It has been ten years of Harry Potter, and it all comes to an end with Deathly Hallows, Part 2. One of the biggest movie franchise of all-time has seen its ups and downs with video games, and EA Bright Light looks to go out with a bang. Can the boy wizard, Harry Potter, save the video game franchise from the horrid mess that was Deathly Hallows, Part 1?
Gameplay in Deathly Hallows is a bit generic, and at times, even shallow. A cover-based third-person shooter is not what most Harry Potter fans are looking for in a video game adaptation. But that’s exactly what you get with the Part 2. Although certain parts of the gameplay have been modified, the core of it is still similar to that of the previous game. You get a set amount of spells, eight to be exact, and each one has their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Certain spells are best at close range, and some are best at long range. The major disappointment with these spells, however, is that once you find two spells you like, there is really no need to use the other six unless the game requires you to use them in certain on-rail moments.
One of the key changes to the gameplay this time around is the inclusion of recoil. Shoot a spell too many times and the reticle will start to spread and shots will start going everywhere. It adds a bit more strategy with how you shoot, and which spells to use, but it’s quite easy to get use too. Co-op was axed this time around, and most people won’t even realize it’s missing. There is also no Kinect support this time around, something that is actually welcomed, as the Kinect support in Part 1 was inadequate and poorly-received.
Set-piece moments play a big factor this time around, and they are by far the bright spot. Being chased by Voldemort would keep most people on the edge of their seat in the movie, and the fact that you can interact with this is pure bliss. Chase sequences provide some flavor to the overall package, breaking you out of the third-person shooting mindset, if even for a few short minutes.
Story, although here, is convoluted and feels extremely rushed. The campaign lasts from four to five hours, and even with the fantastic set pieces, the story is missing key parts from the movie. (And the books, for that matter.) Movie-to-video game adaptations usually miss some of the storyline, but the inclusions are so sporadic that there is no need to even pay attention to it.
As with every Harry Potter game, collectibles are hidden throughout each story mission. These collectibles unlock character backgrounds, music, and even challenges used in the challenge mode. The challenge mode takes sections of the main game and splits them up into 10-to-15 minute levels. Each level is timed, and you get credit for having good accuracy, knocking down enemies and, of course, defeating enemies as well. There are ten challenges in total, and they’re actually quite fun to play compared to Part 1. You also play as other characters besides Harry Potter, including Ron, Hermoine, and others. The downside: they all play identically. No character has any unique abilities. They all have the same spells, and the only difference is aesthetic.
Atmosphere plays a huge part in the Harry Potter universe, and EA Bright Light did a superb job at replicating Hogwarts and the environments you encounter throughout the game. The character models still come off as weird, though. Ron Weasley still resembles a caveman, and Harry Potter’s hair looks as if he’s wearing a fur hat on his head. The main stars of the movies all lend their voice talents. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint all do a good job at making you feel like you’re watching the movie, at times. With certain voice actors missing, the voice acting does fall a bit short at really pulling you in. On the other hand, the music is fantastic and provides some authenticity to the game.
Even with generic gameplay, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 does a great job at replicating the Harry Potter universe. Still, a four-hour campaign is inexcusable, even by movie adaptation standards. To recommend a purchase would be outright ludicrous. The game is worth a look, though, as it’s probably the last Harry Potter game we’ll see for some time.
Pros: Atmosphere, set piece moments are incredible; music is superb
Cons: Gameplay is too generic, story feels rushed