Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Wii Review
The Wii version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix used motion sensing in a meaningful way. It didn’t feel tacked on (something which most multi format games on the console tend to suffer from) but instead it really enhanced the game in a way that standard controllers never could, and, as a result, it was a stupidly fun and involving game. With the arrival of its sequel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the fact that the novelty of its controls have worn a little, does the framework still hold up well?
It was never as if the controls were the only strength of its predecessor, though. Order of the Phoenix had a sizable Hogwarts castle environment to explore: just wandering about, exploring was enjoyable in itself and indeed it should have been, as it was a major part of the game. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince retains the high level of exploration from last time around, but there’s a bit more in the way of activities around the castle, something that will please those who grumbled that the otherwise fantastic rendition of Hogwarts felt a bit empty. There are also crests to find hidden around the castle, some of which you’re not able to obtain until you get the requisite spell.
The story is a fragmented version of the film which can occasionally make things slightly hard to follow, but fans who have already seen the film will have little trouble keeping up and will no doubt thoroughly enjoy partaking in key scenes from the movie.
Quidditch (the broom-mounted sport) was absent from the previous game, but it’s present here, which is sure to be pleasing for the fans that want the complete Harry Potter experience (with the magical Wii remote they can even pretend they’re holding a magical wand in their hand). Typically, the controls are efficient, though the mini game itself isn’t anything special.
Potion making fares better. Here you add and stir the ingredients of potions through pouring and stirring motions. It’s almost needless to say but this works wonderfully well, resulting in a seemingly mundane task, actually becoming hugely enjoyable. Again, it’s a perfect example of motion control enhancing a game.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is very short. If you just follow the story you’re only looking at about five hours of game, though those who like to go out of their way and explore, finding all the crests will be rewarded with more hours. There’s also a two player duelling mode, but whereas the mechanic works perfectly well in the single player, it’s a bit too limited to be able to offer a sustained level of play for a multiplayer mode, but is nonetheless sure to offer some degree of amusement for young wizard wannabes.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is essentially a retread of Order of the Phoenix, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The new additions will be enough to get the attention of fans of J.K Rowling’s creation, but non-fans who have played the previous game will perhaps feel a little disappointed at the lack of new features present.