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Level Up! Has the Magic of Harry Potter

Reviewing Lego Harry Potter Years 5 - 7

By Tim Janson     January 19, 2012

 

Well fellow gamers the long drought is almost over. It’s been a tough four or five weeks as there’s really been nothing to talk about in terms of major, or even moderate new releases. December is always slow as so many new games come out in the few weeks before black Friday. But the ice finally begins to melt over the next couple of weeks as the first few major titles of 2012 begin to hit store shelves including Final Fantasy XIII-2, Soul Calibur V, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, The Darkness II, and Resident Evil: Revelations. And its not a moment too soon, especially for me an my notoriously short interest span.
 
Lots of news this week about new downloadable games and content that are newly available and I have a review of the latest Lego Harry Potter game. Thanks for stopping by!
 
 
IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK
 
60’S and 70’s hits now available for Ubisoft’s Rocksmith
 
Ubisoft announced today that Rock Hits ‘60s-‘70s DLC is now available for download for Rocksmith.  Songs included in this pack are “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, “Barracuda” by Heart, and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. 
 
Each song will be available for individual purchase only for $2.99 on the Playstation network.  Each song will be available for individual purchase for 240 Microsoft points on Xbox Live.  New music packs continue to be released on a regular basis so please continue to watch for updated information.  
 
Rocksmith is the first and only video game that allows players to plug in any real guitar into an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 to play a sizeable library of songs from the latest hits to classic rock songs.  Rocksmith adapts to the player’s skill level from novices who have never picked up a guitar to the most experienced shredder.
 
Doom once again available on Xbox Live
 
Bethesda is pleased to announce that DOOM, originally released in 1993 by id Software, is available for download once again on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace worldwide.  Face off against Hell’s army as you experience the revolution of DOOM. Lay waste to hordes of demonic monsters with an arsenal of classic weapons including the infamous BFG 9000. Take the deathmatch online via LIVE and battle your friends for dominance of the leaderboards, or team-up with a friend in co-op.  DOOM is available for download for 400 Microsoft Points.
 
New "All Zombies Must Die!" Avatar items for Xbox Live now available
 
You’ve been slaughtering tons of zombies in All Zombies Must Die! – now it’s time to get kitted out as one! Avatars from the game are now available on XBox Live; players can now have their own zombie pet, dress up as a SWAT zombie, turn themselves into a Crazy Zombie, or wear an awesome zombie mask!
 
All Zombies Must Die! is out now on XBox Live Arcade (800 MS Points) and PlayStation Network ($9.99), and coming soon to PC.
 
Rockstar Games announces Max Payne 3 release date
 
Rockstar Games, is proud to announce that Max Payne 3 is expected to launch on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on May 15, 2012 in North America and May 18, 2012 internationally; and for the PC on May 29, 2012 in North America and June 1, 2012 internationally.
 
“Max Payne 3 brings powerful storytelling back to the action-shooter genre,” said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. “Rockstar Studios are delivering a game that’s both incredibly cinematic and very, very intense to play.”
 
Based on incredibly precise and fluid gunplay and maintaining the series’ famed dark and cinematic approach, Max Payne 3 follows the famed former New York detective onto the streets of São Paulo , Brazil . Max Payne now works in executive protection for the wealthy Rodrigo Branco in the hopes of escaping the memories of his troubled past. When a street gang kidnaps Rodrigo’s wife, Max is pulled into a conspiracy of shadowy, warring factions threading every aspect of São Paulo society in a deadly web that threatens to engulf everyone and everything around him.
 
In another first for the series, Max Payne 3’s multiplayer offering brings the game’s cinematic feel, fluid gunplay and kinetic sense of movement into the realm of online multiplayer. Building on the fiction and signature gameplay elements of the Max Payne universe, Max Payne 3 features a wide range of new and traditional multiplayer modes that play on the themes of paranoia, betrayal and heroism, all delivered with the same epic visual style of the single-player game.
 
Kid Icarus Uprising to come with Stand
 
The revival of the Kid Icarus series on the Nintendo 3DS titled Kid Icarus Uprising will come packed with a special stand for your 3DS system.  With it, you can dock the system so it doesn't have to be supported entirely with one hand, as is necessary because of the constant use of the stylus for aiming and manipulating the camera.  A statement from Nintendo states, "The stand holds the Nintendo 3DS at an angle above any flat surface and provides players with a comfortable option for playing. The game's control scheme was designed to fit the game's unique blend of flight, shooting and melee combat, and offers tremendous precision. Our product testing demonstrated that players found the stand to be comfortable and enjoyable."
 
