Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Xbox 360 Review
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix features the best digital rendition of Hogwarts Castle yet, it’s both huge and true to the films. Fans are sure to be delighted with getting the chance to explore, seeing all the familiar rooms and characters, and just generally having a jolly good time.
EA have used this vast area efficiently, crafting an exploration based game out of it. As Harry you can utilize his different spells on objects all around the castle, repairing items, lighting torches, moving stuff and more. Doing so will often reward you with discovery points, which in turn will eventually unlock some bonus content as well as enhancing your magical powers.
The interaction with the many objects makes for fun exploration in all versions of the game, but the Wii controls make it better still. Many Harry Potter fans were excited at the potential of casting spells with the remote, and with Order of the Phoenix EA has delivered them, and by god it works wonderfully.
Each spell is executed through different motions and largely this is stupidly good fun. The spell casting is so involving and the remote so fittingly shaped that you may begin to think that you really are grasping a magical wand in your hands, that includes us adults too, and yes we really should know better. The PS3 version also features motion controls, but the un-wand like shape of the Sixaxis, results in a less enjoyable time than the Wii version offers.
Unsurprisingly there’s combat too, but it’s somewhat of a rare happening and when it does come about it’s hardly a highlight of the game. The boring old pad versions (only joking, we’ll always have a place in our hearts for those antiquated things and hope for them to stay around for the unforeseeable future, really) are pretty boring in the fights, but the Wii version motion controls somehow make it enjoyable.
When you’re not in combat or searching for those many discovery points, you’ll generally be seeking out members for Dumbledore’s army , many of which will require you to do things for them before they will join you. That’s if you don’t get sidetracked on the way by the many pleasant diversions available in the gargantuan castle, such as the addictive card matching game Exploding Snap.
To aid you with your travels around Hogwarts, is the very effective feature of the Marauders map. Here all the places and characters of note are listed and just simply by clicking one, you’ll be led to them by footprints, which means your time around the castle will rarely be spent wandering around in circles, not knowing where to go.
To transverse the massive area, you’ll be wandering up and down huge flights of stairs and after seeing them again and again, things can get a bit weary from time to time. Thankfully this is relieved somewhat by the many shortcuts dotted around the castle. Also, whilst our trip to Hogwarts Castle was certainly enjoyable, it was rarely a particularly challenging adventure, but at least it was relaxing.
If you just follow the storyline, there’s only four or five hours of gameplay. Yes this isn’t a lot of hours for your hard earned cash or to get the kids out of your feet for any satisfying length of time, but if you thoroughly explore Hogwarts, unlocking all the bonus content, playing the mini games, discovering all the animal footprints, winning all the trophies and more, the games’ completion time will massively extend, so no complaints here then.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix makes Hogwarts a fun place to spend some virtual time. The controls of the Wii version are effective and actually enhance the game for once, and just as long as you don’t care for the prettier visuals of its mightier counterparts, it’s easily the definitive version of the game.
The Wii version is an easy eight, whilst all other versions are a seven. But whichever version you go for, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is without doubt one of the best licensed games around.