Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1

By Matt Greenop

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

With a host of videogames - some good, some very not good - behind it, the money-printing Harry Potter franchise should really have tried to go out with a bang.

Considering this title is published by gaming behemoth Electronic Arts and plays out the penultimate episode in the biggest money-spinning movie serial ever, fans and gamers expected a whole lot more than what has been delivered here.

It follows Harry (and usually Ron and Hermione) through numerous levels of essentially the same gameplay, along with a few environment-exploring efforts that are so devoid of action that they totally fall flat.

The game, as it had it to, abandons the happy little world of Hogwarts, and heads into darker territory. Voldemort is essentially in power again, and Team Potter need to destroy several horcruxes (used to gain immortality) before the Dark Lord can be taken down.

It does look good, and the surround audio is reasonably well matched to on-screen view steering, but the repetition - when three people are casting the same spell - will have many ready to kill the next person who says "stupendo".

The levels see you basically casting a handful of spells at oncoming hordes of death eaters and other nasties, picking up health, strength and potions as you kill them. This gets quite samey, but does border on exciting when the control system gets unresponsive.

Your AI assistants are usually more of a hindrance than anything, getting underfoot and blocking your shots at moderately challenging enemies. When you're trying to take a bit of initiative and using the invisibility cloak to sneak up on an enemy, one of your buds will dopily wander past, blowing the trick.

The Xbox version has an after-thought add-on mode for the new Kinect motion-sensing system that lets players cast spells by adopting various poses. It is also quite unresponsive, where, if adapted well, it could have been a good feature of a more action-heavy game than previous Potter titles.

This ultra-linear gamestyle probably let it down most; unfortunate when the developers had the opportunity to make a darker, more intense game to see the series out. Thankfully, there is still the second instalment to go - let's hope they get the finale right.

Rating: 2/5
Format: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii
Rated: M

- NZ Herald

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