Combat – what there is of it – doesn’t fare much better. Combat spells are split between offensive and defensive spells, each with their individual actions. While in combat you remain locked onto your opponent, moving with the analogue stick and casting spells with the remote. It’s all pretty inconsequential, lacking any strategy or depth. This is probably why there’s so little of it; thank heavens for small mercies.
Continuing this trend the central story of the game is haphazardly put together. All in all it’ll take at most eight hours to complete, and the more able and masochistic of gamers could probably stroll through the game in one or two sittings provided their souls aren’t enveloped by clinical depression before then. It’s a pretty damning indictment of the game that, despite the impressively large environment, there’s so little to do and the experience is such a short one. If Harry Potter is all about magic, then the game fails on a very basic to level to be at all magical to play.
Predictably Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix feels like a film franchise that’s been pushed out the door far too early. The developers have clearly spent a lot of time creating the environments, which are very good, but gameplay was obviously low on the list of priorities. One can only imagine the $$$ appearing in executives eyes as they unfurl this latest title, and with the game spread over so many disparate platforms is it any wonder the game is so uninspiring? There’s a good game to be made of the Harry Potter universe, unfortunately it still hasn’t materialised.
Some promise is shown, but ultimately this is just another lazy enactment of a lucrative film license. That’s not a great surprise, but that doesn’t stop it from being disappointing. Fans will lap it up, everyone else will require counselling.