The Lego games have been popular in the gaming world since 2005 when the first Lego Star Wars game was released and many popular franchises have been covered including the aforementioned sci-fi series as well as Batman and Indiana Jones. So looking at the previous iterations, Harry Potter seemed like a good candidate to made into a Lego video game and it seems like that gamble paid off as it has to be one of the best ever Lego games and could arguably be on a par with the Star Wars editions.
The game is made up of the first books/films from the Harry Potter series (it is safe to say the rest will be along in another game sometime after the release of the last film) and they capture the looks of the film perfectly but there are also some things from the books mixed in so you do feel like you get the complete experience when you play this game. The overall result is one game with great depth that you won’t get tired of playing anytime soon.
The gameplay is typical of the Lego series and sees you controlling a variety characters in many different locations in which you collect studs and manipulate the environment to get where you need to but in Lego Harry Potter it has some slight differences that in my opinion make it more enjoyable the previous games in the Lego series. The SQUARE button is still used for your basic attack but if you hold it down an aiming reticule appears which allows you to aim at targets that would otherwise be out of your reach.
Spells are obviously a key part of Harry Potter and you get access to a big selection of them and other abilities such as Harry’s invisibility cloak which you can cycle through using the L1 or R1 buttons (or by holding down TRIANGLE to bring up a selection menu if you so wish). Spells are learned in lessons in Hogwarts and once they are unlocked they can be used by the 3 primary characters you control in that environment (Harry, Hermione and Ron). These spells can be used in game for things such as moving objects (using wingardium leviosa) or sneaking by enemies (the invisibility cloak). Even though some of what I have just mentioned may sound like nothing groundbreaking it feels like it works better than it ever did before.
The central hub in the game is the Leaky Cauldron pub and you can walk in Diagon Alley where you can buy new characters for free play and replay previous levels once they are unlocked (either in story mode or free play) and to continue the story mode you simply go to a blue arrow located in the pub. Some levels in the game obviously occur outside of Hogwarts but the majority of action takes place inside the school which effectively acts as a second hub in the game and you can go off and explore at your own wish.