Potty About Potter

Film tie ins… they’re often a bit rubbish, aren’t they.

Look at your Transformers, Iron Man, Thor tie ins.  Derivative, rushed rubbish. You get a comic book like Watchmen, it gets turned into a movie and it gets a tie in.  You have one of the most detailed fictional worlds ever created turned over for video game development… and what do we get? A beat ‘em up. And not a very good one.

Recently, I got back into my Harry Potter obsession from 10 years ago. Okay, I will admit now, I have never read the books, but once I saw the last movie, the urge for more ‘Potter’ was needed. I then discovered the wonder of the Steven Fry audiobooks, (I am actually really pleased I never read the books now because the joys of listening to Fry’s Hermione impressions are bloody awesome).  So, after buying my Snape action figure, Draco Malfoy mini bust, and also the official Slytherin uniform including, scarf, robes, tie, grey jersey, prefect badge and a Death Eater wand, I wanted to experience the video game. Well why not? I do love those bastard video games too.

Back in the day, I had Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on PS1 which was  pretty fun. Then later I got the Quidditch World Cup on the Gamecube (and then more recently on the original Xbox) and found that it was actually a pretty fun game and I got to play as Slytherin (my chosen house if you haven’t already guessed). Having just seen the Deathly Hallows movie, I was tempted to get the last game, but reviews saying that it was the worst Harry Potter game (if not the worst game ever) put me off. The series only went next generation with the fifth film, so I figured that I could pick up Order of the Phoenix pretty cheaply. Then read that Half Blood Prince was pretty much the same game, but with entertaining, non broken mini games, and a Nearly Headless Nick stopping you from getting randomly lost, so I bought that one instead. I hate getting lost in games!

I found the game to be exactly what I wanted. Why, because the ‘Grand Theft Hogwarts’ style game allowed me to wander round Hogwarts. I got to see how the Gryffindor common room linked to the main staircase, and I got a solid sense of the geography of the game that I didn’t get from the films (or from listening to the books). Yes, the mini games are repetitive, but they’re a lot more fun than the mini games were in Bully, and Hogwarts is a much more interesting place than Bulworth Academy. Hogwarts itself looked very impressive. Detailed portraits hung on the walls, other students wandering around the halls and vast outdoor landscapes which you can also explore.

At the time, the game wasn’t given amazing reviews, firstly because it was largely a retread of a game that was two years old by the time it was released.  But having not played a Potter game since Quidditch World Cup, it’s one of the most solid, pacy and fun games that I have played in a while.  If I hadn’t been gripped by my recent Potter obsession, I don’t know if I would have ever picked it up but I’m glad I did.  Not only is it a fun game, it’s a good example of a film tie in done right.

So here’s some advice for film tie ins:
  1. Don’t just concentrate on the main character models, concentrate on the world.
  2. Make sure that it’s fun… shouldn’t be that hard to do… really…
  3. If your franchise appeals to kids, make the basic game easy to get through, but include enough secrets and challenges to keep older audiences interested.
  4. Don’t try and make Gears of War with wands.  Twice.  It’s not going to work either time, EA, no matter how cool the Harry Potter franchise is.
  5. Release DLC for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince so I can play through Malfoy’s story and get some extreme close ups on that icy blond piece of sexy Slytherin ass!





3 responses to “Potty About Potter”

  1. Lauren avatar

    I enjoyed Half Blood Prince, like yourself I hate getting lost in games! So Nearly Headless Nick is a great guide to have. I purchased Deathly Hallows Part One and Im VERY disappointed. You cant get 1,000 gamerscore unless you have Kinect and a friend has the game in order to challenge and unlock other achievements. Its true how GOW the game is, its not fun at all. The controls handle like a bad shopping trolley and I cant be bothered completing it.

  2. Mark P avatar

    Man, you so could have put a “Gears of Wands” joke in there. 😀

  3. Arkayla avatar

    Or perhaps ‘Gryfindor’s of War’? 🙂

    I enjoyed what I’ve played of HBP (not that much it must besaid) and shall probably be buying it when I see a copy for a reasonable price. I usually avoid movie tie in games like they’ve got Ebola but I remember enjoying Philosophers Stone – Prisoner of Azkaban as well as Quidditch World Cup (Team USA for me) so the Harry Potter series is defiantely an exception.

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