Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire does what you expect from such a game. It doesn’t stray away from the storyline and characters we know from the book and movie, offers the necessary action and adventure, and adds to that the obligatory collecting anger that’s so predictable with console games.
Harry and his friends are again present but don’t expect too much depth or difference in gameplay between the different characters. Even more, most puzzles are very simple seeing the solution is almost thrown in your lap by the context-sensitive approach. If for instance a stone is in the way, you need to drag it with a “leviosa”-trick. Nice is that your friends come help you when it’s too heavy and you can also let your real friends control the two other characters in co-op.
I have since long passed the age of 14 and could hardly let my real friends test this option as I was scared I would for ever be called a looser. But for everyone else: a very nice extra and if your family consists out of a bunch of sisters they will definitely love to solve the good and accessible puzzles together. The final goal is still to find the the Tri-Wizard Shields that are present in the many locations and the back pockets of the bosses.
Next to the difficulties the surroundings will give you, you’ll also need to defeat several opponents. For this you can use Charms and Jinxes, and again some collaboration between the characters will result in a stronger attack and the necessary variation. The amount of hostiles isn’t varied enough to make you hot for them.
The RPG element hasn’t been forgotten but again don’t expect too much depth but instead a system that carefully smuggles in some personalisation in a for the rest shallow game. Defeating bad guys and searching under rocks and plants gives you beans with which you can buy maps that improve certain aspects (power, stamina, …) of Harry, Ron or that girl. That way you can choose how to take on a certain level and change the resulting experience to your preference.
As said, also collectors are served. Next to the fact that the whole idea of the game turns around searching these Shields, you can also add mini-shields, mushrooms and little statues to your collection. As reward you get extra cards and Tri-Wizard Shields or Challenges will get freed up. Obsessive-compulsive gamers will recognise replayability here. I don’t. Fun are the extra challenges and levels you get this way though as they offer some variation to the main part, like flying around and racing on your broomstick.
People longing for the PSP version get another 4 mini-games that can be freed up. Fun for a few minutes, especially as you can try them out through the wireless network with your friends, but the rest of the content is completely identical to the console title.
On the Xbox the graphics are pretty much ok, with beautifully crafted surroundings and nice special effects. Also the cut-scenes are original and different from the movie, something I experience as a plus. The makers at least made an effort to find something new instead of just copy/pasting a part of the movie. Also the sound is well done without blowing us from our feet. The same goes for the PSP version and probably the graphical presentation on the handheld is even slightly better than on XBox. Relatively speaking of course.
This Harry Potter game won’t disappoint the fans. Don’t expect miracles or a deep gameplay experiene though. Everything is well done, the gameplay works, but never surprises. Fun is the co-op possibility if you find enough friends to play alongside you. The difference between the platforms is minimal and so it depends on you and your available hardware to which one you choose.