The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
In the final book of J.K. Rowling’s juggernaut franchise, Harry
strikes out to foil Voldemort’s plans, leaving the iconic wizard academy
of Hogwarts behind. This break from tradition works well as a part of
the series’ narrative arc, but introduces a major problem for the game
version of Deathly Hallows. Wandering around the school and interacting
with its students were the primary redeeming factors in the last two
entries, which raises the question: Can a Harry Potter game be fun
without Hogwarts? Apparently not. Instead of exploring
the castle grounds and going to class, now Harry is shuffled from one
tedious shootout to the next, flinging spells at Death Eaters in ruins
and forests. I don’t mind that the old free-roaming gameplay is gone.
What bothers me is the third-person shooting mechanics that replace it
are staggeringly horrible. Harry is confronted with a constant
stream of moronic bad guys, who he dispatches by shooting various spells
(which function as different types of ammunition). If the game worked,
you’d be switching spells on the fly, strategically confusing or
paralyzing one enemy while blasting the next. In reality, changing
spells often slows the action to a crawl since you need to bring up the
weapon wheel every couple seconds, so you’re better off sticking with
one or two spells for entire encounters. Even then, the complete lack of
variety in enemies and tactics makes every fight a bore.When
combat heats up, you’re supposed to take cover behind pillars and rocks,
but good luck with that. The cover system is so touchy that even if you
manage to find something to hide behind, the odds that it will actually
protect you from hostile fire are minimal. You’re more likely to just
stand with your back against the wall, trying desperately to escape from
“cover” as you get stupefied from all directions. You can also forget
about firing your most powerful spell, Confringo, from cover. Every time
I tried, it hit my supposed protection and blew up in my face.Things
would be bad enough if Harry just had to contend with dark wizards, but
stealth sequences give you a whole new reason to hate Deathly Hallows.
Despite the fact that you own and use an invisibility cloak,
Harry can’t seem to stay hidden to save his life. Your inevitable
detection doesn’t necessarily mean game over, but it usually triggers a
firefight against nearly insurmountable odds. You can just die, try
again, and slowly give in to the dull hopelessness of Deathly Hallows.The
Harry Potter games were getting better. By focusing on the simple joys
of exploring Hogwarts and casting spells, EA almost came within reach of
making its last two entries entertaining. With Deathly Hallows, Harry
regretfully returns to his roots by offering atrocious gameplay that no
fan could enjoy. Like a Quidditch player falling from a broomstick
mid-match, this installment loses all forward momentum and goes
plummeting toward a faceplant at top speed.
Email the author Joe Juba, or follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Game Informer.