- Final Fantasy XIV Marches to August 27th Re-Release
- Nintendo Schedules Next Direct Presentation on First Day of E3
- New Saints Row Hail to the Chief Video Series
- Grand Theft Auto 5 CE & SE Detailed
- EA Supporting Current-Gen Consoles Until 2017
- Mornin '13
- Xbox Live Marketplace Update: May 21st, 2013
- Metro: Last Light Gets 4 DLC Packs Planned, Season Pass Available
- Ryse Confirmed as Xbox One Exclusive
- Battlefield 4 Will Be Available this Holiday for Next-Gen
- Call of Duty: Ghosts Xbox One Media
- Forza Motorsport 5 Xbox One Screens & Trailer
- Xbox One Specs
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Review
genre: Action Adventure
PIV, 256MB RAM, 5GB HDD, 32MB video card
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Jun 25, 07 (released)
|» All About Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on ActionTrip|
The character of Harry Potter has been around for a long time. So long, in fact, that the main cast of the movie matured and are no longer the little kiddies we remember from the first flick, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
As it stands, the books are doing more than okay, especially after the release of the sixth volume: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, coupled with the impending Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (scheduled for a release on July 21, 2007).
Undeniably, the Harry Potter franchise is still prime milking material. Enter EA's traditional movie tie-in and their latest endeavor Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. As before, the game arrives just before the movie premiere, which is set for July 3 (UK) and July 8 (US).
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry begins his fifth year at Hogwarts. At the same time, almost the entire wizarding community believes that Harry's encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort is pure fabrication. Harry's integrity has been compromised and, what's even worse, the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, appointed a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Dolores Umbridge - regarded as sinister and two-faced by most. Professor Umbridge's teachings have left all the young wizards regrettably unprepared to protect themselves against the increasing threat of the Dark Forces. Eventually, Harry, Hermione and Ron, take matters into their own hands and are now meeting in secret with a number of supporters at Hogwarts, who call themselves "Dumbledore's Army." Harry takes on the responsibility to instruct his group of followers on defense against the Dark Arts. So, the youthful, but brave, wizards prepare for the oncoming battle.
Returning to Hogwarts is definitely a pleasant experience, particularly after seeing how the development team managed to capture the imposing premises of the School of Witchraft and Wizardry. The magnitude of the environment is truly impressive, as is the work that went into creating every detail from the well-known staircase of Hogwarts, to the beautiful hallways and numerous decorated passageways. Mind you, even if the game doesn't exactly feature next-generation eye candy, it delivers a satisfying amount of visual effects, solid animation and faithful character models. All this works in harmony with the game's fabulous soundtrack as well as a commendable variety of first-rate sound-effects.
Familiar characters are there, practically every step of the way. Most of the cast from the movies, provide their voice talents for the in-game characters, which certainly helps create the right atmosphere you'd normally expect from a Harry Potter game.
From the moment you get to wave Harry's wand around (easy on the puns, please), you'll notice the game was intended for the Wii-mote, rather than a gamepad or the keyboard/mouse combo. Now, as far as the PC version goes, the mouse works adequately enough. Each spell has a specific, usually very simple sequence that needs to be carried out in order to cast. All you have to do is press the left or right mouse button and move the mouse as designated on the screen (the indication appears the first time you have to perform a new spell, after which the sequence is stored into your spell list). Anyhow, this works okay, but it's obvious that Wii owners are likely to have more fun when using spells than PC gamers.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has one major problem when it comes to controls. Moving Harry around is difficult and far from what you'd call straightforward and intuitive. The awkward camera movement doesn't help much either. This is a serious drawback when doing a number of things: exploring the area, entering magic duels, or attempting to cast a spell in a certain direction.
As far as the gameplay itself is concerned, there's quite a lot to experience in terms of content. Fans, in particular, are sure to get immersed into the adventure, as they explore the vast setting that is Hogwarts. Secret passageways can be discovered everywhere, while casting certain spells throughout the school may bring additional bonuses, which are used to unlock behind-the-scenes footage and similar extras.
That's all very well. Unfortunately, a majority of gamers are likely to expect greater depth than what this game has to offer. It does provide a more than satisfying amount of content, but it eases down on story elements, failing to offer a satisfying explanation on what's actually going on. Hence, things might be a bit confusing for those who are new to the whole universe. Furthermore, the missions and tasks rarely go beyond solving a vast range of mundane puzzles or fetching a specific item for someone. Occasionally, the game throws a few nice moments such as using the Cloak of Invisibility to sneak past Dolores Umbridge, but that's about it. Quite simply, the game needs more challenges and a more dynamic gameplay, involving a lot more action.
6.8 Above Average
An almost perfect rendition of Hogwarts, excellent music and portrayal of familiar characters, for the first time it actually feels fun when casting spells...
... and it would be even more fun, if it weren't for the clumsy controls and frustrating camera, gameplay becomes a dull routine, needs more action and more story depth.