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Magic in Your Hands : Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix For Wii Review

In Wii on August 1, 2007 at 11:45 am

Movie games are infamous for being rushed or lacking quality. You can hit a good one sometimes, like The Godfather : Blackhand Edition, released earlier this year. But finding those games can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Here comes along the latest Harry Potter game, this time to go along with the Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix movie. How magical is it? You can jump ahead to the Final Verdict to know or read the whole review to learn exactly why it is or isn’t good enough for your time and money.

The game follows the movie’s story which, in turn, is based on the famous book series. You start off by warding off Dementors by flicking your wiimote quickly. You then get taught some of the basic wand controls by Sirius. Finally, you arrive at Hogwarts. The developers of Harry Potter worked to recreate Hogwarts as it seems in the movies. The result is a beautiful, seamless castle. The game has great, detailed graphics to match the vast castle. While you explore, the game sometimes offers music. Although the music comes in bursts, only when passing in certain areas, they do sound Potter-ish.

But what exactly do you do? You can play a couple of mini-games. There are matching games, wizard chess, and a rather addicting and challenging marble game. Later on, you’ll be able to play simple mini-games with Hogwart teachers where you use your skills with spells to complete tasks. Within Hogwarts, you can use your magical skills to light lanterns, repair objects or move objects. Doing so will give you points that will unlock behind-the-scenes clips from the creation of the game. But what about the main game itself? Essentially, you go around completing certain tasks for people. You might need to climb some walls and move items with spells, for example. You’ll also find yourself in duels sometimes. But, overall, the game isn’t all that thrilling or challenging. No falling off ledges, no jumping. The worst that can happen is that you get beaten in a duel and that you find yourself in the Hospital Wing, an annoying fact since there are no health bars for you or your opponents to inform you of your performance. The end of the game consisted mostly of cutscenes, a bit of moving and two battles I seemed to have lost. Apparently, both couldn’t be won or at least, the game didn’t care either way. I’ll admit that I only played with one of the three difficulty settings (“Easy” if I remember correctly) but the game in general lacks substance to the point that replaying it is a waste of time. A short visit to the game’s “Hard” setting shows that there seems to be no change to the environment or to most secondary objectives.

The game’s camera is not always enjoyable. Although you can readjust it or temporarily view the area differently with the C button, it is set in certain ways in different areas. Passing over an outdoor open bridge gives you a great view of the castle but some of these angles make for some awkward analogue stick movement.

The wand controls: Some work, others not as much. Let’s look at Wingardium Leviosa. You move up both the Wiimote and Nunchuck to make the object you are pointing at levitate. You then control the direction the object will go by moving the Wiimote. A combination of a bad camera and sometimes over sensitive controls make using Wingardium less than fun. The good thing about it is that you can let go of something by simply pressing A and objects snap to their appropriate location so you don’t need to place objects too precisely. While you can expect to sometimes have unresponsiveness, that can be a little annoying in duels, it isn’t even near bad enough to make the game unplayable. You do have to remember that developers need to guess how you will imitate their instructions. And a note to all to make sure you don’t become as frustrated as I did :  Incendio is not controlled by motion but by the movements detected by the sensor bar. Always face it when doing this spell.

Final Verdict

You’re not a Potter fan? This game isn’t good enough to make you enjoy it. Multiplayer dueling would have been nice and would have given a reason to keep on playing. There is much do to but the question is “Is it fun?” If you can accept that this is more of an interactive experience than a game, you can enjoy Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix.


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