The LEGO wizarding world of Harry Potter is repetitive, but still enjoyable.
Building and collecting mechanics are generally the same throughout the LEGO games. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 does not venture far from these mechanics, but does take strides in a positive direction for the LEGO series. New battling elements break the game’s repetition, while bland puzzles bring the repetition right back. This mix of good and bad content ultimately creates a good but not great game of the second LEGO Harry Potter adventure on Nintendo DS.
The game’s main focus is on building and destroying to solve the many puzzles throughout the story. Like most other LEGO games there is plenty to interact with so you can build new objects and progress the game’s story. However, the puzzles themselves are lacking creativity. Making strength potions or simply building a bridge gets old. When the game makes use of a character’s unique ability, like Ron’s Deluminator or Hermoine’s pet cat, the puzzles become less tedious and more fun. Even after introducing these new elements, these character abilities get rehashed many times from there on out.
While solving the puzzles, your character will occasionally run into a duel, a one-on-one wizard battle. These duels can be controlled by the touch screen or by the face buttons. In essence, I found these duels to be simplistic yet fun due to the way they often break up the monotony. Your character has the ability to deflect spells and you can easily win by just deflecting spells back at your opponent until they miss one. These were more fun then just mashing down the spell button to fling away the nameless Death Eaters distracting you while solving the games puzzles.
The game does appeal to the Harry Potter fan by using many of the locations in the books and movies. These areas that you solve puzzles and battle in are spread out amongst the many levels, with each offering a bite-sized chunk of gameplay. In most cases, a part of the story is depicted using one room with just a few puzzles in it; after solving, you move onto the next part of the game. I found these small chunks were enough to get some of the story across, but created a disconnect in the overall picture. There was the occasional cut scene that captured the humor of the LEGO universe, but ultimately there were not enough to create a complete story. If a player was aware of the Harry Potter story they would be able to fill in the gaps, but newcomers to the series will be a bit confused on how the characters came to a completely different location.
As a Harry Potter fan myself, I found the abundance of additional content quite welcoming. There are numerous of collectible character tokens in each level and plenty of other hidden goodies. Everybody in the Harry Potter universe is portrayed in the game, and in some cases some of them are given many different outfits and even different play styles. Ultimately, if you want everything in the game, you will be devoting a great amount of time after completing the main story.
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 captures the essence of the Harry Potter universe and delivers some unique content. Duels and some unique character abilities will entertain you, while boring, repetitive puzzles will take away from the overall experience. A Harry Potter fan will enjoy how well the license was used to create an enjoyable game, but despite how packed to the brim with content the game is, its repetitive nature ultimately holds it back from reaching new heights.