Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the videogame Review for Xbox 360

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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

Generally speaking the game doesn't hide its simplicity. You might have a decent enough reservoir of spells to tap into from the weapon wheel menu, but you can easily finish the game using Stupefy, the first spell the game grants you. Some enemies require a bit more variation with your spells: the fairies, for example, can only really be dealt with by throwing a potion at them that slows their speed, allowing you to take them out one-by-one using any basic spell.

And here's another bone the game throws you: the four-points system. This is a re-castable cookie crumb trail that functions as a very temporary roadway sign, directing you down the right path within each supremely linear environment. You might be asked to explore a house where most doors and exits are locked, leaving little to really explore at all. But regardless, Four Points can be a damn good system - if only because you can control it. Where some games would use a cookie crumb feature as a stand-in nanny to grip your hand like a vice and drag you to your next objective, Four Points only points you in the right way when you bother to cast it, and it only directs you down that route briefly before the glowing line disappears.

But there are bigger issues elsewhere. Deathly Hallows is, in theory, a game of two modes - allowing you to either stealth your way through areas without fighting, or to focus completely on combat, depending on your play style. I say "in theory” because Deathly Hallows doesn't seem to use stealth as a different way of reaching objectives - just as an alternate way of getting to inevitable combat. You might stealth toward the middle of a camp of enemies to save a locked-up Muggle, but there are no prizes for guessing what happens once you've unveiled yourself, rendering your previous stealthing pointless.

Considering most missions work identically – run through an area and have intermittent fights along a linear path until you reach your objective – it's tedious that you're unable to deal with these quests in different ways, and the stealth system is successful only in the sense that it hints at a more complex and interesting game.

Combat has a similar issue. On the one hand it's a clever mash-up of traditional shooter tropes. The AI might not be particularly clever, but cover degrades over time - meaning you inevitably have to move from area to area if you want to survive against big groups. On the other hand, and this is important, it's almost impossibly buggy. Harry regularly slides across the room, in and out of combat, whether you've got a hand on your controller or not. Ron and Hermione will often shoot at walls and non-existent enemies, while genuine foes will merge into walls. And these issues bleed through to Kinect. Potter is actually one of the only dramatic action games available for the add-on, designed as a basic on-rails shooter. But occasionally Harry will randomly turn to face the camera, shooting his wand toward the screen while magic flies out behind him. At other times he stops randomly in areas where enemies are behind walls and impossible to hit, refusing to move on from the area until they were cleared.

The game is full of good ideas tethered to a slop of bugs, but more significantly it's never much of anything. It's never varied enough to have interesting combat; it's never open enough to let you explore; it's linear but never driven enough by its narrative to be an enthralling, story-driven title. It's a impressively dark film tie-in, and an ambitious one at that, but don't expect anything more.

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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

Technical Specs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the videogame
5
Out of 10
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 the videogame
  • Ambitious take on the franchise
  • Uses modern Shooter tropes
  • Extremely buggy
  • Very repetitive
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 19/11/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , Wii , DS
Developer: EA Bright Light studio
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 4,958 8136
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