The boy wizard known as Harry Potter has conquered the hearts of fans everywhere by book, film and now video games. The fourth installment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is based on the book of the same name. Play as Harry Potter, Hermione Granger or Ron Weasley as you progress through various areas in and around Hogwart’s collecting Jelly Beans and Wizard shields in order to gain access to the Triwizard Tournament. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is an action game that does just as much to evolve the video games as the films do.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire does its best job at making the game look and feel just as it is depicted in the novels. Levels are surprisingly detailed and filled with bright and colorful objects as well as great looking creatures. They’re also rather large with multiple branching paths and objects to interact with. The characters look a little more cartoon-like than they actually do in the movies, but they don’t look bad, only different. Effects wise the game does a really good job of actually giving different looks to the various spells you cast. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire would benefit more from some cut scenes of the movie thrown in between portions of the game, however, the game looks good enough without them as well.
The benefit of a game like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is that there are already sound effects, music and voices already in place. That said, they can’t just reuse everything from the movie or it seems like the development team didn’t do much of anything at all. Goblet of Fire has a very nice soundtrack very similar to the film, and the voice work is pretty good, but gets very repetitive after playing for an extended period of time. Sound effects are plentiful, but don’t stand out over anything else especially the music. While not its strongest area, the audio in Goblet of Fire is better than the vast majority of film based games out there.
The one area where Goblet of Fire both succeeds and fails at the same time is the gameplay. For the single player game you play as any of the three main characters from the series, with the computer controlling the other two. The problem is that you really have to rely on the computer to do what you want it to when you want it to, and as we’ve seen in these types of games numerous times before the computer A.I. just isn’t up to par with that of a human controlled player. That’s where your friends come in. If you’ve got a multi-tap you can ask two of your friends to take control of the other two characters. This makes the game easier to navigate, as long as you can manage to work together as a team, which of course is easier said than done. The problem with this is that the camera is often out of position and one character will be stuck behind an object and if you’re in the heat of battle you’ll be in bad shape. The game is playable, but can really get frustrating at times if you can’t all agree where to go on any given level. The magic system is cool, and offers you various spells for each area and the way you are required to team up with your two friends is cool and forces you to work together. All in all, the game could have used some more polish, but its open ended nature, incredible replay value, and of course subject, Harry Potter, more than make up for some of its flaws.
As stated above you can play one to three players provided you have a multi-tap for your PS2. Multi- player is fun if you can all agree what to do and where to go. You’ve got to work as a team, learn to play cooperatively and take care of one another as you progress through the game. If you fail to do so, you will not progress through the game because it is very open ended with several branching paths in each area you play in.
While Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a cool game for one to three players it doesn’t really follow the book or film very much. It’s fun to go through and play the game as your favorite boy wizard or one of his friends, but there’s not much in the way of story. The only real nod to the movie/book is the three stages dedicated to the Triwizard Tournament. You can play through Harry’s challenges, but they’re only for one player, and as exciting as they may be, they’re no fun if you’ve got two friends along for the ride as it’s probable that they won’t want to just sit around watching you play the game.
Fans of Harry Potter will have no reservations about buying this game, but for anyone else it may be better to rent it first. It’s got plenty of extras and reasons to come back if you’re familiar with the books and films. It would be great to tie it in a little better with more story, but there are plenty of missions to play through. If you’ve played all the previous Harry Potter games expect something a little different, but good nonetheless. If you’re not a huge fan you may want to try before you buy.
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