Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: April 3, 2017
LEGO Harry Potter Collection is an action adventure platform game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store exclusively for the PS4. J.K. Rowling is responsible for writing the Harry Potter novels with the first novel titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone published on June 26th 1997 which became the first part of one of the most successful series of novels in the history of literature with seven novels between June 26th 1997 and July 21st 2007. Harry Potter quickly became a global brand with a film adaptation of each book chronicling Harry Potter’s seven years at Hogwarts across eight films which were also all accompanied by their very own LEGO sets and minifigures of major characters. There have been over a dozen officially licensed Harry Potter games including a game based upon each of the eight films starting with the Philosopher’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets on PS1 in 2001 and 2002 respectively, while 2003 seen a spin-off game named Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup on PS2. Book of Spells and Book of Potions are part of the Pottermore universe which was released in 2012 and 2013 respectively as Wonderbook exclusives on PS3. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 was originally released in 2010 on PS3 and PSP with Years 5-7 releasing on PS3, PSP and PS Vita in 2011 too much success for both games, but how much of an improvement does LEGO Harry Potter Collection deliver in comparison to the original games?
LEGO Harry Potter Collection brings together a compilation of Years 1-4 and Years 5-7 from PS3 with all of the previously available downloadable content all included on one disc. Downloadable content packs bundled into the collection include a Character Pack featuring Godric Gryffindor, Harry (Yule Ball), Helga Hufflepuff, Lockhart (Straightjacket), Luna (Lion Head), Peeves, Hermione (Pink Dress), Ron Weasley (Ghoul), Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin, alongside a Spell Pack featuring Cantis, Densaugeo, Ducklifors, Melofors and Tentaclifors.
The story revolves around the adventures of Harry Potter and some of his close friends such as Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger with LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 based on the first four books and films, therefore providing the experience of Harry Potter’s first four years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 follows the final three books and final four films as Harry Potter comes to terms with his last years at Hogwarts confronts Lord Voldemort in his toughest battle yet in the ultimate fight between good and evil.
Years 1-4 includes 24 story missions spread across the first four Harry Potter films with a bonus level, while Years 5-7 also includes 24 story missions spread across the final four Harry Potter films as well as a bonus level with a magical twist on the classic LEGO gameplay such as using magic to arrange books in an appropriate order on shelves, arranging blocks in the same order as is shown in a picture to reach another area, levitating platforms or something else that is capable of being utilised to reach the next area.
The free play mode allows the player to revisit each completed level in any order in an attempt to utilise the spells and abilities of each unlocked character by switching to characters that cannot be used during story mode, therefore attempting to find which character’s spells and abilities hold the key to progressing beyond a tricky puzzle and finding out what is hidden beyond an alternative route.
There are lots of additional activities beyond completing the levels comprising of achieving True Wizard status on every level for both games; 50 and 60 Student in Peril missions in which students must be saved across a variety of locations between Years 1-4 and Years 5-7 respectively; collecting 4 house crests per level throughout both games; unlocking over 200 characters over the course of both games; earning 200 gold bricks in each game; obtaining 20 red bricks per game to unlock the ability to purchase a variety of extras such as character token, gold brick, red brick and house crest detectors as well as x2, x4, x6, x8 and x10 red bricks; and much more besides for a varying amount of LEGO studs which are used as a form of in-game currency.
The character design is excellent as it reflects that of not only what you would anticipate from a LEGO game, but also Harry Potter cinematic films as there are numerous unlockable playable characters which can be unlocked as you play and purchased using LEGO studs that are collected throughout the game. Characters have their own spell wheels containing spells they have learned throughout magic and dark magic such as the Wingardium Leviosa spell which also has a Crucio and Avada Kedavra dark magic variations, while there are abilities that are learned as you progress through the games such as Harry Potter gaining an invisibility cloak. Characters can use their unique abilities to unlock different areas of levels such as Goblins can open certain locks that nobody else can, while Ron can send his pet Scabbers into small areas that are otherwise inaccessible such as narrow pipes to solve puzzles and Hermione has a pet named Crookshanks who can enter pipes, but is also capable of digging into brown mounds with blue paw prints signalling specific areas that can be dug up. There are certain characters that can utilise the Animagus ability to transform into an animal including Sirius Black who can turn into a dog to dig, McGonagall can transform into a cat to enter narrow pipes and more besides. Specific characters have more strength than the majority of others such as Hagrid, Fang, Victor Krum and Lupin in werewolf form who can pull orange levers to access areas out of reach for everyone else.
The environment design is faithful to the subject matter as it includes environments from eight Harry Potter films such as the vast amount of areas in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Diagon Alley, Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Forbidden Forests, Grimmauld Square and Place, Kings Cross Station, Ministry of Magic and much more besides.
The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing X to jump; pressing O to interact with an object or to cast a spell from the spell wheel, build, use or activate; pressing triangle to switch from controlling one character to a nearby character, holding triangle to show spell wheel; pressing square to cast magic, holding square to aim; pressing L1 or R1 to cycle through the spell wheel; pressing L2 or R2 to cycle through characters during freeplay mode; changing the direction of the left analogue stick or alternatively pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to move your selected character; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to move the camera; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad toggles between displaying the HUD and turning it off, while the light bar changes colour when casting spells and the DualShock 4 controller vibrates when casting spells.
