Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 Review

By Nikole Zivalich - Posted Nov 30, 2010

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 is the interactive companion piece for the just-released movie of the same name. Like many movie-games, this one was released for multiple platforms; however, only the Xbox 360 version offered an extra mode with Kinect compatibility. Movie games get a bad rap for not being good and Deathly Hallows does little to change this.

The Pros
  • Kinect lets you feel like a wizard.
  • It's Harry Potter, and that has to count for something...
The Cons
  • Repetitive gameplay.
  • Casting spells doesn't feel accurate.
  • Glitches stop gameplay.
  • Side-missions take away from the story.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 Review:

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 is the interactive companion piece for the just-released movie of the same name. Like many movie-games, this one was released for multiple platforms; however, only the Xbox 360 version offered an extra mode with Kinect compatibility. Movie games get a bad rap for not being good and Deathly Hallows does little to change this. 


Third-Person-Speller

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 is different from the previous Harry Potter games. You’ll be playing the majority of the game in a third-person, over-the-shoulder angle, but there are many parts where the camera switches to first-person without your control. Sometimes the camera locks behind Harry; I assume this is a just one of the game’s several glitches.

When the third-person camera is cooperating, your weapon is your wand. The wand uses a targeting system and, using left trigger, you can lock onto enemies, leaving you with no real need to have good aim. With no mystical equivalent for bullets, there’s no need to monitor or ration your magic and there is also nothing keeping you from spamming the trigger button for dozens of attacks in seconds.

There are several spells to unlock as you progress through level rankings, but you really just stick with the same two or three spells. Get used to yelling “Stupify!” over and over.

The side missions are distracting, and, although they aren't a part of the main storyline, there is no way to avoid completing them. At different intervals, the game will prompt you to complete three consecutive side missions in order to continue along with main story.

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It Doesn’t Feel Like Harry Potter

The developers have said they wanted the games to mature along with the Harry Potter story. The Deathly Hallows was a darker book and movie, so a darker game makes sense; however, this game doesn’t necessarily feel darker and it doesn’t really feel like a Harry Potter game either.

Many scenes from the movie are missing and the game doesn’t fill you in on why you’re performing particular missions. Fans who have seen the movie, which the game is based on more so than the book, will notice changes to the plot. Unlike LEGO Harry Potter, this game doesn’t feel at all whimsical.

While this game offers level upgrades and spell advancement in the name of a more mature game, it also offers the Four-Points spell. By pressing B or Circle, the Four-Point spell directs you where to go. There’s no real need to pay attention or learn the map since you can always just use this spell. 


AI Is Riddikulus

When I first started the game and watched the opening cut-scene, I remarked on how pleased I was with the cinematics. After all, it is a movie game, but my optimism quickly dwindled with next few cut-scenes. The character’s dialogue would play, then there would be a delay, and then Ron and Hermione’s mouths would move, and keep on moving. These aren’t the kind of flaws you expect to see in a game from 2010.

Speaking of, Ron and Hermione are useless NPCs. It would have been great if they were controllable NPCs and I could at least assign them spells. No matter the circumstances, they stick with the spell you learn first, Stupify. There were several battles where they would spend the majority of their assault on a brick wall. A brick wall that did nothing to deserve such action.

The enemy AI was equally unimpressive. Granted, they spent far less time shooting walls and more time shooting me. They would shoot me, I would shoot back and they would simply respawn. This would just continue for several levels until I gave up and ran past them. One of the side missions where you have to rescue muggles from snatchers had enemies constantly respawning in the same place until you advanced directly in front of them. Since there is no melee move or quick spell for close combat, battles in close quarters are incredibly frustrating.

Lazy Levels

Some levels in Deathly Hallows relied too heavily on assuming people knew the Harry Potter story, while some levels didn't rely on anything. There is one mission where your only prompt is to use the Four-Points Spell to find Dean Thomas. This sends you through a level very similar to one you've played through already.

Once you get to the end of the level you find a new spell and are told to go to the beginning and retrace your steps. You go back to beginning, then to a new area where Ron decides to leave. Once he leaves you go back through the level again. I have to run through the same level three times? Mind you the same three Death Eaters are spawning and attacking the entire time.

Another problem with level design was the furniture, more specifically, how often you can get stuck on the furniture. Chairs, tables, couches, pipes, if you walked too close to any of them you become stuck. I would find myself walking next to a table and then suddenly on top of the table. I would have to spin my sticks around for several minutes to get off. 


“Better with Kinect”

When you buy the Xbox 360 version of this game, you’ll notice the box tells you this game is “Better with Kinect sensor.” There is no gameplay in the story mode that allows you to use Kinect. There is, however, a separate option for a two-player game. In Kinect mode, you play an on-rail shooter, waving your arms. Physically casting spells is fun until you realize aim doesn’t really matter. The novelty of acting out the spells wears off and soon this mode is as disappointing as the rest of the game.

Accio Ending

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 falls short on so many levels. Somehow, an amazing book and an amazing movie wasn’t enough set-up to make this game work.

A lack of interesting levels, repetitive gameplay, and glitches leaves this game a disappointment. As a Harry Potter fan, I wanted nothing more than to enjoy this game. If you too are a fan of the series I recommend looking into LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 instead.

Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?