Platforms: X360, PSP, DS, PC, PS3, Wii, PS2, GBA – Wii Version Reviewed
The games industry is enormously reliant on licensed content. Be it from books, films, TV, comics or elsewhere, if there's a license then the chances are someone in the games industry wants to make a game out of it. Given the nature of the industry it's hardly surprising, and a good film license may be one of the few sure fire ways to make a profitable game.
If anyone knows this it's EA, and it owns a number of big daddy franchises including one of the biggest, Harry Potter. Apparently another film is out at the moment, which must mean it's time for a game to coincide. Never one to disappoint, EA has managed to release Order of the Phoenix for every platform you could imagine – it sent us every single one of them too. And, as much as we'd love to look at all them, we've plumped for the Wii edition.
As one might expect it's characterised by one single defining difference: the remote. In OotF (Order of the Phoenix) – not to be confused with OoT – the remote and Nunchuk are used to mimic the actions of using a "real" wand. It's a part of the game that's carried off pretty well, and using the remote to cast spells certainly feels a lot more involving than pressing buttons. As such, Potter fans will certainly appreciate the extra immersion created, and the early parts of the game do a very good job of explaining how the actions work. Moreover, if you ever forget there's a list of spells you can access to remind you and you'll often be prompted as to what spell you need to use.
Indeed, one of the strengths of the game is how it's always clear what you need to do, and where you need to go. Throughout the game you have the Marauders Map in your possession, and when entering the map screen you can access the tasks you currently have unfinished, and where you need to go to complete them. All you need do is select them, and then follow the footprints on the ground to reach your destination.
This is all very straightforward, but it does little to distract you from the fact that it takes ages to get anywhere. Although some shortcuts are available, a great deal of time is wasted simply trudging around Hogwarts looking for people or objects. Hogwarts itself, however, is very well realised. There's plenty of detail, with locations from the films being easily identifiable. Character likenesses are strong too and, while the Wii version is good looking compared to some the decrepit efforts of some Wii titles, there is a lack of even the most basic Anti-Aliasing or filtering which does make the game look worse than it actually is.