Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Review for PC

On: PCXbox 360PS3WiiDSPS2PSPGBA
A game full of chores isn't really a fun game
A game full of chores isn't really a fun game

A game full of chores isn't really a fun game

Harry Potter seems to be loved by everyone and it's easy to see why. The story of a young wizard in training who takes on enemies well above his status, only to get in trouble over and over again is something kids can relate to and parents can read/sit through without too much pain. You'd think video games of Harry would be a no brainer then. Boy with magic takes on evil doers with the help of his friends - sounds simple enough.

The problem with the Potter games is that they come paired with the movies, with this year's game based on the forthcoming Order of the Phoenix. Movies pack everything into a few hours, whereas games need to last a lot longer. This means that all the boring stuff that didn't make it into the movie is what you'll be doing in the game. So, in Harry's latest you spend most of your time at Hogwarts, recruiting school mates for Dumbledore's army (D.A. Members).

Playing a game inside a faithfully recreated Hogwarts (which does look rather nice across all systems) might sound like a great idea, but carrying out what boil down to chores isn't so much fun. Order of the Phoenix isn't a long game, with the conclusion to a poorly told story coming at about 6-8 hours, but when you're constantly running around Hogwarts doing menial tasks it seems a lot longer. You do have the Marauders Map to help you find people and places (plus footprints that mark your route) but you'll still spend most of your time wandering about.

A typical task involves Harry getting something for someone, with the item in question usually being out of reach. Depending on the item you'll either have to slowly climb up to the item's location or repeat the same action over and over again as it moves from location to location. It's dull in the extreme. Numerous side tasks, such as lighting fires, cleaning up leaves, finding plaques and opening up shortcuts probably seemed like a nice idea, but most just add to the tedium.

'A typical task involves Harry getting something for someone, with the item in question usually being out of reach.'

Hogwarts is nicely put together but most kids surely want to do more than pesky chores - even if they get to use magic in the game. In Order of the Phoenix you cast spells by moving your wand, with the right analogue stick on PS2, 360 and PS3, and with the Wii-mote and Nunchuck on Wii. Both systems work well, although I found the analogue stick gestures a little harder to pull off. On the other hand, the Wii-mote motions seem a little more sluggish. Motion controls via the Sixaxis on PS3 are an option, but they seem clumsy and are best turned off.

You'll learn an increasing number of spells as you progress through the game, but I found Wingardium Leviosa (the spell that makes objects fly) and Incendio (ignites things) to be the most frequently called upon. Others of note include Reparo (repairs broken objects), Depulso (pushes objects), Accio (pulls objects) and Reducto (breaks objects). It's all very nice, but you never do anything all that exciting with them.

Combat spells are almost not worth mentioning. Duels crop up only a handful of times throughout the game, and when they do you can simply hammer out the same spell until you win - if defeat is possible I didn't experience it. Combat also hampers the end of the game, which seems rather rushed after the lengthy process of recruiting 28 D.A. Members and sending them to a meeting in the Room of Requirement.

The Wii game probably has the edge on controls, but the others work well too.

The Wii game probably has the edge on controls, but the others work well too.

In what can only be called an interactive mess, you take part in numerous battles (not only as Harry) and are whisked along through the most incomprehensible storyline I've ever witnessed. Unless you've read the books or play the game after you've seen the movie, the events of the final section will be completely baffling. Cutscenes throughout the game seem rather hastily put together, but the final few are almost broken.

Appearing across Xbox 360, PS3, PC, PS2 and Wii, Order of the Phoenix had every right to look a little shabby, but EA has done an impressive job at bringing Hogwarts and the characters to life. The next-gen versions clearly look the best, but the Wii and PS2 games aren't hugely dissimilar bar a drop in texture quality and character detail. The frame rate also stutters a little more on the previous-gen systems. Voice work and music is also impressive, although the in-game cutscenes often ruin the sense of immersion due to some horribly animated characters.

While the core mechanics of Order of the Phoenix are verging on excellent, the game that's been built around them is basically a series of chores in disguise. If you must play the latest Potter adventure then the 360 and Wii versions are most recommended (Achievement points and Wii controls respectively), but there's really little to separate them. With a solid spell system in place and a nicely rendered Hogwarts, maybe EA will remember to build a solid game around them next time.

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12 Comments

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topgamer's Avatar

topgamer

OK...Here goes. It isn't a good game. That's only what anyone can say who has played this. The first bit is a little fun but when you get up to recruiting people. You come to a brick wall with no dynomite. And no footholds. The graphics aren't that good either. In the mystery room, it gives you interviews with the cast and they say that the graphics were so clever how the analysed their faces. I'm not sure I agree. PLUS, a bit everyone hates who plays this with me. The voices. You are walking around with these goons following you saying, 'need some help?' 'are you Ok harry?' 'students, students, students' And so on. I think a 5 is too high. I think a 3.5 would suit it much better.

