Sunday, August 9, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Review

Platform: PC
Genre: Basicly Action/adventure, but I think it's something totally new and revolutionary: WS (walking-simulator)

While installing the game I was asking myself: "Do I really wanna do this ?". I played all Harry Potter games (except for the Quidditch world-thingy) and finished all of them till Order of the Phoenix. The first 3 were childish but pretty fun and time consuming, the 4th ... eh
eh... and the 5th introduced the move-your-mouse-this-way-to-do-this-spell (something like in Arx Fatalis) which, for me at least, didn't work so well... so I watched it fly from my balcony (now, that was magic). After 30 minutes of gameplay, the mouse-drawing-spell-thingy was in this one too, but it worked better, it didn't mix up the spells. While playing, I actually said to myself "Hey it might be pretty good, of course now I'm just following stupid Ron everywhere, but this is just the tutorial or something." .... well..... WRONG !!!!!

The whole game you walk around Hogwarts, collecting (if you wish) stupid shit just for the fun of it... oh and you get some upgrades from time to time, but

nothing too spectacular. Your HUD is empty, no life, no spell (cause you have a different mouse scheme for each one), in fact, why need one, when all you do is walk...and walk... and collect Hogwarts crests . There are 125 big ones which you just run over, or jump on some carpets, or throw stuff at them (if they're nailed to a wall), and 25 which you get from collecting miniature crests. The little ones you can't see but you release from certain object which have a "aura" around them. Of course, they have a bad habit of pouring out and going through anything, so you will lose some of them.
If you do something right with the aura (I finished the game and still didn't get what), even more crst than usual will come out

The graphics are ok, I couldn't find my 1680x1050 resolution, so I had a nice black line, but no problem. If you like gothic architecture, then you will love walking around Hogwarts. One problem though, from the middle of the game on, Dumbledore and Slugthorne have lost their will to move their lips when talking. Oh, I get it.... it's magic ! And sometimes the voice-acting is bellow average. I don't know who recorded the voices, I didn't have the nerves to read the credits.

I haven't seen the movie, but in the game a lot of details are skiped... or the producers of the game think that everybody read the books. All the out-of-Hogwarts, Riddle's memories and other major/important events are presented in the form of cutscenes. It would've have been nice a little bit of interaction. Like for instance, when Harry and Dumbledore go for the Horcrux in the cave (this is actually the only one where you interact a bit), until you go out it 's only a boooring cutscene, that in the book may awake inside you a bit of pity for Dumbledore, but here you only get to hate him and want to kick his face. At the end of the cutscene you get to kill the undead (I know they had a name, but I forgot it, and it's not mentioned in the game) that come from the water.... This reminded me of space invaders. Good game that was. You move Harry left and right and shoot. WOOOOW. Also very touchy scene from the book, Dumbledore's funeral where everyone is gathered watching Hagrid put the body on the white tomb and Fawkes sings one last song.... they just decided to put credits instead. It just shows Fawkes fly over Hogwarts and a white light (which you can see if you stare at the monitor). Also the game is clearly made for a younger audience, because at the scene where Harry casts sectumsempra on Draco Malfoy and blood should start pouring from every one and each of his holes it just shows Harry cast the spell and then... Snape comes in... dialog... loading.

Besides the walking, there are 3 mini-games, actually 3 "clubs". The potions club, the duelling club (divided in 4 minor ... clubs, one for each house) and the Quidditch matches. At the potions club you have to follow a list of instructions (turn X until it gets yellow, put in 5 whatever, mix it and so on.... of course, you use your mouse to make the exact moves.... annoying), at Quidditch the only thing you have to do is to control your character with your mouse to get inside some stars (no acceleration or brake or whatever). The interesting one, and the thing that kept me playing are the duels. You get to fight 4 opponents from each house. You can use stupify (basic attack, which can be charged up) by left-clicking, protego (blocking) by right-clicking, Expelliarmus (stun) by moving your mouse counter-clockwise, petrificus totalus (freeze enemy) by moving your mouse verticaly and levicorpus (turn enemy upside-down and stun) by moving mouse horizontaly. (note: i might have mixed up the moves for the last, didn't use them as much). The duels are pretty fun, you can combine them so you don't get hit at all, but the opponents are Retards so ... don't bother.... just expelliarmus, and while he's down you go beside him and stupify the shit out of him.

So.... ..... well.... no.

Oh I forgot. There are two scenes when you play as a drugged (actually someone who took a potion) character. First you play as Ronald Weasley who drank a love potion without knowing. Everythimg is pink, hearts fly everywhere, the mini-crests are shaped as hearts and... it's the dumbest thing I've ever seen. Second you "play" as Harry after taking the Felix Felicius potion, which makes him lucky. Harry moves on his own, you see from a first-person perspective, you can't do anything only get mini-crests out (and they always come in large numbers). Of course that scene is wrong too... it's just too... happy. There is a golden aura around the screen, some jazz music in the background and a running Harry.

the bad: potion-making, voice-acting, too much walking, Should be called Harry Potter ZERO (no sugar, no action)
the good: Visualy nice, perfect for children

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