LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 takes us through the final books of the series with all of the engaging and hilarious charm that we've come to expect from Traveler's Tales LEGO games. Unfortunately it doesn't change much from the original game, but Potter fans probably won't mind.
- Sound and LEGO character animations are suberb
- The variety of levels are extremely entertaining
- Co-op works almost flawlessly
- No explanation of why you're collecting anything
- If you're not a Harry Potter fan it's very confusing
- Doesn't differentiate much from the original LEGO Harry Potter game
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 Review:
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is the magical sequel to LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4. This time around Traveler’s Tales have crafted a title that takes us through the conclusion of Harry Potter and his friends’ last years at Hogwarts and Voldermort’s ultimate (spoiler alert!) demise. While an absolutely charming, gorgeous LEGO game, it doesn’t do much to elevate the LEGO genre to new heights, nor does it do much to expand upon the original LEGO Harry Potter game which we thought broke new ground for the series.
Oh Look, A Blibbering Humdinger!
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 starts off with Harry Potter having to save his cousin Dudley from a Dementor, just as the fifth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix begins. The game follows each book and subsequent movie very closely, so for Potter fans they’ll be delighted by how the LEGO characters re-enact some of their favorite scenes, and all of the really good ones are in there. However, for people who have never seen the Potter movies or read the books, they’ll be a bit lost as to what’s going on in the game since there’s no dialogue and most of the jokes will only make sense to those who already have an idea of what’s going on.
That said, for those who are familiar with the books, the game is absolutely charming and definitely has quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. A great example is when Dumbledore and Harry are using the Pensieve and instead of pulling out a hair to drop in to the basin of water, he pulls out three single LEGO blocks which I wasn’t expecting. The developers take cues like these all over the game, and experiment with using LEGOs in every aspect of the world and it absolutely works.
The gameplay in Years 5-7 is quite similar to the original game, with a few exceptions. For example, in the level where you have to fly to Grimmauld place with Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix you get to ride on a broomstick over London. The flying mechanics are fast-paced, work brilliantly, and were a great change of pace from the otherwise standard running around and platforming that most of the game has to offer.
Another great example was during the seventh book in a mission called “Lovegood’s Lunacy” when you are learning the tale of The Deathly Hallows’ origins. The game basically switched its style from bright and welcoming in to a dark, Tim Burton-esque side scrolling adventure where you had to use different spells in order to get past all of the obstacles in order to master each Deathly Hallow.
Again in the seventh book, when Harry and Hagrid are trying to outrun Death Eaters on their way to the Burrow, you get to go on a high-speed motorcycle chase where you have to blast bad guys, collect studs, and dodge traffic. These crazy levels were the ones I liked the most, because aside from these few seemingly out-of-place missions, the basic gameplay followed suit with all of the other LEGO offerings.
Each area has dozens of LEGO studs for you to collect and other simple puzzles for you to solve. The areas are all beautifully crafted and look exactly how you’d expect them to look if you’ve seen the movies or read the books. Roaming around Hogwarts and Diagon Alley is enchanting, and there are tons of areas to explore within both that have been so fleshed out that you actually feel as if you’re there. I loved running in the opposite direction that the LEGO guide told me to go in order to explore everything that the game had to offer, and I was never disappointed by the things that I ran in to either in Hogwarts, House common rooms, or in Diagon Alley. Walking up and down the moving staircase was particularly awesome.
When In Doubt, Go To The Library
The one thing that truly differentiates the LEGO Harry Potter games from the other LEGO games is that you have an array of magic spells at your disposal that you use to get past puzzles.
Wingardium Leviosa is your staple spell, allowing you to create objects out of LEGO pieces that are lying on the ground. This mechanic is in all of the other LEGO games, and you can also use it to interact with just about everything in and around Hogwarts Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If you are a perfectionist like myself, you can spend literally hours casting spells on everything around you. For example, I’d wander around Hogwarts casting spells on torches to light them on fire, or on house banners to make them unfold and reward me with tons of studs. Everything gives you studs in this game if you cast spells on them.
There are a few new spells to cast this time around including Auguamenti, which causes a jet of water to come out of your wand, and Expecto Patronum, which you can use to get rid of Dementors. However, most of them are the same from the first game. You get ones like Lumos, a light spell that you can use to repel plants, and Reducto that’s used to blast objects in to giving you tons of studs. Reducto was my favorite spell to use as it cast much quicker than any of the other spells, so I could run around like a crazy person just spamming it in order to break all the LEGOs around me in order to acquire the most studs.
It Takes A Great Deal Of Courage To Stand Up To Your Friends
The multiplayer in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 allows for one other person to drop in and out of your game almost seamlessly. The split screen mechanic that they utilize for Years 5-7 is the same as it has been since LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues. Basically if both players are near one another then they share one screen, but if they move far away from each other then each person gets their own half of the screen so that they can go about doing whatever they want without the restriction of following around the other player.
A few times I would be playing the game and my friend would want to hop in and I didn’t even notice until the screen split which was pretty amazing. On the other hand, the bad thing about the multiplayer is that if your companion decides to go to another area, it instantly takes you there without asking if both players are ready, so oftentimes I’d be in the middle of solving a puzzle and my friend would go to the next area and I’d lose my progress and the studs I would have received for solving the puzzle which was insanely annoying.
When you aren’t playing with a friend, the AI is there to help you solve puzzles, and they work remarkably well. In dark places they’ll always use their Lumos spell to light them up, and when you need two characters to solve a puzzle they’ll immediately react when you start to cast the spell that you need to.
Ten Points From Gryffindor
The main faults I found with LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, aside from the fact that it’s extremely similar to the first game, is that is just didn’t explain anything except how to use your spells. There was no explanation of what was going on in the story, why you had to collect gold or red bricks, why you were saving students in peril, what the studs were used for, or just anything really. If you didn’t already have an idea of what to do in this game you’d be completely lost and I feel that a game that’s meant for children (and those of us who are children at heart) should do more to explain why you’re collecting all of these things rather than just collecting them for the sake of collecting them.
By the end of the game I had only completed about 42% of it. The rest of the completion points came from collecting gold and red bricks and unlocking all of the 80 available characters. Unfortunately, you couldn’t just use any of the characters you unlocked automatically, and you could only have one unlocked character in your party at a time which was a bummer.
The other extremely frustrating part of 5-7 was that to unlock a lot of chests and to acquire gold and red bricks you needed to have a character who knew Dark Magic in your party, but you couldn’t get one until almost the very end of the game. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but there’s no way to just choose where you want to go in the game.
You can only replay the actual story levels that you’ve completed, and they don’t say where these story levels will take you. For example, all I wanted to do once I unlocked the awesome Bellatrix LeStrange LEGO was to go back to Hogwarts and find all of the Dark Magic items that I had missed. But I couldn’t do that, because there was no way to just go to Hogwarts, I had to replay story levels that didn’t take me where I wanted to go so I had to finally just give up and not collect my bricks.
Happiness Can Be Found, Even In The Darkest Of Times
While Years 5-7 is definitely a great LEGO game, there were a just few areas that didn’t quite stack up. As there is no dialogue in the game whatsoever, the characters just make random noises that somehow sound exactly like the characters from the movies, those who haven’t read the Potter novels or seen the movies will have a very difficult time trying to decipher what’s going on in the game. It also didn’t change anything drastically from the original LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 game, but that isn’t such a bad thing. If you’re a fan of the LEGO games and of Harry Potter in general then you will undoubtedly love this game.