Review: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (VG)

Repetition, repetition, repetition…

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Format: Xbox 360/PlayStation 3
Certificate: 12+
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA
Players: 1
Released: Out now
Price: £49.99

The last Harry Potter game, Order Of The Phoenix, was a mixed bag. EA had nailed the presentation of Hogwarts but seemingly forgotten that there needs to be something in between – the gameplay was frightfully dull. With Rowling’s books getting darker and edgier with each iteration, though, there was some hope that Electronic Arts’ dedication to capturing the feel would allow the next step to rise above licensed videogame hell. This hasn’t exactly been the case.

As you would imagine, every expected box has been ticked. The recognisable faces, making magic potions, engaging in wizard duels and Quidditch – bizarre, bizarre Quidditch… As such, anyone enamoured with the franchise will be pleased but before long, this all falls by the wayside and the same old problems rear their heads. It’s easy to see that EA’s main goal is to make the Harry Potter videogame experience a pleasant one – regardless of age you’re unlikely to be taxed to any great extent. This decision, however, has once more meant The Half-Blood Prince becomes exceptionally boring after a few hours of play. There’s a painful amount of time required just wandering around the school, a novelty that wore off two years ago. Yes, you progress through the story from the book but it lacks the same impact because it fails to go all-out with it. Considering the game comes with a 12+ rating, EA could’ve pushed the boat much further. Instead, what’s left is a set of monotonous errands that will only really appeal to the youngest of Potter fans.

Much like the previous instalment, this certainly isn’t bad. It simply never gets out of first gear and neglects to generate the same sensation of the novel and the films. Admittedly this will matter little to die-hard enthusiasts but we fear even they may eventually grow tired of the repetition.