LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 review

I’ve played a fair few LEGO games through the years and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I think they’re fantastic, well developed titles that bring a comical element to the movies they’re based on. LEGO Indiana Jones wasn’t too bad, but my favourite is of course LEGO Star Wars which is closely followed by LEGO Batman. But how does LEGO Harry Potter stack up against the previous LEGO games?

You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned the other LEGO Harry Potter games in that above list, and that’s because despite my love of LEGO games I strangely haven’t played them. I was never really into the movies, and only read a few of the books when I was younger. So playing LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 was through the eyes of someone who is new to the series. And it’s great to see that the winning formula of taking the main elements of the movie, adding bucket loads of humour and finishing it off with easy to pick up gameplay hasn’t disappeared.

One thing I will mention before going any further is you should really watch the final few films before playing Years 5-7. The basics of the plot can be picked up if you haven’t seen them (I haven’t seen the last 3 and it didn’t spoil my enjoyment), but you’ll enjoy it so much more and have a better appreciation for the various jokes that are to be found in the games cut scenes.

A world built by LEGO.

So what exactly is a LEGO game and what does it have to do with Harry Potter? For those that have never played a LEGO game on a console, you’re missing out. Set in a LEGO built world in the various locations found in the movies, the focus is on enjoyment. The main aspects of the films are captured in the games world with TT Games own spin added. Your team of characters progress through the world by completing puzzles and defeating enemies, collecting studs along the way to unlock other goodies further down the line. This is the main theme to all of the LEGO games, and it’s no different in LEGO Harry Potter.

As you’d expect in a LEGO game set in the world of Harry Potter, your weapons are your wands and a select few spells, whilst the puzzles are magic based. You’ll be required to magically move pieces of LEGO from one place to another, or using the same spell assemble LEGO pieces to create something. You’ll at times be tasked to move light from one lamp to another, or use the correct spell to ward off and defeat the death eaters that are taking over the Wizarding world.

The levels themselves are made up of various puzzles and problem solvers. You’ll at times be required to perform specific tasks to advance through the level. But don’t think that because this game is for ages 7+ what you have to do is simple and spelled out because simply put, it’s not. There are some elements that will frustrate you because you can’t figure out what to do next, but the one thing I can guarantee is that the answer will be simpler than you expected. One said task occurs in The Deathly Hallows Part 1 where you’re required to open a door to continue. To do this various parts of the cave need to be accessed, and it was accessing one particular area that I really struggled. The puzzle that need to be completed was found quite high up, and whilst I could theoretically see how to get up there, I couldn’t find a stairway or any other form of path, and in the end I lucked into the solution by accidentally turning the wrong light out which then revealed the solution to my problem. It’s this aspect of the LEGO games, the requirement to think your way around the levels rather than simply coasting through them that make them so enjoyable and accessible to not just children, but also adults.

How deep is a tub of LEGO?

There’s not a great amount of depth to the levels, with only a few spells regularly used in your selection wheel, and some of the puzzles such as ones made specifically for Hermione feature very rarely. The length of each of the movies is also quite short, with each one taking no more than 3 hours to complete. However the added extras and replay value in previous LEGO games has been huge, and it’s no different in Years 5-7.

Firstly the Free Play returns, meaning once a level has been completed you can replay it with a various selection of characters. Pick wisely as there will be areas and puzzles that could not be completed during the story because they are character specific, such as only death eaters only being able to destroy specific blocks. As you do not play as a Death Eater through the main story, you will need to unlock and use them to pick up hidden red bricks, golden magician hats, or hidden characters.

LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 is once again a fantastic title by TT Games, which not only looks very good on the Vita, but also keeps things simple using the more traditional controls throughout the game. It does utilise the Vita’s touchscreen by allowing players to select and cast spells by pressing on the screen, as well as helpful hint icons appearing on screen for you to press. There is one element that looks shocking however on the Vita, and it’s one area where the LEGO games are usually so strong. The cut scenes looks shocking, in that they appear pixelated and blurry. It’s as if they were created on a screen smaller than the Vita’s and then stretched to appear in the correct resolution.

In conclusion…

However that’s just one minor disappointment in an otherwise well made title. The Deathly Hallows Part 1 is strangely short compared to the other available movie levels, and the range of spells and their use could have been improved. However LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 is another fantastic LEGO title which will keep you occupied for hours and which can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages.

Game details

Game title: LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7
Reviewed on: PS Vita
Available for: PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, Wii, DS, 3DS
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Strengths: Easy to pick up for all ages. Fun and enjoyable. The old TT humour is evident once again. Duelling club offers something different.
Weaknesses: Video quality is really poor. Lack of depth in spell use. Bit on the short side.
Score: 8 out of 10

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