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LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 [DS]





A mysterious journey to post-apocalyptic Japan!

6.5

Fair
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Hard to describe"

Summary

Could this be the perfect game? Well... a post-apocalyptic world to explore. A mysterious storyline dealing with the aforementioned dystopia, as well as ghosts and demons. Fantastic art and production values highlighted by beautifully rendered cinematics and finally a main character who wields a flashlight controlled by the Wii remote. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon has got all that in its package. You play as a young boy named Seto as he searches for human survivors after most of the human race has died out. At the beginning of the game Seto's mentor (who he calls grandfather) tragically dies and he is left alone. For the most part, the game revolves around exploring the post-apocalyptic Japan. While the story is intriguing, what really brings this game home are the beautiful graphics and amazing audio. Fragile Dreams is an experience that is not only enjoyable visually, but it is a treat to the ears. The emotional elements like a haunting loneliness that pervades the world, the despair resonating in the voices of the characters are clearly in place and Fragile Dreams' development team, tri-Crescendo, has found the right mix for a game that is truly a wonderful experience. However, the haunting loneliness is also its downfall. The pace may be too slow for many gamers and it takes about an hour or so before the story really kicks in. For the first hour or two, you are just exploring and moving around a strange and freaky place. Whilst in its own right it is enjoyable, the fun starts to drain by the length of time it takes just to finish this small part of the game. The rest of the game starts to build up more quickly but it still isn't fast enough to suit many gamers. The truly wonderful experience is ruined by the slow-pace of the story and game-play. A game I wouldn't recommend however, some fans of horror may be patient enough to consider it enjoyable.




Like it or not, Lego has once again managed an incredible game on the DS. Not without a few minor blemishes, though.

8.5

Superb
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Solid"

Summary

All,

I write this after having played and beat Years 1-4 (and am currently at around 90% trying to unlock everything), thus my review.

The difficulty of this game overall is not too hard. There are a few puzzles that may take you a few minutes to figure out what they are hinting towards but everything flows very nicely. You walk through the movies quite accurately. Before you go through a level, you attend a class which teaches you a new spell. Unlike the movies, the order of the spells seems a little backwards here.

****SPOILER****

One of your most important/needed spells to open doors is actually one of the last you receive.


****END SPOILER****
On the DS version of Harry Potter, each spell has a unique symbol you must draw. An item will show up green, you tap it, and then swipe the symbol. If the item is purple, the Lego guys were kind enough to show you a picture of who in your party can complete the item. The item will be red, and a giant X on the portrait, if you do not have any characters in your party that can unlock it.

As you progress from year to year, your spell selection increases and unlocks things in previous play through's that were unavailable prior due to wrong character, wrong spell, etc. Throughout the games, you're basically hand-held by the game pointing you in the right direction. If you fail to read what they tell you, you could end up diverting in the wrong area. This is helped NICELY by the map system on the top screen which gives you useful indicators such has the unlockables left in the particular area, where you next contact is, and where you're supposed to head next. Overall I did not have any issues or need any walkthroughs for the game, but some younger audiences may or may not need them.

As far as controls go, you MUST use the stylus. ABXY do not have function in this game. You can move your characters either by pressing on the screen or by using the D-Pad. I found that after trying both just the stylus worked the best for me. Your right bumper is used to change characters. You can also do this by tapping your character (just wait until you need to tap yourself to cast a spell on yourself and you change characters). There are a couple of "tools" through out the game that have buttons around the edges of the screen to play. Your owl, your cape, the mark of Slitherin etc.

The music is classic on this, they play a little bit of everything from the soundtracks. After a while you'll find that you do turn down the volume a bit. Not that it's bad, it just is one of those things that begins to grate on you while you're trying to figure out what you want to do.

There were a few bugs in the game. I had a single freeze the entire time I had been playing. Luckily Potter's levels are only about 15-20 minutes in length and saves in between levels so I found I only needed to replay about 5 minutes or so. I also encountered a level where I cast a spell to lower a ladder behind me and then had an NPC block me in so I couldn't move. MOST NPC's in the game would allow you to push them out of the way. This one did not. I spent roughly 10 minutes trying to wiggle through a crack to get freedom. Had I not had most the unlockables I may have just restarted.

That is another complaint, you need to actually COMPLETE a level in order to obtain the unlockables. If you go back to play through a level and missed something in the very first room, you cannot just quit out. It does not save the unlocked item. You must complete that level for it to register. In the "main room" you will find information (like other Lego games) about which levels have items left to be unlocked, etc. Very nicely organized so you know which levels to delve back into.

