- Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
- Developer: Traveller's Tales
- ESRB Rating: “E10" for Everyone 10+
- Genre: Adventures
- Pros: Great level design; nice presentation; good set pieces for big moments; tons of content; fun gameplay
- Cons: Some obtuse puzzles; story won't make sense if you haven't seen the HP movies
LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 features "Order of the Phoenix", "The Half-Blood Prince", and "The Deathly Hallows Part 1", and "DH Part 2". The stories follow the movies more than the books, and some of the cut scenes and levels are direct copies of what happens in the movies, just LEGO-fied. Some of the set pieces for major events (the battle with Voldemort in the Ministry of Magic at the end of "OotP" immediately comes to mind) are really especially well done and really do a good job of combining the LEGO gameplay and HP universe well.
It has to be said, though, that if you have never seen the movies, nothing in the game is really going to make sense. You need to have seen all 4 movies covered here so all the cool cutscenes and funny LEGO takes on key scenes actually make sense. Of course, if you're interested in the game, you'll more than likely have already seen them all.
Each movie is split into six levels and you get to explore in between the levels. You can explore Hogwarts, King's Cross in London, Diagon Alley, and even the camp sites from DH 1. A ghost leaves a trail of coins for you to follow to start the next level, but you can explore if you want instead. Generally it is advisable to just play through the story completely before you really explore, though, since you'll need to unlock powers and characters through the story before you'll really be able to explore thoroughly. Also, you'll have to play each level twice - once for the story and once again to mop everything up when you have all of the necessary abilities - so don't worry about being thorough your first time. Hidden across the levels are students in peril, hidden characters, golden bricks, and red bricks (which activate cheats), so there is a ton to find and do here.
New in this game is that you get to duel with other characters quite a bit, and it is fairly well done. When you're in a duel, you have to match the spell your opponent is using (designated by a colored line behind them) and then have to mash a button so your spell overpowers theirs. I have to admit, at first I hated the duels. Once I realized you could quickly change spells with the trigger buttons, though, they became much easier and more fun and trading spells with Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort was pretty thrilling.
One complaint I do have is that some of the puzzles you have to solve are pretty obtuse. Things aren't always made clear about how you are supposed to progress, and sometimes characters show up with new powers you need to progress but it isn't ever explained, so you wander about for 5-10 minutes until you figure it out. One or two times wouldn't be a problem, but this happens constantly through the game. I first noticed it in LEGO Batman and again earlier this year with LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. It is one of the sort of confusing things about the LEGO games - they are clearly games aimed at kids (but good enough everyone can enjoy them), yet the puzzles are oftentimes a bit too tricky for kids to solve them all easily.
Graphics & Sound
Visually, LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 is a pretty nice looking game. The little LEGO people are cute and very expressive (they need to be since they can't talk) and all of the special effects look fantastic. The levels also look very good as well.
The sound is also very good. Music from the movies is used all over the place and it is kind of reassuring to hear character themes and other music from the series in all the right places.