Harry Potter's back in his fifth instalment, but can the video game live up to the magic of the books and the movies? We get spell casting to find out.
Available on virtually every format (PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS) the game plays out against the film and the book and sees Harry returning for his fifth year of study at Hogwarts.
A brief recap of the story for those not aware: the evil Lord Voldemort, is back, but everyone seems to be turning a blind eye to the news. A new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher later, that refuses to teach the kids how to protect themselves, and Harry takes matters into his own hands.
Meeting secretly with a small group of students who name themselves “Dumbledore’s Army” Harry teaches them how to defend themselves against the Dark Arts.
Sounds great and the PS3 visuals are too, replicating Hogwarts perfectly as you run around finding people, learning magic and playing mini games like exploding snap along the way.
To help you get around the vast hallowed halls of the school there is a map that allows you to see where key people are, as well as, listing buildings, and once selected where you want to go, imaginary footprints appear on the floor to follow to your goal be it a room or person. The footprints certainly help (it's a bit like following a racing line in formula one games) but you'll soon find that you pay attention to nothing else.
With such a vast landscape to get around you do spend most of your time on the move, so along the way you get the chance to earn magic for completing certain tasks like repairing broken pots or hanging pictures back on the wall.
Magic for the PS3 version is performed via the motion sensor controller or via the toggle dial and moving it in a series of wiggles, circles and up and down movement casts different spells from attacking people to doing the housework. It's more precise than the Wii version which sees you having to wave the Wii Remote around like a real wand, but it's clearly not as much fun.
Trying to keep the gameplay fresh, you switch characters every so often from Harry to Dumbledore and Sirius Black, however it never gets away from the fact that the game is incredibly dull with the only real reason to keep going is to see what rewards you have stored in your rewards room, and even then that not a great reason to carry on playing.
Once you have spent 5 minutes, if not longer sometimes, getting from one side of the castle to the other you are left with completing a repetitive task, which is used over and over again but with a different lick of paint.
Getting a book from the library for example about 10% into the game sees you moving a desk and then climbing up on it to reach the top of the bookshelf, once you've climbed up however, the book then flies over to another shelf. Four shelves later and you eventually get the book.
While the game will appeal to perhaps the younger audience only just, finding Harry Potter there isn't enough here to warrant a good score.
Although Hogwarts has been recreated beautifully on the PS3, the gameplay isn't as exciting and with not much happening early on, you're only likely to lose interest, because lets face it, you probably already know the outcome anyway.