Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Review

Harry Earns a C-
by Joe Juba on Sep 22, 2009 at 01:58 PM
Reviewed on Wii
Also on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Publisher Electronic Arts
Developer EA Bright Light
Rating Everyone 10+

He may be successful in literature and film, but Harry Potter has needed remedial video game education for years. Failing to grasp the concepts of pacing and entertainment, Harry's previous forays into gaming have more dark blemishes than a Death Eater convention. For Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Electronic Arts hit the books and did some homework; this entry isn't making the honor roll, but it earns the franchise its first ­passing ­grade.

Instead of trying to encapsulate every facet of wizardry, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince narrows its focus to dueling, Quidditch, and potion-making. Along with exploring the Hogwarts grounds, these activities comprise the core of the game – with tons of optional collectibles to unearth. Though lacking in variety, these tasks feature some clever mechanics that function well – particularly dueling. The analog controls give spellcasting a tactile element, but the fights are far from fair; once you get the Levicorpus spell, all opponents (including the final boss) can be hilariously defeated by incapacitating them, then blasting them with a fully charged stupefy to the groin. It's an entertaining and unstoppable path ­to ­victory.

Like the last game in the series, the opportunity for Harry Potter fans to walk the halls of Hogwarts is the major draw. Unfortunately, you aren't given any meaningful interactions with the school or its students – you're just shuffled from one movie plot-point to the next, flying broomsticks and dueling along ­the ­way.

If Harry Potter took lessons from Rockstar's Bully, Hogwarts could become a great setting with vibrant characters and cool locations. Instead, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince gives you three activities to repeat constantly. Concocting potions and humiliating dark wizards is fun for a while, but once the novelty is gone, Hogwarts loses all of its magic.

Hoof it through Hogwarts, stopping only to duel, fly, and brew potions
Way below the bar for PS3 and 360, and about average on Wii
The music is decent, but the sound-alike voice actors are terrible
New dueling controls give combat some flair, and the flying sections work as intended. Potion-making is interesting in concept, but uneven ?in ?execution
Fans will enjoy exploring Hogwarts, and the gameplay is fun in short bursts
Moderately Low

Products In This Article

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Princecover

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii
Release Date: