In the interests of saving everyone some time, I'd like you to answer the following questions as honestly as possible. Believe me, it's better for us all this way:
1. Does the idea of playing a Harry Potter video game for literally hours on end sound unappealing to you?
2. Do you think that, in spite of the fact they're enjoyable, the LEGO series of games has been getting away with a lot, and the fact they're inherently cute isn't a good enough excuse for essentially putting out the same game since LEGO Star Wars?
If the answer to either or both of those questions is yes, then thank you very much for your time and don't let the door hit your curmudgeonly backside on the way out. You may as well move on, as there's nothing here to change your opinion. As for the rest of you, it's away to Hogwarts we go!
There's something I find comfortingly familiar about TT's LEGO series. Each new license the franchise tackles has resulted in a game - or games - with a core experience that hasn't really deviated from a set template over the past six years. Players still move cute little figurines around different environments, smashing things up, collecting studs, platforming, solving the occasional puzzle and fighting the odd battle.
But, for all of its repetition, there has never been a LEGO game released (since TT started making them, anyway) that could ever be described as boring. The British developer always adds just enough new features to make each experience feel fresh. It also assembles every game with a love and understanding of the license it's tied to that is evident in every pixel and frame.
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is no different in this regard, and it's also easily the best game tied to a Warner Bros. film franchise since... well, since the last time TT made a LEGO Harry Potter game. Players take control of the bespectacled wizard and his Hogwarts pals (along with some of the nastier characters around him) and work their way through the latter three entries in Potter canon; the Order of the Phoenix, the Half-Blood Prince and the Deathly Hallows.
As with the books and films, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is far darker in tone than what's gone before it, although the good humour of the LEGO series takes a little of the edge off the proceedings. Not too much, mind, and it's a testament to TT's extensive knowledge of the source material that it manages to absolutely nail the different characters in terms of their individual personalities with just a couple of noises and gestures.