Have You Played… Lego Harry Potter?

I find the Harry Potter books about as entertaining as the side of a shampoo bottle, and slightly more poorly written. I couldn’t get through the first book for wanting to mark it with a red pen. It is fair to say that I am not a Harry Potter fan. But the Lego Harry Potter games are sublime.

It’s tempting to suggest that TT’s Lego games are all very similar in construction. But it’s really not true. While they are certainly guilty of repeating an awful lot across the various series, each does have its own unique style. The Batman games play more like 2D side-scrollers, the Lord Of The Rings game had RTS elements, the Marvel Heroes edition boasts a wonderful open city, and the Lego Indy games are stupid. The two HP games, Years 1-3 and 4-7, are different still, with their hub area far more vivid and involved than those of the Star Wars games. The hub is Hogwarts itself, and it expands in a sort of metroidvaniaish way as you gain new abilities via the quests.

And Hogwarts is wonderfully realised, far more fun and inventive than the dreary version in the films, and so are the levels. They’re both really lovely games, and presumably even lovelier if you could care less about the spods that star in it.

14 Comments

  1. Ross Angus says:

    I played it on your recommendation, and didn’t really like it. It felt like so much busywork. Sent it to my niece instead. Sorry.

  2. lylebot says:

    What were the RTS elements in the LotR game? I played it recently and don’t remember anything like that.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      I think he’s getting it confused with Lego Star Wars Clone Wars, which had a big RTS component.

  3. iainl says:

    I’ve only played 1-4, but I was rather frustrated with it; it’s easily the LEGO game I’ve hit the most bugs in, and indeed got locked out of 100% completion because one of the secrets has been collected but not counted toward my total. So no playing as He Who Shall Not Be Named for me.

    Marvel’s easily the best one so far of those I’ve played, though I’ve not tried Rings (except briefly on the DS, where it was awful, but a different game), Hobbit or Batman 3 either.

  4. Barchester says:

    Metroidvaniaish. That’s my new word of the day. Thanks John!

  5. Creeping Death says:

    The Harry Potter and Batman series are the only LEGO games I’ve never been able to get along with :/

  6. Lovely Alexander says:

    I will never play it again, but ‘Years 1-4’ has a special place in my heart.

    It was given to me as a joke Christmas present by someone I worked with a few years ago and on my shelf it sat, still in the cellophane for 18 months or so.
    Towards the end of that 18 months I stumbled into a rather rough patch of life and was making it all go away with drugs and booze. I had all but decided I was going to kill myself. Then a gust of wind blew open my blinds and as they fell back into place, the cellophane caught the sunlight and in turn caught my eye. I decided I could wait half an hour while I tried out the silly game my silly boss had got me, I had nothing else left to play anyway.
    At the very least it would give me a chance to have another couple of drinks and drugs.

    I spent almost every waking hour of the next few days in silly Lego Hogwarts. The pick-up-everything-you-possibly-can nature of the game gave me something to aim for and it kept me alive. I got that 100% and all the achievements. It’s still the only game I’ve ever got all the achievements for.
    I was pretty heartbroken when it ended. But the experience reminded me that I could do something if I wanted to. Even if it was just completing a videogame bought for me as a joke.

    • amateurviking says:

      Thank you for sharing that. I hope you are in a more positive place in your life now :)

  7. aldrenean says:

    I believe I only ever played years 1-4, but they sure did have their charm.

    Am I correct in my reading of your first paragraph — you have only read part of the first HP book? If that’s true, it’s extremely uncharitable to describe them as poorly written: the first and second books are targeted at preteens, while the rest get progressively darker and more mature. I’m sure you’ve heard all this before, but it’s really rather silly to call HP poorly written if you haven’t read the later books. Rowling is no literary genius, but the prose is head and shoulders above most other YA literature.

  8. NathaI3 says:

    They’re great in co-op as well – not as punishing as some of the other Lego games which makes it great to play with the girlfriend.

    Do beware, though, that the first game in particular suffers from game killing bugs – I encountered a cutscene loading bug in Year 3 that made it impossible to progress – highly demoralizing!

  9. Scurra says:

    I’ve played all bar one of the Lego games [not Star Wars: Clone Wars], and the Harry Potter games are still the high-point for me. Perhaps because they were the last huzzah of the “silent comedy” phase (I think that the Pirates of the Caribbean game might have technically been the last, but that one got a bit overshadowed by Batman 2), and perhaps it was that Hogwarts was a perfectly realised hub – not as irritatingly large as, say, Middle Earth or the Marvel New York, but not as disjointed as the rubbish design of Batman 3. And maybe it’s because I do actually like the books (and the films, although to a lesser extent.)

    But for me, the Lego games are amongst the very few to rival Nintendo for finding that perfect balance to make a true “family” game…

  10. trueGamer says:

    Which LEGO game would you recommend to play co-op with my girlfriend? She likes colorful and dreamy environments.

  11. MrLoque says:

    Lego games are great when you have kids, as they can learn to cooperate and solve simple puzzles. Lego Marvel Superheroes is the best in my opinion: enormous city (it’s a simplified GTA game), tons of quests and characters, amazing graphics.

    That said, Lego games are always the same thing under a different skin.

  12. afarrell says:

    Lego Indy 1 (just the first three films) is still great! 2 is dreadful though.