Overall, this game has been like crack for me the past couple of days. I've played through it and now I'm working on going back and 100% completing it. I estimate my play time on it to be roughly 16-20 hours or so to beat the game. The saved game DOES keep track how long you've been playing but if you've set your DS down to complete other items with it open, it continues to count so I can't give you a more accurate play time. And just one play through will NOT nab you all of the characters , unlockables, etc so you will have to play through AT LEAST twice to get the full experience.




Wasn't expecting much so i guess i got what i bargained for.

6.5

Fair
Difficulty:
Very Easy
Time Spent:
10 Hours or Less
The Bottom Line:
"All it's cracked up to be"

Summary

TT fusion is at it again with yet another franchise in their lego game installments. Harry Potter seems like a good choice given it seems to have all the elements a good game could need. However, since the main focus was on the home consoles (360, PS3, Wii) it doesn't look like they had time to do much with the portable DS.

The story in lego harry potter is shown through nonsensical cut-scenes which will have you lost if you are not familiar with the franchise. Like any good lego game, there is no dialogue; only motions and gestures which bring a comedic sense to the series. If you plan to play this game expecting good plot elements, think again.

I found the graphics in Lego Harry Potter to be not what you would call good. There are 100-something characters to collect and I found it pretty hard to tell any difference between any of them. The areas in this game are pretty bland and don't offer much variety. You will get stuck looking at the same room over and over again in certain missions and this gets repetitive quite quickly.

The gameplay in this game is clearly designed for children. It's more of a puzzle game than an action one but even so I was disappointed with the limited amount of spells I could cast. You are given only one attack spell (which is as simple as sliding the stylus from you to your target) and one stun spell (which has you draw a circle around yourself). They seem bad enough but it can even be more frustrating when the spells don't work. More than a few times I struggled with casting a spell at my foe only to be striking nearby objects which seemed to have no purpose for being hit. However, the enemy encounters are not often and there is little penalty for dying unless you think losing 1000 studs is considered a big punishment. Like I said, it's more of a kids' game. The missions in Lego Harry Potter don't offer much variety either. It's a simple formula every time: Walk around a little, find an object highlighted with a green border, cast the spell (which requires a little tracing with the stylus), and move on. It's the same with boss battles as it is with pure navigation. Short and simple. Once you complete the story missions you are given the free play option which allows you to bring other characters into the area to find and unlock some items and chests which couldn't be opened beforehand due to your characters limited spells or ability. It's seems like a nice feature that adds replay value, but chances are you won't be interested in doing it after you complete the main game.

Overall, it's like I expected. Lego Harry Potter years 1-4 on the Nintendo DS is a kids game. Sure, some parts can get frustrating and even a bit repetitive but it's short, its simple, and it's just something for the kids to have in their pocket for some quick entertainment. Dont play it if you are an adult like me. I would NOT recommend this game to anyone to buy at full price. Wait until you can get it used for twelve dollars or less. Better yet, wait a few more years for them to put all the years on one cartridge and sell it new for only 20 dollars.

I'm BJ. Thank you for reading my review. You just wasted your time.






Probably the best TT Lego game ever.

9.5

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Easy
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Best in series"

Summary

WIth the first LEGO Star Wars game, LEGO established the standard that their new games would follow. LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones, and LEGO Batman are all great games. While I have seen all of the movies these games are based on, I am not as big of a fan of those franchises as I am with the Harry Potter franchise. I've read all of the books and seen all of the movies So, this was a game I was highly anticipating. I actually honestly didn't think that this game would ever come to. It seemed that the LEGO Harry Potter series was finished after Order of the Phoenix. But, with this game, the series is back with new sets based off of the seventh book/film. In terms of the game, it may just be my all-time favorite LEGO video game of all time. Of course, being that is on the handheld DS gives it a great advantage. But, even though it is on the DS, it gives the player a lot of things to do.

Like most of the LEGO games before it, LEGO Harry Potter is your typical platformer. Get to the end of the level by doing some tasks first. You first play through story mode, which is intercut with some very funny cutscenes. The free play mode doesn't use the cutscenes, but still uses the same levels. In free play, you are able to play as any one of the characters you acquired in the game in order to fully collect every unlockable item in the game. LEGO Harry Potter has players going through the first four years of Harry Potter's days at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Being that this is the first four years, the next game in the series will most likely include Years 5, 6, and 7 (and seeing how the upcoming film will be split into 2 parts, TT Games will most likely split Year 7 up into two seperate levels).

