The school of Hogwarts doesn’t appear at all in the new Harry Potter film, so it makes sense that it isn’t in the game either. Instead, Harry is on the run and living life as a fugitive. This fits in nicely with the game’s new action-orientated direction: it’s a third person shooter. Well, a third person spell ’em up. Or whatever you want to call it.
The opening level fails to make a solid first impression. It’s a dull on-rails shooting section where you’re introduced to the incredibly temperamental lock-on system. Press the left trigger and Harry will lock-on to an enemy, but as soon as an enemy moves the lock-on is broken. During this level enemies attack from all angles but there’s no radar so you spend half the time spinning the camera around 360 degrees trying to find them while Hagrid’s supersized body obscures the view of incoming attacks. Harry yells out “Stupefy” every time he fires a projectile; if I had a pound every time I heard him say this in the game I’d probably be the richest man in Britain.
Although for most part it looks pretty decent, from start to finish Deathly Hallows is both poorly and lazily designed with the most inane mission objectives ever. There’s a level set in a graffiti-covered wasteland which the developers must be particularly pleased with as it’s recycled no less than three times and on one mission you’re painstakingly made to backtrack halfway through it. Another duff level is set in the garishly tiled Ministry of Magic prison. Guards protect the Muggles you’re supposed to rescue and once you defeat one set of guards another set instantly respawns in their place. And then another. And another. And another. It looks stupid and lazy, because it is stupid and lazy. Believe it or not, there’s an achievement for defeating 1,000 enemies. Can you recall Harry killing 1,000 death-eaters and scavengers during the duration of the film? Me neither. They’re simply there to pad out the game. Make no mistake – this is one game that has an incredible amount of padding.
The cover-system is also broken and useless. So much so that I gave up using it and actually found that some levels – such as one where you have to escape a cave with a dragon in – can be completed in just a couple of minutes simply by running through them. Harry is meant to duck behind walls and such upon pressing X, but it occasionally takes several button presses and even then he’ll occasionally ‘wall hug’ the side of an object instead, thus still leaving himself open to attack.
Then there are the first person stealth sections which involve using the cloak of invisibility. They’re just a case of following people who walk around on a pre-set path; if somebody bumps into you then your position is given away and the mission is failed. Because you’re in first person it’s impossible to tell if somebody from is about to collide with Harry, making them even less fun.
Harry gains new spells from levelling up but there’s no incentive to use them apart from having to shift a barrier or such now and then. At one point there’s a rock which Harry could easily climb over; but instead you have to find a spell to make it explode. The rock isn’t even as tall as Harry’s knee. Laugh? I certainly did. Spend £40 on this rubbish though then you won’t be laughing.