A guest review from a Harry Potter fan who goes by the name of LydiaInsane.
The latest Harry Potter game from Electronic Arts, once again offers much the same as the previous instalments, but has several nice new innovations.
It goes without saying that if you are not a fan of the boy wizard, then this game will not have much to offer you; but for those of you, like myself, that have read all the books and seen all the movies, this game will keep you and your friends entertained over Christmas. This is not a gamerís game, it is a Harry Potter game.
Harry Potter is a world wide phenomena and with Goblet of Fire, Electronic Arts will no doubt have another best selling game, but this will be mainly down to the franchise rather than game quality. First of all, yes this is for kids, it is fun and relatively easy to play and actually has a much lower age certificate than the Goblet of Fire movie itself.
For the most part the game does not follow the plot of either the book or the movies, and glosses through some of the most interesting sections of the story, such as the opening Riddle House scene and the Quidditch World Cup. Even the Triwizard Tournament sections have been somewhat loosely interpreted, but then this is a console platform game at heart. Graphics & Sound
This instalment is definitely the best looking of all the Harry Potter games, as the graphics are quite excellent; although I canít help but miss the classic John Williams theme music, so the soundtrack for the game just seemed to merge into the background. Iím not sure if the actors from the movie voiced their characters, but the voice acting was none the less was very good and Ronís comments especially made me laugh at times, although there isnít really a script to speak of.Game Play
Unlike some of the previous movie tie in games, you have a choice of whether to play Harry, Ron or Hermione, during the game each have an equal footing; although the price of upgrades for each character varies throughout the game, with Harry been the easier starting character for this reason. All the character models are fairly good likenesses but are still somehow a little creepy.
One of the most appealing features of the Goblet of Fire game is that you can play it with two of your friends. In many sections you have to work together as a team and cast spells together to create extra power. A special power up bar offers a combined attack option, but it can also be used in single player mode.
Upgrades in the game, are done by collecting various colours of Bertie Bottís Every Flavour Beans (which still run away from you), certain colours give you different things like health or fill your special bar. The final amount the collected in each level can be exchanged for game cards, which reveal a picture from the Goblet of Fire film when purchased and also gives you a spell or power upgrade you can use in the game. However you can only use three cards for each character during the game, it offers more to those who want to collect everything.
To progress through the game you collect shields, most of which are hidden in almost impossible to get to locations, smaller mini shield are also dotted around, but you need ten of these to equal one standard shield. Yep it looks like this game is all about the collecting of stuff, rather than what actually happens in the book or movie.
The Game play is very linear at times, but in other levels you find yourself having to repeat sections many times over and over again, just to progress to the next stage. As in many games of this format, the camera is somewhat annoying especially in 2 or 3 player games, although without split screen I guess this is unavoidable.
The difficulty level of the game is somewhat random, while it starts off easy enough; some levels are rather tricky, especially when you have to figure out how to get the last shield to open up the next section of the game.
Once again while the game play is adequate, it leaves you feeling a little empty handed, because although once you get to the Triwizard Tournament you follow the plot of the book and the movie more closely; the earlier levels are just running around, fighting creatures and collecting beans. Some of the mini games are fun, but once again completely ignore the story line.
One day I would love to play a Harry Potter game that truly allows you to explore Hogwarts and it surrounding and features more of the characters. The MMORPG, should not have been abandoned, as I think this is truly what Harry fans want. Conclusion
This game will without a doubt be in the gaming charts from now until Christmas, although fun in places I think it will leave many Harry Potter fans feeling somewhat let down. Play this game in three player mode with your Harry Potter loving friends to get the best out of it. I think despite the games obvious flaws it will be the perfect game for families over the Christmas holidays.