While they may have been created as a construction playset for children, LEGO has become a passion and hobby for people all ages. So too have the LEGO series of video games, taking some of the biggest movie franchise in history into a universe of bricks and plugs. So it’s fitting that the next incarnation of the Warner Bros. Interactive series would be a movie property that is centered around the journey from child to adult, in LEGO: Harry Potter Years 5-7. A portion of the game was being shown at this year’s E3, and we were able to try it out for ourselves, and see if the gameplay has matured alongside the adolescent magician.
Anyone who is familiar with a LEGO title knows the basic elements of gameplay are exploring, breaking objects into collectable pieces, and solving puzzles with the use of different LEGO creations.
LEGO: Harry Potter added magic to the mix, and while many may see that as essentially identical to the force powers used in the LEGO Star Wars series, the developers seem to be doing much more with each passing game.
There’s only so much fun that can be derived from running around and smashing blocks — as fun as that may be — but with Years 5-7 players look to be given more ways to not only interact with objects in their environments, but with one another.
The stage being shown at WB Games’ booth on the show floor was taken from Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 1, when Harry and Hermione are searching the cemetery in Godric’s Hollow for clues needed to help destroy Lord Valdemort. The puzzle consists of uncovering a mysterious engraving on one of the stone caskets, which unfortunately are covered in thick sheets of ice and snow.
Harry and Hermione can’t simply blast the ice away, so they have to use their magical spells to uncover and construct objects to do the job. The various hidden items glow when a player approaches them, showing the color of the spell that will be needed to make them come alive. Hermione and Harry each have different spells, so each must open up their radial of magic to find the one that fits.
These elements aren’t breaking any new ground for the series by any means, but just as our review of LEGO: Pirates of the Carribean showed, another implementation of a satisfying mechanic can be plenty of fun.
There were some moments where puzzles were genuinely surprising in the solutions they required, whether it be a steam pipe melting the ice, or using a flame spell to ignite a fireplace that could then be placed on top of the plots to thaw. Being able to move a gigantic hairdryer offered a bit more control over the spells, and overall the interactions between the two characters was satisfying in the classic LEGO way.
If you or your family have been fans of LEGO games in the past and enjoy the Harry Potter films, then this one is a no-brainer. For those who are unaware though, the last years of the saga are much darker than previous fare in the kid-friendly series. But when asked if the content of the game would be dealing with more frightening themes in a similar way, the developer on hand explained that even if the game’s story takes a turn to a darker shade, there is guaranteed to be the trademark LEGO sense of humor to keep it from being too serious.
LEGO: Harry Potter Years 5-7 is scheduled for a release this fall on major platforms.