Josh's Crazy Random Happenstance

Whatever I want, whenever I want

HBP Game Impressions

Yesterday I awoke to two packages from UPS sitting on my doorstep. First package said “EA Store” on it so I ripped the box open without a knife and pulled out my shiny new copy of Half-Blood Prince for Wii. The second package was from Microsofts repair center. They sent me a shiny new Xbox 360 finally. I messed with some of the 360 and then jumped into the World of Harry Potter for Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts.

First off I will say, the game looks fantastic, minus characters hair. Ginny’s hair is so flat and stiff you’d think someone glued cardboard to her head. But who really pays attention to that kind of detail? Me apparently. Character models are fantastic and the environments are visually pleasing too.

After watching some cutscenes the game drops you into The Burrow where Ron announces you’re Quidditch Captain this year and then Ron and Ginny force you to practice to make sure you haven’t lost your skills. To control the broom in HBP for the Wii you do not use a joystick, no, you use the Wiimote pointer. I think this works fantastically and aside from the semi set path you’re on, allows for the most accurate flying yet in a Harry Potter game. After flying Hermione and Ron show you how to use Wingardium Leviosa, yay your first spell.

So after that you see some more cutscenes, and then you’re off to Hogwarts, and this is where the real game begins. Wander on up to Hogarts with Luna, more cutscenes, you’re told to go to potions class and then they tell you if you’re lost or need help to contact Nearly Headless Nick. The footprints that helped you in OotP are gone and you’re now given… a Ghost. One thing I noticed is now all the floors and rooms and secret passages are labeled. Yes, labeled. And in one part they told me to go to Dumbledore’s office and I’m most positive Dumbledore was on floor 2, yet there is no official floor 2, floor 4 or floor 6 it seems. Were the developers hating on even numbers? So after wandering the stair cases for 10 minutes yelling “WHERE IS FLOOR 2!!??!” I called Nick, and he brought me to Dumbledore. Not on floor 2.

Because of the impending doom and Death Eaters always trying to get into the school grounds, the school has been sealed off in different parts and you have to unlock them as you go. And as you wander around you’ll find Hogwarts crests. There’s 150 of them. There are also items that “glow” and when you cast a Depulso spell at them they release Mini-Hogwarts Crests. Get enough of them and you’ll earn one full Hogwarts Crest. Obtaining these crests unlocks features in 2 player dueling and such.

Controls for spell casting work just as well in HBP as they did in OotP for Wii. Some spell motions have been changed and it’s probably for the best. Wingardium Leviosa only requires a movement from the Wiimote, not both Wiimote and Nunchuck. The controls for potion making are absolutely fun in a way too, as you have to turn the Wiimote over like you’re actually pouring stuff into the cauldron and then to make the fire raise to boil the potion you have shake the Wiimote and nunchuck. It’s a nice little mini-game that you’ll have to experience to find out how fun it can be.

The only real problem I have so far is the story is not told well in the game at all, so unless you’ve seen the movie already or read the book, you’ll be completely lost as to what the story is. Which is a bit of a disappointment but I guess they expect Potter fans to pick up the game. Which is not a bad assumption at all. That’s the assumption I would make.

I haven’t finished the game but I’m rather enjoying it so far. I think most Potter fans will enjoy it too. EA put the most effort into the Wii version and it seems to show a bit. Oh, one last quick thing that comes to mind, the game ran at a not so solid 30fps in OotP and slowed down horribly when changing to a new room as it had no loading screens. I can’t tell if this game is the same fps, but it seems to run smoother, and changing to different rooms does not slow down like in OotP. Which is awesome.

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July 23, 2009 - Posted by | Games | , , ,

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