are also exactly the same as the previous game, with the exception of few trolls, and are rather infuriating (especially Ghosts and Gytrashes, tend to attack you before you've even lit your wand. All this leads to the game feeling very short and rushed and not very enjoyable

Visually the character models look nice, with a whole cartoony feel to them that has carried through from “Chamber of Secrets”, however Voldemort and Quirell look plain awful. Where this game really falls down is the voice acting. URG it's just plain awful. Harry's “RP” English accent sounds like some American stereotype of what the English sound like and Hermione is just plain amateur (most notably when Ron is unconscious on the floor and she gives a rather half hearted “nooo”). NCP are just as badly acted and constantly repeat the same lines again and again and again and again …

In conclusion, if you are a Die hard potter fan, you may want to play this to “live the book” but apart from that I wouldn't bother spending ANY money on it and instead I would recommend playing “The chamber of secrets”.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Originally Posted: 07/08/11

Game Release: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (EU, 12/12/03)

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