Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 ReviewRando Evans
TT Games has their formula down and since their first LEGO games back on the PS2, not much has changed. So why, after all these years, do I sit down to play every LEGO release to this day? With the new release of LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7, a follow up to LEGO Harry Potter yrs 1-4 you better believe I was there - still questioning why it was so much fun to play a series that has remained fairly unchanged for so long.
If you've ever played a TT Lego game, then you already know what you're going to find here but for those who maybe haven't stepped into these waters, then let me explain. In LEGO HP Years 5-7, you will enter a world created completely by Lego blocks taking on the roles of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and up to 150 other characters you know and love. You will be working your way through some of the most memorable scenes of those years in the HP canon, battling Death Eaters and going on a surprisingly fun, smash fest and pixel hunt. You will be collecting items that will help you unlock the 150 characters or obtain trophies and other unlockables. Each level works like a platformer where you will smash, bash, crash, and build your way through level after level either with AI counterparts or your friends. Did I mention smashing stuff? Because you will be doing a lot of that in this game but it never seems to get old.
LEGO HP: Years 5-7 is a wondrous addition to the LEGO series giving us plenty of opportunity to play with magic spells. As you progress, you'll only grow stronger, and learn more spells which will help you throughout the maps to obtain even more items. Spells are easy to shoot off and access so you won't feel like you're slogging through the menus of some complex RPG in LEGO HP Years 5-7 everything is easy to understand and execute.
Of course like all the LEGO games, LEGO HP Years 5-7 doesn't skimp on the LEGO-ized cut scenes. Recreating the scenes from the movies/books, but adding in TT's own sense of zany humor (while still respecting both scene and story) there will be plenty of wordless, sometimes confusing, but always funny (or at least cute) cut scenes to go around. Especially with the last few years of the HP series being so dark, it's nice to see what humor can be added when every character is made out of LEGO. Of course there will be a bitter-sweet sadness when you finish year 7, knowing that the Harry Potter main story has officially ended, and it may bring a tear to the eyes of those who remember finishing the last page of book 7 or watching the end of the Deathly Hollows Part 2 in theaters but fortunately with LEGO HP Years 5-7, every level is completely re-playable as you will be returning as many times as you wish to each one to collect studs (the games currency) and other items until you've compulsively collected everything there is. Even though things are LEGO, the smooth graphics and design will still make you feel like you are immersed in Harry's world from the sounds, to the great music, to small details throughout.
With co-op, the familiar camera for LEGO TT games we've recently come to enjoy is intact something a bit hard to explain, but I'll try. The camera essentially splits when one character wanders away from the other, and then it quickly comes back together when the characters rejoin. Surprisingly this doesn't muddle the screen too much and seems to flow quite easily. Of course LEGO games are best played with friends (especially those who are just getting into video games, no matter the age) and are, while a bash and smash fest, very, very fun, with little worrying about dying, saving, or screwing up.
While some things get repetitive, and boss battles are a little weak, there's not much to gripe with about LEGO HP Years 5-7 and even though none of this gameplay has really changed much over the years (just simply been tweaked here and there) it's hard to ask for more. And why ask TT to take a risk to change much especially when this formula, to this day, is still a heck of a lot of fun?
For the Harry Potter fan there is a ton to love here. With TT's usual careful handling of the material and mythos, translating the Harry Potter world into LEGO blocks with their usual LEGO-tude, fans of both HP and the LEGO series will feel LEGO HP Years 5-7 is well worth the money.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.