It’s time again to go gallivanting through Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and deep into the Ministry of Magic with LEGO’d versions of Harry Potter and friends in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7.
It goes without saying that the LEGO look fits the bill for the franchise as it targets the younger portion of the Harry Potter fanbase. Sadly, the gameplay also feels juvenile. There are moments that help redeem that image, not unlike what the Traveller’s Tales folks have done in the past, where they put a comedic spin on the emotionally charged sequences. These scenes are spread evenly throughout the game and they’re still funny, which makes one wonder how much longer they can stretch it.
Way back when, during games like Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, I remember having to use some level of deductive logic to solve the puzzles that get thrown at me during the game. In LEGO: Harry Potter’s puzzle-solving levels, it’s no more complicated than the first turn in Simon, or, when all else fails, blow everything up. I found the “Reducto” spell to be incredibly useful when I needed to utilize my temper tantrum technique (patent pending) and that item you were looking for cannot hide from you with an invisibility cloak.
The LEGO franchise has become a staple these past few years since its first appearance on the platforming genre with LEGO: Star Wars, but it continues to fail on these puzzle-solving levels. The game feigns difficulty by making only certain players able to perform certain tasks, which is quickly solved by a button press switch to another character when playing solo. It gives you all the tools you need throughout the game, presented clearly for novice gamers, but there’s no expansion on difficulty, no levels that make you set aside the controller and think about the best path to take. Even trial and error is hardly necessary in the title.
There’s something redeeming about the LEGO humor that can help us older Harry Potter fans smile through some of the pain, but it certainly is no remedy for all this game’s woes.
Review based on Xbox 360 release.