Graphically, LEGO Harry Potter Collection has re-mastered both games with enhanced graphics, environments, lighting and visual effects resulting in better textures, smoother performance and no screen tearing in comparison to the PS3 games. LEGO Harry Potter possesses excellent character models and animations with everything in the world and the characters having a charming appeal to them; not only as they are all made entirely from LEGO but also as they are incredibly faithful recreations of over 200 characters and dozens of environments from each of the seven books and eight films from the Harry Potter series covered within the story.
The presentation of the game is solid as players can exit out of either game and start or resume the other game quite easily which is not always possible in collections of multiple games. There is a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, options menu and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. The background of the menu screens immediately sets the scene as they consist of a mysterious castle on an island surrounded by the sea at night time with mist rising from the sea as mystical powerful entities swoop towards the castle on both Years 1-4 and Years 5-7, while Years 5-7 increases the atmospheric mood by adding a heavy storm.
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Years 5-7 have no voice-overs other than some mumbles, grumbles and laughter which is understandable given that both games were originally released before voice-over artists and archive voice-overs from the films were introduced into LEGO games. However, it would have been a real asset to the re-mastering of both LEGO Harry Potter games to introduce archive voice-overs from the Harry Potter films in order to bring more narrative to the stories portrayed within the LEGO Harry Potter Collection. Sound effects include a variety of characters walking, running, jumping, climbing, casting spells, driving vehicles, building and collecting LEGO studs as well as ambient sounds, while some of the themes are shared from the Harry Potter film soundtracks, therefore providing an authentic musical score to the subject matter. DualShock 4 speaker implementation is introduced to produce sound effects such as a hint for when you are in close proximity to a student in peril, when you have collected an ingredient for a cauldron spell and more besides.
LEGO Harry Potter Collection includes two trophy lists with the LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 trophy list including 37 trophies with 18 bronze trophies, 14 silver trophies, 4 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy, while the LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 trophy list including 49 trophies with 34 bronze trophies, 12 silver trophies, 2 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies in Years 1-4 includes the Watch Out bronze trophy for knocking over 10 characters using a ride-able object which can be achieved in the first level after opening the gate in Gringotts Bank and the Ghostly Treasure bronze trophy for collecting 500 ghost studs. Years 1-5 has 30 story related trophies, therefore over half of the Years 1-5 trophy list can be earned naturally by completing your first playthrough in story mode. The hardest trophies include the You’re the Best and the …But I’m the Chosen One gold trophies in Years 1-4 and Years 5-7 respectively for achieving 100% completion for everything in the game. Years 1-4 includes The Bonus Level Is Yours gold trophy for collecting all 200 gold bricks, while Years 5-7 includes the Knuts and Vaults gold trophy for collecting 1 billion studs. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 20 to 30 hours to platinum each trophy list.
There are no difficulty levels, although characters will immediately respawn after dying in combat and there are some puzzles that require changing to another character in order to gain access to certain areas or generally progress. These gameplay elements result in the difficulty curve being only as hard as the player would find the puzzles, exploration and combat, therefore it is most likely that players would generally find both games relatively easy to progress through which is rather appropriate given the appeal of LEGO to a wide audience and age range from young children to adults.
Split-screen multiplayer allows a second player to join in at any given moment via drop-in/drop-out multiplayer and play co-operatively, while each of the levels see both players working together within the same environment to figure out puzzles and overcome obstacles. The co-operative multiplayer works exceptionally well with the split-screen behaving dynamically which varies the split based upon the current action taking place, therefore allowing both players to explore two completely separate areas of the same level without restriction to their location, movements or actions.
There is no competitive multiplayer, although both players can aim a spell at each other, but it does not inflict any damage to the other player’s character, therefore not embracing the gameplay element in the same approach as LEGO Marvel’s Avengers which would have been amazing to have proper battles in a competitive multiplayer format such as Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort.
There are no online leaderboards which is surprising as they could have featured the quickest times from every player who had completed each level and the entire game as well as the amount of objectives completed in single player or co-operatively with further leaderboards for the highest amount of LEGO studs collected per level and throughout the game.
The replayability of LEGO Harry Potter Collection is clear to see as it contains two complete LEGO Harry Potter games and downloadable content bundled together on one disc. Classic LEGO standards of replay value includes replaying levels to collect and purchase red bricks, gold bricks and more besides which you may have been unable to do so during the first playthrough without having access to a certain character. Revisiting levels in free play mode as different characters you have unlocked with their unique abilities in an attempt to find which character can solve a puzzle and unlock whatever may lay beyond it. There is a natural satisfaction of collecting LEGO studs as well as deconstructing particular objects and constructing an item that is of use to reach the next area of the level, while dynamic split-screen co-operative multiplayer is always fun to play with a friend.
- Title: LEGO Harry Potter Collection
- Developer: TT Games
- Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
- System: PS4
- Format: Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1-2 (Local Co-operative Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 16.42GB