Topgamer.
Posted 13:13 on 08 May 2010
topgamer's Avatar

topgamer@ gameboy

Well, It's not that I don't like him, it's that the game is crap. Period.
Read my comment for more.
Posted 13:07 on 08 May 2010
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TRBO RAD

Well got the game when it first came out for the Wii really wanted it for my 360 but for $10 cheaper and the advantage of moving the wii mote and nunchuck to cast spells i was SOLD.....got home and casting spells on the wii was like performing a brain surgery with no experience what sooo ever..... and wizard duels are terrible when u try to cast a protection spell to repel an incoming spell and end up casting an attack spell and end up losing i did a spell of my own its called curse-ious break-ous which means curse at the screen and throw my wii controls but on the positive the graphics are pretty good and wondering roun hogwarts has nvr been more rewarding other than that pretty bad... and i have no complaints on other HP games
Posted 04:22 on 02 December 2008
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scott

This game to me was very disappointing compared to all previous HP games that I've played. Some reviewers gave it a pass due to great graphics, but that happens alot with nex-gen games. The PC install takes up 4+ Gigs but the game is less than 10 hours long..
Most HP games in the series weren't all that great, but this is ridiculous.. it's basically a virtual HogWarts walking tour. Hard to imagine all the production $ and staff for a game this bad. EA made some decent HP games where there was actually gameplay, but this is what happens when game development is focused on GFX and less concerned with the actual game.
Posted 22:13 on 16 July 2008
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chuchu

how do u do the speaker thing??????!!!!!
Posted 20:47 on 28 March 2008
DHWANIL's Avatar
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DHWANIL

Harry Potter Is The Best Game Ever I Have Seen
Posted 16:48 on 13 March 2008
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Wido

All right game seeing as it's following from the film. Great graphics i would give it that, Hogwarts looks good. But the main story-line to me was short, and after you completed it there wasn't that much to do. But if you wanted the Gamescore and the Achivements i reckon-mend it if your into online gaming.
Posted 09:37 on 24 July 2007
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neighborlee

Its clear that EA could have added more 'quests' to the game aleviating some of the 'chores' which were not in movie ( have not read books but I assume they are there in book,) - but what is here as stated in part in review is indeed an amazing hogwarts both visually, magically and yes overall I think gameplay wize too. I mean face it, most people saw the movie first THEN the game at least that is how I did it. I am so glad I did too ;)

The entire series captures the spirit of friendship as it approaches adveristy and rises to the occasion , and overall I think EA did a fantastic job, and I'm VERY glad I have the Wii version ;)

have fun and make sure you see movie first as its incredible. :)

IGN review is much more flattering, so remember its WHO does the reviewing ;)

cheers
g.leej
Posted 22:19 on 21 July 2007
Koala76's Avatar

Koala76

I love harry potter he rocks i have met fred and goerge(the weasley twins)(oliver and james)At hollywood blv. theater my friends took me it was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(im not lying)
Posted 00:08 on 20 July 2007
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gameboy

harry potter rules and he is so COOL!!!!

AND OF ANY OF YOUS DONT LIKE HIM YOUS ARE ALL STUPID!!!!
Posted 16:33 on 15 July 2007
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ hi

Not having played the game I find it hard to comment on a review written about it. I'm slightly surprised mini-games like Wizards' Chess and Gobstones weren't mentioned, and the review as a whole gave a totally different impression to what I'd read elsewhere. (One review called it "Grand Theft Auto: Hogwarts).

Sounds like buying the book for £4.99 would give better entertainment per hour per £ value than buying the game for £39.99.

I think die hard Pottermaniacs will buy it anyway, (or have Nan buy it for them) and love every minute of it. I was slightly tempted to get it as I've read all the books and seen the first 4 films but the EA logo on anything tends to scare me off.

Now that I've read the review I'll do a bit more research before I make a purchasing decision on it, so in that respect it was very helpful, thanks!
Posted 14:57 on 15 July 2007
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hi

i think that harry potter is great
Posted 13:57 on 15 July 2007

Game Stats

System Requirements
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
5
Out of 10
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Spell system works well
  • Hogwarts has been brilliantly recreated
  • End feels almost broken
  • Quite dull
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 29/06/2007
Platforms: PC , Xbox 360 , PS3 , Wii , DS , PS2 , PSP , GBA
Developer: Electronic Arts
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC PG
Site Rank: 5,744 51
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