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Review: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix - PS3, Xbox 360, Wii

by Steven Williamson on 14 August 2007, 09:00

Tags: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Wii, Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), Action/Adventure

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Wand-waving antics

Harry learns from the Order of The Phoenix that Voldemort is building an army and is attempting to retrieve a powerful "weapon". At Harry's Ministry hearing he is cleared of all charges and is welcomed back at Hogwarts where a new Defence against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Umbridge refuses to teach real defence methods and they learn that they will not be performing any spells, only learning Ministry-approved content by reading a textbook. With danger looming ever closer, Harry begins to recruit a secret wizard army who plan to be ready for the battle when Lord Voldemort and his cronies strike.

After watching the film at the cinema before having played the game, it was clear to see that EA would need plenty of creativity in order to create a decent gameplay experience out of what essentially is a film that contains plenty of action. My initial thoughts were that Harry Potter: OOTP would be swamped with too many wand-waving battles and would lack any depth or further insight into the Potter Universe, but I discovered that the contrary is actually true. I'm not going to pretend for one second that Harry Potter: OOTP is an engrossing, challenging or brand new gaming experience, but for fans of the books and films it's the closest thing you’ll get to spending time within the comforts of Hogwarts while freely being able to explore every inch of the surrounding area. Despite the repetitiveness of Harry's wand-waving antics and the constant trekking and back-tracking from one place to the next across what can seem like acres of gameplay space, Harry Potter: OOTP is the best Harry Potter game to date.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

In my humble opinion, the previous batch of Potter games lacked serious depth and the linear nature of each game took the shine out of what should have been adventures full of exploration and discovery. Finally, in Harry Potter: OOTP we can explore every inch of the fantasy world, EA has moved away from irritating block shifting puzzles and many of the annoying platforming elements in the previous games and have instead put most of their focus on creating numerous interesting environmental puzzles and tasks as well as opening up the Potter world for you to examine and explore at your leisure.