Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4
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Game Reviewed: Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Reviewer: Mike Gardiner
Platform: Xbox 360 (Also on PS3, Wii, PSP, DS, and PC)
ESRB Rating: E10+
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Reviewer’ Note: This review covers only the first half of the game, specifically years 1 and 2.
Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 has a title that is self-explanatory for Harry Potter fans, but for those of us who do not count ourselves among that group, this game is based on the first four movies of the Harry Potter film franchise: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (a.k.a. Philosopher’s) Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
This game is the newest installment in the Lego series created by Traveller’s Tales (now known as TT Games) which includes such games as Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones. All of the aspects of the game were created to be representative of Lego – from the characters to the structures, as well as any object that the player interacts with.
The game follows the same storyline as what is laid out in the movies, except that it adds its own additions in the form of puzzles or metaphorical hurdles for the character to jump over in order to advance to the next stage, as well as adding small elements for a comedic effect. Each room or area in the game is filled with both additional challenges and various items that the player can interact with in various ways, often giving a reward of some kind such as Lego coins which can be used to purchase additional characters, clothing, etc.
What Parents Need to Know
Since all of the characters are made from Lego pieces, any violence that occurs is usually more cartoony and comical than anything, with no blood or gore of any kind; characters normally explode into smaller Lego pieces when they die. Players inflict damage on enemies by shooting spells from their magical wand, or using magic to move items to strike the enemy.
There are a couple of instances in the game in which a sword is thrust into a dragon or a giant basilisk, but there is no blood and it looks like pieces of plastic interacting with each other. There is also one instance where the said basilisk has its eyes pecked out by a phoenix, and this is played for laughs with a female character being disgusted at seeing the eye fall to the ground in front of her. There is also a cut-scene in which a character's body explodes leaving only the Lego head.
There are also times in which a character loses a hand, or a hand is placed into a cauldron to make a potion. But again, all of this is with plastic Lego pieces.
There is not any language, good or bad, used in the game. The characters simply mumble with various tones to communicate.
There is no sexual content.
This game is a light-weight take on the Harry Potter movies, which, as I am told, are a lighter take on the books. Even so, there are a lot of spiritual elements at play.
Magic is used for everything in the game. Whether it is used to levitate objects or people, or used to shoot a bolt of magic at something (the majority of the puzzles in the game are solved by shooting this bolt at objects), or brewing potions in order to achieve certain goals.
While the game is not very specific about where the power comes from to perform these magical feats, the movies and books clearly point to the powers that wizards and witches have within themselves. It is clearly not a higher power that enables them to do magic, but rather a power from within themselves.
There are also a lot of elements of ghosts, and a consistent part of the game is following a ghost that leads you to the next level or area that you need to go to in order to continue the story.
There is some “potty” humor in the game, especially when Harry and his friends have to solve a puzzle that involves unplugging toilets in a girl’s washroom. Also, one of the creatures in the game lets loose some brown lego droppings from its posterior.
In one scene, Harry wags his behind at his friend in fun.
Lego Harry Potter is designed for a younger audience as well as for fans of the series who also like Legos. There are a lot of side quests and puzzles to be solved to progress, but for someone like me who just wanted to advance through a level in the game, it became frustrating to try and decipher which things I needed to do to advance and which side quests to avoid. The game is definitely built with kids in mind and if your family enjoys the Harry Potter books and movies as well as if your family enjoys Legos, then you will probably enjoy this game as well.
Editor's Note: At Reviews4Parents, we understand that Harry Potter is a controversial topic among many Christian parents. The purpose of this review is not to defame, or defend, the Harry Potter series. As with all of our reviews, the purpose of this review is to simply report the content of the game and then leave it up to the parents to decide if this is a game that fits the entertainment guidlines that they have set up in their home.