Lexis Numérique announces survival horror Amy now available on Playstation Network
 
Lexis Numérique announced that the survival horror title AMY is now available in the United States , Canada and Mexico on the PlayStation Network and  Xbox Live.
 
AMY takes place in December 2034 in the small town of Silver City ( Midwest , USA ) after a comet strikes, wreaking havoc on humanity and unleashing a deadly virus that has infected almost everyone. Players take on the role of Lana, who regains consciousness in the midst of all the mayhem.  The world she once identified with seems to have been torn to Hell, and most of the people she knew have now become part of a wild horde. Lana feels the virus beginning to infect her and knows she must run as far as possible to escape the nightmare. The presence of the titular Amy, a seemingly defenseless eight-year-old autistic girl who has curious powers, forces her to make choices that will affect both their lives. Together, they must fight or run from the infected humans, demons and the military, in the hope of not only saving each other, but also the future of humanity
 
AMY was developed by VectorCell studios supervised by Paul Cuisset, the French creator of legendary games such as Flashback and the Moto Racers series, and is now available on PlayStation Network for $9.99, as well as on Xbox Live for 800 MS points.
 
Reviews
 
Lego Harry Potter Years 5 – 7 (Warner Bros) PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
 
One great thing about the Lego videogames is  that once you play one or two you can pretty much jump into any of them and have the gist of what to do an how to play.  Lego Harry Potter Years 5 – 7 encompasses the last four Potter films: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Parts 1 & 2.  Collecting and exploring is the major focus of the game as it is with all Lego games but with the Potter series you also have a big emphasis on collecting magical spells.  There are numerous spells in the game…while many are vital and necessary to complete the various stories, others are just for fun such as being able to make a character barf up an eel.  Thos who played the previous game will notice the addition of a quickfire button that allows you to cast any spell without aiming at a specific target. Harry and friends have a handful of new spells to use: Aguamenti allows you to put out small fires and make plants grow, while Legilimens gives the ability to read characters' minds and show you what you need to do to progress. Potion-making is another integral feature; potions can help the player complete levels or, if created incorrectly, have adverse side effects such as turning the player into a frog.
 
While certain liberties need to be taken to get all three stories to fit well together, the designers have done a great job in bringing in some of the key moments from theses films such as the showdown between the Deatheaters and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry’s battle with Voldemort.  As usual there is a high degree of puzzle-solving that goes into complete the various levels.  You generally have to build, destroy, or give some character a certain item or complete a task in order to continue on to the next part.  While you can streamline the game by just playing through the major story elements, there are also numerous side missions to take on and a horde of items to collect.  Of course it all goes toward your final score which will reflect the percentage of the level you managed to find and complete.  Thankfully once you complete a level it opens up free play, allowing you to play through the level again and track down any item you might have missed.  Playing through is also the surest way of unlocking the many different characters of the game as well.
 
As in the game, Diagon Alley is kind of the games central hub.  Along those narrow, twisting streets you can buy spells, unlock characters, and input any cheat codes you’ve found.  You can also travel to various levels of the game and get a shortcut to Hogwarts.  The game maintains much of the humor we’ve come to expect in the Lego games such as some of those clumsy, romantic moments between Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the rest but it doesn’t skimp on some of the more terrifying moments such as the attack on harry by the Dementors.  The game really does do tremendous justice to the films not only with the gameplay but with the outstanding cut-scenes as well.  You even get to play the part with the three brothers animated sequence from Deathly Hallows Part 1. 
 
The environments are beautifully recreated.  It’s really quite fun to just wander about Hogwarts, taking in all the sites and magic of the place.  And the game is huge!  You can definitely find yourself getting lost with all of the shortcuts and passages you’ll encounter while exploring.  It’s also amazing how lifelike the characters are without ever speaking.  The expressions on their little Lego faces truly tell the story.
 
The only minor complaint is that the load times are long and frequent and it does bog down the game, but this game gives the Harry Potter series a grand sendoff!  Grade A-

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jedibanner 1/19/2012 7:36:39 AM

Me and the Mrs. Banner love the HP Lego game and it was our ''special'' gift we got for X-mas for both of us so, can't wait to start it.

Year 1-4 were great fun so, i'm sure the last one will be great also.

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