Goblet of fire has arrived. Arguably the best Harry Potter book has made its way onto the big screen and also onto our game consoles. The Tri-wizard Cup is a main part of this new Potter adventure but welcome improvements such as game-play and graphics have been added to mark its eagerly awaited arrival.
I am a big Harry Potter fan however I have never really been inspired by a Harry Potter video game. I think that everyone has an idea of what the Potter games should be like but usually the perception is not met. Will Goblet of Fire blast its way into gamer's collections?
The first notable enhancement in Goblet of Fire (GOF) is the ability to play with two friends simultaneously (with the help of a multi-tap). If you own a multi-tap you will be able to play with Harry, Ron and Hermione on the same screen. This is great and you have to work together in the levels to cast combined spells and advance through the level quicker. You can choose which of the three friends you wish to be at the start of each level.
The controls in GOF are simple as the game is intended for all ages. Different buttons perform a different jinx such as the Wingardium Leviosa (levitation charm) and Accio (summoning charm). The spells that Harry, Ron or Hermione cast depends on the context. If you are standing close to a fire and press square you will automatically cast an Aqua Erupto charm to put out the flame. Similarly if you hold square when standing close to a boulder or block then you will cast the Wingardium Leviosa Charm to lit the rock. If you are attempting to move an object that is too heavy then your two counterparts will assist you by casting the same charm, therefore strengthening the spell.
The levels which feature in GOF are mostly from the film but some have been conjured up to spice up the game. I think the best part is competing in the Tri-wizard Tournament and was one of the greatly anticipated features of the film and game. The primary aim in each level is to collect Tri-wizard shields and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Once a certain amount of shields have been accumulated then you will progress to the next level and this is how you unlock every level in the game. The beans however are used to buy collectors cards. Once you have bought your collectors cards they can be equipped at the beginning of the level and will increase an attribute of your wizard. It may be stamina, jinxes, stronger Accio charm or others you may wish to improve.
Another good new feature is Magicus Extremos. When circle is pressed by all players concurrently in the game, then for a relatively short amount of time your 3 wizards will be a lot more powerful. Jinxes are much more affective and this is vital for surviving against large amounts of creatures. The levels in the game look great when comparing them to the film and there is a great amount of detail. However levels aren't very challenging and can be completed quite quickly. There aren't many levels to complete so the longevity of the game is short.
There are some brilliant creatures to battle and some are very vicious and challenging. There are a good variety of charms available to assist you in destroying these creatures as well. It is much better with the correct spells being cast automatically rather than having to manually change the casts for each button.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire reaches places, graphically, that no other Harry Potter game has previously achieved. Scenery looks a ton better than Prisoner of Azkaban and big scenes are tackled with ease. For example the Tri-wizard task with the dragon is fantastic and the dragon looks very detailed and real. Also the three Hogwarts friends look very similar to the movie characters and this adds to the magical adventure.
The puzzles and challenges within each level are great and are more intricate in comparison to other HP titles. You are now required to collect and destroy certain objects throughout the level to earn a bonus. However the storyline through the game is solely the adventure side of the book and does not look at personal problems and feuds between friends. This was inevitable but may have been a nice contrast from the usual HP style. The cut scenes in the game do not do it justice and are childish. They are still shots and are sort of like a cartoon with a voice over the top explaining what's happening. It would have been nice to have scenes from the film in the game and would have improved the game greatly.
What I didn't like about the game was its simplicity and easiness. The game is obviously targeted at a younger age that is not looking for many hours of play. Also the view adopted in GOF is annoying and instead of the normal 3rd person view the camera is usually situated from afar at different strange angles. Sometimes the camera is at the side of the character and sometimes behind but I much preferred the 3rd person view in Prisoner of Azkaban. To make matters worse, when playing with one or two of your friends you are all on the same screen and have to keep up with one another in order not to be shunted by the camera!
Again the game didn't really do it for me. This may be the best Harry Potter game graphically but in terms of game-play there is not enough to make this game truly stand out from the adventure classics. There are some brilliant levels from the movie (including the first encounter with Voldemorts' human form in the final level). On the other hand there aren't enough levels in my opinion and they are too easy to complete. The collectors cards are good and there are a few interesting options in terms of upgrading your character but there aren't a huge amount of cards to choose from and not many unique to a character.
There are some decent enhancements from the Prisoner of Azkaban and this game is sure to be a hit with young children and first time Harry Potter players. However gamers who already own a Harry Potter game may not see a good enough reason to buy GOF as it isn't a huge improvement. I would recommend it if you have one or two Harry Potter fans itching to play with you as multiplayer is definitely more enjoyable than going through the levels on your own. This is probably the best HP game so far but only by a small margin. If you are buying the game for a younger child they are sure to have great fun playing it. If not I would look elsewhere for gaming enjoyment.
7.5 out of 10