In keeping with the series, your main weapon in this game in magic. You'll be casting many spells throughout the game including Wingardium Leviosa. To cast such spells, tap the object you want to cast on using the DS stylus. Then, trace the image that appears on the screen. Probably the best part of this is that show the image every time you cast that certain spell so you won't forget it. Besides spells like Incendio and Lumos, there is also a spell for transfiguring (or transforming) objects into other things.

This activates one of the many minigames within the DS version of Lego Harry Potter. They are mainly implemented into the game itself. Most of these are simple like a memory game and a puzzle (the puzzle minigame being the Transfiguration minigame I mentioned earlier).

Like the other LEGO games from TT Games, each character you are able to play as has their own identity. The majority of the characters, as you may have guessed, are able to cast magic. You do have some of the non-Magic characters (or 'Muggles' as we mainly know them as). Those are able to push and pull heavy objects. Teachers and prefects are able to activate these statues within the game which activate the memory minigames. The goblins of Gringotts Bank are able to also activate another type of statue where the goal of the minigame is to get an orb to the end of a series of gears. There are the ghosts (like Moaning Myrtle and James and Lily Potter) who are able to enter rooms guarded by a gate. Finally, there are the parseltounges who are able to talk to snakes and activate snake statues. To do so, hiss into the DS microphone. You also use this for saying a password for a statue in Year Three, but it would've been cooler to use this more often.

However, to acquire them is different from other TT Lego Games. In earlier games, you acquired a couple of new characters to be able to buy in the store after completing either a sublevel or a main level (I actually am unsure about that). But here, in order to unlock the characters, you have to collect Wizard Cards within the levels (2 in each sublevel) to unlock the characters.

This part heads into the next part of this game, the collectibles. As stated, you collect Wizard Cards to unlock new characters. Finding golden hats are basically like getting the minikits in the other games. Getting 10 will get you a new 'trophy' to view. Like the other games, there are the 'True' statuses after getting a certain amount of studs and the red bricks that unlock powerups like invincibility and one-hit defensive spells. However, unlike the other games, the powerups stay on when you activate them. In previous games, you had to always set them up every time you start up the game. To me, that's an advantage for this game because you don't have to worry about constantly turning it on.

In all, the main reason I like this game is because it keeps you playing for a long time. There are a lot of stuff to collect and a lot of things to do. That's the thing with these TT Lego games in that you have a lot of stuff to do, like creating your own characters (a key part of the TT LEGO games since Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy). Seeing how this game is on the DS, you can play it wherever you are.

But while I do like this game, it does have some faults. I saw two in particular I didn't like.

The first was that I don't think this game fully covered each book/film. For Years 1 and 2 it was fine but Year 3 had only 9 levels. That's actually okay, but Year 4 has only 7 levels! So, here are some scenes from the books/films that I think would be a good idea to have in this game.

Year 1: An actual level where you play Quidditch

Year 2: Getting the hairs from Crabbe and Goyle for the Polyjuice Potion

Year 3: This year was actually covered pretty fine

Year 4: A level within the Pensieve

The second problem I had is that it didn't have much of some of the biggest parts of Harry Potter. I already mentioned it lacked Quidditch and the use of passwords while in Hogwarts, but I also would've liked to see more defensive spells. The only one you have is Reducto. It isn't bad, but it would've been cool to have more spells like that. Another thing that should've been improved on are the classes you attend where you learn the spells. The only classes you go to (besides one level (each) of Potions, Transfiguration, and Defense against the Dark Arts) are Charms classes. Relating back to my complaint of a lack of defensive spells, the Defense classes would've been a good thing to have.

But even with those complaints, Lego Harry Potter for the DS is a great game. When I eventually play the next gen console versions of the game, I'll let you know how those work out. But, the DS version is probably the best out of them all.





This is a really interesting game, it isn't exactly like the movies but more like the books. It's a good game to play.

10

Editors' Choice

Summary

The games is really fun. You have to play it twice to get everything though. The first time you play it you learn all the spells. The second time you play you go and get unlock all of the characters, the wizard hats, and the red blocks. The more characters you unlock the more you can play as. You can play as the teachers, ghosts, goblins, and students and even Voldemort. The red bricks let you preform funny spells on friendly characters you meet throughout the game. You get to preform spells such as Accio and you can cast away dementors. You can watch short clips. The longest level would be year 1, but it is also the easiest so it shouldn't take as long to beat. It will take some time and some skill to beat it but over all I think it is a great game to play if you have the time. Thanks for reading my review and hope you buy the game.
8.0

Superb
7.2
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