If youâ€™re a big Harry Potter fan and have followed J K Rowlings book series, youâ€™ll find it hard pressed to find fault with the latest edition to the LEGO franchise, LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4. This follows Harry and his adventures from the first four movies. Each LEGO chapter follows the fine detail of the series which all Harry Potter fans will identify with and is filled with pure LEGO goodness. Youâ€™ll have to collect a zillion LEGO studs, unblock passages, solve puzzles and get the chance to try out each of the Harry Potter characters.
There will be wandering back and forth through corridors, waving at wizards inside picture frames and drinking special potions. Some wizards will reward you with gifts, while others may just ignore you if youâ€™re not the right character. Some potions will allow you to become powerful and strong enabling you to pull levers, while other potions will cause characters heads to grow humongous and bulbus.
Your starting place is The Leaky Cauldron, the center point from which Harry begins his adventures in the wizarding world. Wandering into Diagon Alley youâ€™ll encounter all the wonderful stores that were in the original Harry Potter movie, such as Madam Malkinâ€™s Robes where you can purchase Harry Potter characters and even customize your own character upstairs in the fitting room. Thereâ€™s a great collection of costumes to give your character some style and finesse.
Inside Eeylops Owl Emporium, where owls can be seen perched on their stands, is a great place for purchasing Gold Bricks, but be warned as they are very expensive. Upstairs you can purchase more wacky items such as silly disguises that donâ€™t always quite fit and an ice rink where you can have your character sliding all over the place. I would only purchase these at the end of the game for a bit of fun.
Wiseacreâ€™s Wizarding supplies gives players the opportunity to buy spells and upstairs in the store allows you to insert LEGO codes to unlock special features within the game.
During your journey youâ€™ll travel in a mine cart into the deep dark depths of the famous Gringotts bank, which is operated by funny looking Goblins. Here youâ€™ll find 10 vaults which are locked. Each vault can only be opened by collecting the required number of gold bricks. Players will need to invest a fair amount of time to gather the gold bricks, because the further you go on along the vaults the more gold bricks are required. Each of the vaults contain valuable lessons in the world of LEGO and bonus gameplay.
Most of the time the game play is about manipulating your environment in order to progress, such as opening blocked passageways and locked doors. I spent a vast amount of time just zapping everything and destroying anything. Most of the appeal of LEGO is experimenting and thatâ€™s what LEGO Harry Potter tries to encourage in this game. Youâ€™ll be taught new spells in lessons and shown how to use them. Something that made me laugh was when you can handle screaming Mandrakes within the game. Not only can the wailing screams of a Mandrake give you a seriousÂ nervous deposition, if you donâ€™t find some earplugs the only thing youâ€™ll be hearing is the echo of those bloody whinny things in your mind. Find a wardrobe as they each contain funny oversized ear protection to reward you with silence while you insert the blasted screaming Mandrakes into their pots. Screaming Mandrakes can be used to break the glass, but this is another lesson you will have to eventually learn.
Each of the characters have special features. One example is Ronâ€™s faithful rat, â€˜Scabbersâ€™. This furry rodent wasÂ enabled by pressing the B button and then, under your control, he was able to go into certain transparent pipes which in turn give access to switches or unreachable areas. Another example is the fun and friendly Hagrid, whose ability is to move heavy items or pull certain levers.
Each chapter of the game is closely based on the movies, while adding a fun element using the power of LEGO. Fine detail and comedic cutscenes constantly had me in stitches. Itâ€™s hilarious to watch all of the time. You couldnâ€™t want for a better game to be honest.The game offers so many surprises throughout. There were a few occasions when trying to lift certain items with my wand, I would end up catapulting another character across the scenery as sometimes casting spells was not as precise as I would have liked. The mechanics of the game are still the same if youâ€™ve played the LEGO series before, such as Star Wars or Indiana jones. Collect studs, unlock special features, find and accumulate as many gold bricks as you can possibly find and basically zap everything in sight. I did find that the game didnâ€™t always offer a straightforwardÂ path through the story. I found myself wandering aimlessly sometimes until either the next cutscene or I had accidentally stumbled upon something that helped my progress. The layout is not as clear or concise as the previous LEGO games.
Overall I love LEGO Harry Potter years 1-4 years. It lives up to all of my expectations, if leaving me a little lost at times. There are some great characters to play, new lessons to be learnt, funny cutscenes to be watched and a gazillion LEGO studs to collect. Youâ€™ll have great fun with Harry and his great adventures. If youâ€™re a Harry Potter fan youâ€™ll love it and it will entertain you for hours. If youâ€™re new to the LEGO franchise, I suggest giving it a try. It was studtastic.