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Reviews for Half-Blood Prince Game

Posted by Dijares On June - 30 - 2009

Half-Blood Prince GameAs many of you know, the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince game is being released today. Some reviews are now online from IGN. They’re for the Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, and PSP.

The Wii review says that the movie plot points incorporated into the game are appreciates and that the voice acting comes off as genuine and movie-esque.  But the reviewer had some disappointing points as well.

There are some high moments — the voice acting comes off as genuine and movie-esque as far as I’m concerned, and I especially appreciate plot points worked into game mechanics. For example, as Ron finds himself intoxicated by a love potion, you must control the smitten character while he bobs and weaves slowly through Hogwarts, pink hearts floating all around him. And to cure him of this spell, Harry must mix together a potion in class, which is a separate gaming component, equally entertaining. The game provides good entertainment for Potter fans when story bleeds seamlessly into gameplay and I therefore wish this happened more frequently and with less transparency.

The action switches predictably between these elements and eventually shows repetition — if you go a half hour without mixing together some magical elixir, you will wait for the looming cut-scene introducing a potions test. If you explore the castle for too long, you will find yourself dueling with a wizard at some point, or whisked off to a Quidditch match another. Portions of Hogwarts remain locked until you’ve completed these various challenges and thus Harry’s sixth year at the school unfolds in a much more linear fashion than you might expect, both good and bad. Good because it means EA is able to guide you along to the next big event. Bad because you lose some exploratory freedom and in turn diminished suspension of disbelief.

Where Half-Blood Prince succeeds better than any Potter game before it is in the construction, scope and connected presentation of the school.

Gameplay controls, though, while certainly adequate, are not nearly as compelling as the make-up of the universe.

The controls are by no means superb, but they work just well enough that you can forgive their shortcomings and inconsistencies as you explore the school, a process that continues to be a lot of fun. EA has developed a lengthy fetch quest around exploration, too. There are 150 Hogwarts Crests scattered throughout the school and you can collect them all if you’re a completionist — becoming one will transform a five-hour game into an adventure that runs roughly twice as long.

Potions class is the probably the biggest mini-game-style addition to this year’s title. Throughout the course of the game, you’ll be challenged to mix up newly 20 varying concoctions that require you to pour and drop liquids and solids into a boiling pot and pray for the best. Potter’s never been a potion superstar, but with a little aid from the Half-Blood Prince, he’s outperforming all of his mates, including Hermione — much to her dismay.

Finally, there’s Quidditch. You don’t so much maneuver Potter about these tournaments as you guide him with the Wii remote. Point at the screen and the seeker will fly toward the on-screen reticule.

This year’s game delivers the most complete and immersive version of Hogwarts yet and if you love the universe that J.K. Rowling created, you will undoubtedly find great entertainment in exploring the immense school in all of its many intricacies.

He gives a rating of 7.7. As a user, you can also give a rating here. You can see his video review as well right here.

The PS3 review also re-iterates a lot of the interaction that the Wii review went over.

This potion stuff is pretty interesting. On the one hand, it’s just a game of Simon Says, but it’s actually quite challenging when you get going.

Another nice addition this time around is flight. In Half-Blood Prince, Harry’s the captain of the Quidditch team, and as such, you’re going to need to log some time on your broom. Rather than give you free reign over the world, flight is very controlled here. You’re chasing the snitch and the camera is always heading in whatever direction the gold ball is. This means you’re not really controlling where you’re going, but you’re controlling where on the screen you are — left, right, up, down.

What keeps this from being boring are star checkpoints throughout the match. You need to fly through these stars so that you keep time in your reservoir.

If there’s one thing Order of the Phoenix sucked at, it was wand-to-wand combat. There were a ton of spells, but the joysticks weren’t that responsive and the battles never felt that fun. Things are better here in Half-Blood Prince, but it’s still not perfect. Here, you have six spells — Stupefy, Protego, Expelliarmus, Petrificus Totalus, Levicorpus, and Charging — that are performed with the joysticks (and only the joysticks, as the Sixaxis commands aren’t around this time). You can move at a normal pace with the stick or leap from side to side by using the triggers.

Also interesting about combat is that this game uses a health bar. Last time around, immersing you in the movie-like experience was the name of the game so there weren’t any circles depicting how you were doing — you had to watch the characters. Personally, I enjoyed that more, but this isn’t distracting or anything; it’s just a personal preference.

Nearly Headless Nick will pop up to show you the way to whatever location you’re looking for. Also, I enjoyed that area names are now written on walls as you approach rather than the pop-up tile like in Order of the Phoenix. Plus, Harry can run and jump this time around. He’s a real boy!

Nearly Headless Nick will pop up to show you the way to whatever location you’re looking for. Also, I enjoyed that area names are now written on walls as you approach rather than the pop-up tile like in Order of the Phoenix. Plus, Harry can run and jump this time around. He’s a real boy!

Nearly Headless Nick will pop up to show you the way to whatever location you’re looking for. Also, I enjoyed that area names are now written on walls as you approach rather than the pop-up tile like in Order of the Phoenix. Plus, Harry can run and jump this time around. He’s a real boy!

He rated the game at 7.7 as well. You can rate as well here. There also some new screen shots of the game, which you can see here.

At the end of the PS3 review, another reviewer came in for the 360. Here’s  what she had to say.

Having recently played the hot mess that was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I was understandably nervous when I popped Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince into my Xbox. Although I’m a Harry Potter fan (not a wannabe fan like Greg – I’ve actually read all the books), Order of the Phoenix bored me to tears, and I didn’t want Half-Blood Prince to bring me down right before the movie comes out. Thankfully, Half-Blood Prince didn’t disappoint me.

Sure, the quests aren’t as story-related as the find-every-person-in-the-DA-all-over-the-freakin’-castle missions in Order of the Phoenix, but they’re actually entertaining and nicely paced. The kids look odder now than they did in Order of the Phoenix (Seriously, what the heck is up with Ron’s face?) and Dumbledore is apparently a ventriloquist as his lips never move, but a lot of the annoying bits have been adequately scourgified. On the plus side, Hermione and Ron are no longer perpetually present and nagging, AND Moaning Myrtle isn’t around, leaving you to enjoy Hogwarts in peace when you aren’t on a specific quest that requires their presence. Gone are the useless footprint trails that disappear too quickly, and running around the castle is not nearly as tiresome as it was in Order of the Phoenix thanks to an abundance of labeled(!) portrait portals.

The biggest differentiator between Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince is the quality of the mini-games. Potion making is challenging enough to hold interest; dueling is a blast (especially once you learn the Levicorpus spell); and even Quidditch flying, which is probably the least exciting of the three, doesn’t seem tedious. All in all, Half-Blood Prince offers a satisfying experience for Potter-Heads looking to enjoy the world of Hogwarts without being bothered by Hermione or Myrtle every two seconds. Mischief managed.

There’s also a review for the PSP, which you can see here, and the DS here.

There are more reviews online over at G4 and Madworld.

The game is in stores on many different platforms today!  You can order the game in our Amazon store here.

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