With the release of the eighth Harry Potter video game on Thursday, the series has progressed over three generations of consoles and has produced largely average games that nonetheless enjoyed success. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 marked a dramatic shift in format, moving away from the light-hearted tone of the earlier games, which focused on exploration, to a combat-oriented experience. While this makes sense, given how much darker in tone the last book in the series is, the switch was not handled well. Players faced artificial difficulties—terrible camera angles made it impossible to follow the action and poor controls made it even harder to play. Add to the mix bad level design and terrible graphics.
The developers, EA Bright Light, seem to have learnt their lesson, and Part 2 is a lot better than the first Deathly Hallows game. This game will certainly find favour with fans of the series, but for everyone else, it is bound to be a strange entity—a clumsy and limited third-person shooter. The game forces you to play as different characters—all of whom play identically—and puts you through a lot of action sequences in dark, confined spaces against foes who are remarkably ineffectual.
End game: The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 allows limited gameplay.
There are six basic weapons in the game—six spells, which could very easily be guns in another game. So the basic stupefy spell acts like a pistol, while the expulso or exploding spell, which you unlock next, could be an assault rifle anywhere else.
The game ends well, though—first, with a great battle in the Hogwarts Castle courtyard; then, with an excellent duel of wills between Harry Potter and Voldemort. The battle is fought in a large open space, there are many places to take cover and attack from, allowing for free-flowing tactics and enjoyable wand-play. And the duel requires you to impose your will over Voldemort by casting a paired spell on him. Unfortunately, both these parts are a small portion of the entire game, and the rest is littered with problems such as a limited repertoire of spells, awful camera angles (compared with games such as Gears of War) that make it hard to see anything and graphics that make everyone look like malevolent hand puppets.
Potter fans will be happy to get another serviceable game to close the series after the disaster that was the seventh game. But if you’re looking at this as just another shooter, you’re clearly not looking at the right game.
The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 movie and video game released worldwide on Thursday.PC, Rs 999; PS3 and Xbox, Rs 2,499.