Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the videogame Review for PS3

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the videogame screenshot
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the videogame screenshot

Between famously refusing to allow development on any official Harry Potter RPGs and threatening legal action on anyone who violates the IP, J.K. Rowling has guarded the Potter license in a way that makes George Lucas' protection of Star Wars look like he sends gold-plated champagne to everyone who Photoshops a picture of Chewbacca into an animated GIF. You might remember Rowling's lawsuit from back in 2008 that had her shutting down distribution of an independent Harry Potter lexicon, and similarly Warner Brothers' lawsuit against a Bollywood film with a name that only vaguely sounded like its own Potter film's title. Rowling's material seems like the perfect candidate for a game environment, but it's being protected in such a way that makes it incredibly difficult to develop anything more than a film tie-in.

Deathly Hallows might have been marketed as an attempt to make a game that resonates with Potter's maturing audience, but it still hasn't escaped that tie-in status. Occasionally EA Brightlight manages to approach the canon with traditional shooter tropes, and when it works well it comes off like a relatively clever take on the genre. There's the issue of death, for example: Potter isn't allowed to die at any point in the games because it would be at odds with the canon, so Brightlight tries to bypass this with a decidedly vague fade-to-black-and-white tactic - a spin on the 'Red Ring' health system that you'll see in any standard shooter, as the player loses health over time.

However, the game never takes hold of the genre full force. You're still just dealing with the story of a boy who can just do a bit of magic, with Potter now on the run with a plan to find and destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes - objects that retain pieces of his soul. He, Hermione and Ron have left Hogwarts to take what they've learned at school and put it to some use against the magic Fascists over at the Ministry of Magic, and then eventually take out Volde himself. The result is a game that tries to balance two different frames of reference.

One takes it down the path of Potter's endgame, which has been edging increasingly further toward darker themes the closer it gets to its last chapter. The other tries to take on Harry from a shooter perspective, to stay relevant amongst the demographic of now-teenagers who have grown up with the series.

What you eventually receive is a limited third-person shooter that never innovates beyond the level of a film tie-in, but one that astutely targets a modern audience of Potter fans. In essence, this means it tries to bring in a few modern ideas from other shooters but stops short of making these features anything more than sort of functional.

For example, targeting an enemy will give you the opportunity to take a headshot – A headshot in a Potter game! Imagine that! – but only sometimes. Your reticule will immediately snap to either the body or the head of an enemy without giving you the ability to move it more precisely; this leaves you with a fully functioning combat system with a level of complexity aimed at a particular age group - one that still hasn't worked out how to play anything more in-depth than an extended shooter tutorial. Depending on how you take the game – as just another Potter tie-in, or as Potter the Shooter – then this style of easy-does-it attacks will get a slightly different response.

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CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

I would think that all the time spent getting Hogwarts to be so perfect in the previous two games was completely wasted because pretty much no part of this (and less than half of the next one) takes place in the castle! Such a shame that what sounds like it could have been something great has instead turned into something banal.

That opening paragraph made me giggle, but the rest of it made me think. Good read, Ms. Gera!
Posted 00:56 on 20 November 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ Geraface

pregnancy?
Posted 21:24 on 19 November 2010
Geraface's Avatar

Geraface@ SexyJams

I think it was about nine months. Supposedly a lot of these bugs had been dealt with months ago so I haven't a clue what's going on.
Posted 21:08 on 19 November 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

I wonder how long they actually spent on the game.
Considering the repetitive and buggy nature you described, doesn't sound like they spent enough time on it at all.
Posted 18:39 on 19 November 2010

Game Stats

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the videogame
5
Out of 10
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the videogame
  • Uses modern Shooter tropes
  • Ambitious take on the franchise
  • Extremely buggy
  • Very repetitive
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 19/11/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC , Wii , DS
Developer: EA Bright Light studio
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 13,994 38
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