Yet another “Harry Potter” game has taken over people of all ages’ video-game consoles. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is an action-packed experience at Hogwarts. The game is rated E for everyone, but may be difficult for anyone under 10. The reason for this can be that there are too many twists and turns throughout Hogwarts, which can leave a gamer confused. There are also way too many items a gamer needs to find (as well as search for students who have them), in order to unlock the mini games which go from easy to difficult as you master them.
Playing as everyone’s favorite wizard, Harry Potter, gamers will have to zigzag through the magical school in search of clues to figure out who the Half-Blood Prince is, and how his “highness” has such a knack at altering potions which have dangerous effects. Harry’s new potion instructor will also have you working that Wii remote as you concoct life-saving potions for an ailing friend. (This part may remind you of “Cooking Mama,” except that there are no Japanese Anime characters praising your meals.) Potter’s wise headmaster, Dumbledore, will also interrupt your studies at Hogwarts to help you piece together Voldermort’s past – a crucial discovery that needs to be uncovered in order to save the wizarding world.
Overall, the graphics are decent, and are designed closely to the cast of the last film. The game, of course, is truer to the script than J.K. Rowling’s lengthy page turner. If you did not see the movie, you will get the basic summary of it from the game. This is expected from a game based on a film, but it can get annoying at times when Harry has to stop midway in his quest for a five-minute dialogue with Ron or Hermoine. This game can get wordy at times, with many dialogue interruptions. If there is one main gamer pet peeve here, it is too much dialogue. However, the action that comes toward the end of the game will make up for it, as will the wizarding duels you will participate in throughout. And just in case you were wondering, you will duel with Malfoy and his doofy friends, as well as finally stick it to your annoying yet lovable BFFs Hermoine and Ron – but hey, it’s all bloody-good fun.
On your fantastic journey, speed bumps will turn up as students try to stop you in the halls for a friendly minigame, which awards you pieces of your puzzle, potions you will need to use and other fun items. One game in particular, which anyone who knows anything about Harry will recognize, is the infamous Quidditch. Be warned, gamers – this is a tough one. Harry will have to beat his opponent by blocking as well as kicking/throwing in the game. It can get tough since its like playing soccer as all positions (goalie, defense,etc.). Luckily, you do not need to hit the Quidditch field as often as with the other minigames, like Gobstones and Wizard Skittles, which are just fun marble games remincent of pinball games for “Muggles”, or us non wizarding folk.
If you are thinking of trying this game out, a word of advice: It not as difficult on the Nintendo DS as it would be on the Wii. The DS will allow you to maneuver a bit easier as opposed to the Wii remote; flick the Wii remote/wizard’s wand the wrong way, and you may cast the wrong spell (or hurt yourself). If you want to stupefy an opponent, you may wind up setting them on fire, so be careful.
The last few stages of this game will lead you to the Wii-gripping final battle. Like all fantastical quests, the fight between good versus evil will be at hand, and it’s your job to make sure Harry is ready.
Overall, gamers will have fun, especially if you’re a fan. So put on your Hogwarts robe, grab a glass of Butterbeer and keep your Quidditch broom handy for Harry’s latest adventure.