The LEGO games have proven time and time again that simple, family-friendly gameplay and content can entertain all age groups. Ever since the first LEGO game was released back in 2007 (LEGO Star Wars), TT Fusion has managed to take a particular franchise, simplify it and turn it into a fun and exciting video game. You think of a popular, family-friendly movie franchise, and you’ll either find a LEGO game already made or one rumoured to be in production. Harry Potter was one of the first handful of franchises to get the LEGO treatment way back in 2010. However, would a game released back in 2010/2011 still be as fun today in 2018? Well, yes and no is the simple answer. Here is our LEGO Harry Potter Collection review.
Simply, if you are a Harry Potter fan, then these games are definitely for you. The collection combines the two original releases of Harry Potter Years 1-4 and Years 5-7. Much like previous LEGO releases, the LEGO Harry Potter Collection takes major points from each of the 7 books/8 films and squishes them all into the (now) one game. If you’re worried about not having time to play through each of the 7 different films, fear not. Generally, again, much like all the other LEGO video games, it doesn’t take too long at all to burn through the levels if you’re not bothering with finding all the studs or solving all the optional puzzles. I have never understood anyone who plays a LEGO game like this as half of the fun is trying to get all the studs (Complete Wizard) or solve all the puzzles, finding all the hidden collectibles. If you play as the game intends you to play, LEGO Harry Potter will provide you with hours worth of gameplay.
LEGO Harry Potter plays like all the LEGO games do, really; you’ll control Harry, Ron, Hermione, and a whole bunch of other characters from the Harry Potter world as you explore Hogwarts and other areas within the franchise. As you are playing students of Hogwarts and other such characters, you will have the use of your trusty magic wand as there are plenty of spells to learn (unlock) to use either in combat or to solve the dozens of puzzles that you’ll face in each level. Generally, the puzzles and combat (especially) are not too difficult. We all need to remember these are games that are primarily catered to a younger audience, so making them too challenging was never going to be an option. Some of the puzzles will leave you scratching your head for a while though, and once you have figured out the obvious solution, you’ll be laughing at yourself for not working it out the first time.
If the puzzles can be somewhat challenging, combat and especially boss battles are not. Most of the bosses you’ll encounter in the first collection (Years 1-4) will simply involve dodging and firing back objects that are thrown at you. In the second collection (Years 5-7), a dueling mini-game was introduced, but after the first one, you will easily pick this new mechanic up, and it will become just as easy as the previous boss battle style. One major frustration you’ll encounter time and time again during your Potter adventure is lining up an object to lift with your Wingardium Leviosa (yes, I totally just shouted that out loud while typing). A lot of the time, the difficulty with lining up an object will occur outside of the main puzzles. Good news for anyone not bothered with collecting every single stud or hidden object in a game but stupidly annoying for completionists who want to get everything they can get their hands on.
Speaking of completionists, they will have a field day with the LEGO Harry Potter Collection as there is an abundance of items to collect. There are 400 gold bricks, 48 Hogwart House crests, 40 red bricks, over 360 characters to unlock and 110 students in peril. You’ll encounter the students in peril around the hub areas and also throughout some levels. Simply put, they are usually just hanging from somewhere high, and you’ll need to construct something to help them down. Much like all previous LEGO games, you won’t be able to get 100% of everything during your first playthrough. You’ll need to replay levels in ‘Free Mode’ and select specific characters that will unlock a previously unlockable part of a level.
The story of Harry and his friends is told with the humour and wackiness you will come to expect from a LEGO game. As it originally released in 2010 and 2011, there is no voice acting as there is in the newer series entries, but the charm of the lack of voices still works here. What the LEGO Harry Potter collection also does well is in how the final parts of the franchise are handled for a younger audience as they are quite dark and can be upsetting to a child. One question I always seem to get asked about the LEGO games is whether or not someone should watch the films before playing the games. Well, it doesn’t ‘matter’ as the LEGO games do a great job in keeping the story going and making it easy to follow, but if you haven’t seen the film that the game you’re currently playing is based on, then some of the fantastic humour used to recreate scenes will be a bit lost on you.
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: WB Games
Platforms: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 30th October 2018