Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 Review (PS4)
It’s time to get serious *draws angry eyebrows on Lego face*
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
And we’re back with Lego Harry Potter. What, you think I’d only play the first game? Of course not, it was already released (and it’s not like I didn’t read the books and watched the movies) so can’t exactly forget everything that happened.
Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 again sounds just like the title, with the main difference of this being the second half of Harry’s Hogwarts years and this releasing later. The carefree days are over as Harry is no longer dealing with weak ass Voldemort or weak underlings. In fact, Voldemort was recently reborn to full power due to the shenanigans during the Goblet of Fire’s Triwizard Tournament. It’s serious now. Starting at Order of the Pheonix and ending on Deathly Hollows, we see Harry struggle against the Death Eaters and Voldemort who takes any chance at capturing and killing (or torturing) Harry and his friends. But not before Harry and his friends find all of the horcruxes and destroy them so Voldemort will finally be killed and won’t be able to come back.
This game actually was a lot more faithful to the movies than the first game. Which is good for those looking for it to be more accurate. Though, there isn’t that many jokes or humorous moments that you can miss if you look down or turn your head, though it makes sense as this is when the series got serious. It does also follow along with making Ron mainly the butt of the joke, rather than everyone. You can also tell what’s happening in the story still despite only having the mumbles from the Lego mouths, though, I did have a couple moments where I did not know what they were going for, even as someone that watched the movie and read the books.
The gameplay here is more or less the same here, but there have been changes. Everything is still made out of Legos, with a lot of items letting you destroy them to get studs (the currency here) and there are more where you use wingardium leviosa to mess with it to get studs as well, with some having you do it multiple times to sprout out even more studs. You’ll also be teamed up with different characters, and there are even a couple scenes you play where Harry isn’t present, which you can switch between anytime or when the solution to move on requires their special ability (like bringing out their pet or a special item they get in that movie/book like Hermione’s bag). But, you do start out with around half of the spells you got in the first game, with wingardium leviosa being the default for the secondary spell so you don’t have to switch to it all the time. The rest of the slots will mainly be filled with new spells you learn from class. The potions are more or less the same here as well, though they don’t play as much of a part like they did in the first as you’ll mainly make the exploding potions.
Although, it was a bit annoying having Reducto being locked away again. It’s fine taking away around half to make way for new spells, just so players won’t be overwhelmed and it lessens stress on making puzzles, but not when it’s a spell you already learned the previous year.
Puzzles also return in being the main way of getting through the chapters. Like before, you’ll have puzzles where you’ll need to find items which can be found after destroying a pile of items, using one of your spells to get it to appear or detach from whatever it’s attached to so you can get it, build the object you need from multiple pieces you have to find, and/or use a character’s special ability. There even comes with new puzzles, one with the new spell diffindo which works on red bricks where you’ll cut out an outline like stairs and then combine them together to get it. Some characters will also ask for an item before they’ll give you what you need or before continuing.
Luckily, the puzzle where you attach real Legos together isn’t often used, I only noticed two places with one being required right at the beginning. Which is great since it is still bad (and even worse since the required one had the camera in the worst angle. I also didn’t like the puzzles where someone is asking for an item, which pops up a lot in the beginning. This is mainly due to the item the person is wanting mostly being like a couple steps away or they do an action that you could have easily done yourself. Like seriously ladle guy, you’re as bad as my mom with you being too lazy to walk a couple steps to get your ladle. I also found a lot more of the puzzles frustrating, especially since a lot of the items you need to find are placed where you wouldn’t think is something you can destroy or mess with, there’s something unseen that you still need to blast off, and/or you have no idea what the game wants you to do until you figure it out.
There is a lot more combat here, and in fact it comes in almost right away. I do feel the targeting got better here as just firing will more than likely hit the enemy. Expecto patronum is still iffy, but not a lot of dementors come around (not counting the beginning). This also brings in a dueling circle, which will be used a lot as time goes on. The circle half with your opponent will change color and you basically have to change your spell with that corresponding color, fire it off, and then button mash so you win the stand off. You can also cast a shield so you don’t get hurt from the enemy’s attack. Though, the color can change to a spell that the character doesn’t have and you’ll just have to wait until it changes. And this does get a bit old once bosses require you to do it multiple times in a row.
Talking about bosses, while there is the “wait for an item you can use wingardium leviosa on to throw it back”, there is a bit more variety here. And also, the controls for when you can throw the item is a lot better, not having to let go of the button and then quickly go back to hold it, but instead pushing the stick to the enemy and letting go of the button worked a lot better. While there was more variety in the boss battles here, I just didn’t find a lot of them fun to go through. I’d say about half annoyed me. Some just didn’t telegraph what you were supposed to do like how the puzzles devolved into or it was just frustrating.
The same collectibles also return. Collecting a lot of studs in a chapter will grant you True Wizard, there’s Students in Peril, character portraits (which I found they made sure you unlock at least one variant of each character), Hogwarts Crests which you have to find all four parts for it to count, Red Bricks to unlock the ability to purchase cheats, and gold bricks which you get for completing chapters, chapter goals, finding all the collectibles, or doing a secret. The studs you collect throughout the game will be compiled into your total amount for buying the unlocked, buyable collectibles just like before (though you don’t get the option to go to the Leaky Cauldron after every chapter anymore).
Though I did have some other problems. I did have the AI not do their wingardium leviosa half, requiring me to let go of it and grab onto it again until they decide to finally do their part and I found the aquamenti had wonky aiming. While having wingardium leviosa being a default secondary spell is great, it also messes with other spells or actions tied to the same button if you’re by an object that can be levitated, and it can also cause the game to think you don’t have a different spell selected. There were multiple times I had a character’s pet or animagus form selected, but after accidentally using wingardium leviosa, it just wouldn’t do what I actually wanted to do, making me select the spell again.
Also, if you have the Collection edition, the select screen where you select which game to go into will just have it go between both games (either slow or so fast you just have to hope you press X at the right time) by itself, which is annoying.
It was such a surprise going from the first game into this one as the graphics got a major upgrade in between games. It’s weird to say this for a Lego game, but everything looks so much nicer here it’s crazy. Though, one thing I didn’t like was the angle when you’re traveling through the bridge, I liked the outside view from the first game a lot more than the inside view we got here. My favorite part has to be the Tale of the Three Brothers as that just looks so good with the dark fairy tale aesthetic.
While I had a lot more moments here that I didn’t like or enjoy, Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 did prove to still be a good game and a fun one most of the time. Not to mention the upgrade to the Lego graphics and the quality of life updates that were put in. It probably isn’t a question whether to get this game if you already played the first Lego Harry Potter, but if you find yourself asking whether it’s worth getting the full package, I’d say yes. Even if you’re only doing the story and not interested in getting every collectible. For the most part, I did have fun for the couple days I took playing to get rid of my Lego Harry Potter urge and I don’t regret it.
Now in terms of which Lego Harry Potter game I liked the most, I’d say Years 1-4. Half because I like these movies more than the other four and I had a bit more fun there and liked the puzzles more.