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Harry Potter Sorcerer's Stone - GC - Review

The title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone may be a little confusing, as one, it comes after last year's release of Chamber of Secrets, even though it's the first book in the series, and two, there's already been a game of the same name released a few years ago. However, this title is a completely different game than the previous game of the same title.

Although developed by a different company, the game uses many of the same drawings from Chamber of Secrets, so that the overall appearance of both games is the same. The basic gameplay is the same, too, and mostly involves Harry exploring Hogwarts, collecting Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, learning spells, jumping a few platforms, fighting enemies and even squeezing in a little Quidditch. Gnome-tossing is still present, and also collecting wizard cards.

The game begins with Harry's arrival at Hogwarts for his first year at wizard school, and he soon meets new friends, and also new enemies. Much of his time will be spent exploring hidden parts of Hogwarts, mostly in the basement and also outside. Collecting beans allows Harry to buy various items from Fred and George, which will help Harry in fighting off enemies. As before, game progress is marked in days, which can be ended upon the completion of set tasks. Optional tasks are also available, which will usually result in gaining more wizard cards. Players can choose when to end their day, which allows for leeway in exploring the school and purchasing more items from Fred and George.

The control in both games is similar, with different buttons assigned to the different spells, and also offers an auto-jump feature, which helps to take the guesswork out of jumping. Using the C-button allows for rotation of the camera, but the implementation is much worse than previously, and most times will only allow for a 180 degree rotation, rather than a full 360. This can be highly irritating when running around trying to avoid enemies and the camera is stuck looking backwards behind Harry, while gnomes and other creatures run up unseen in front and hit him.

The save-game feature is handled differently, in that there are no obvious checkpoints; instead players have to guess at where exactly their game will be saved. Although the game can be saved at any time, the save spots are at designated points of progress, which are unknown to the player in advance.

This sequel to Chamber of Secrets plays pretty much like the first game, but suffers a little in comparison. While it does offer vast areas to explore at Hogwarts which is always fun to do, the overall game experience just isn't quite as engaging this time around. The tasks and quests aren't as compelling as before, and the puzzles seem a little lacking. Graphically, the game looks the same, but isn't of quite the same quality as before, mostly because of a slight blurry effect around many of the objects, like the portraits and floors inside Hogwarts. However, the lighting outside is crisp and looks good.

Fans of Harry Potter will enjoy this game, especially younger players, but gamers wanting a challenging platformer won't find it here. If the video game world of Harry Potter hasn't been experienced yet, gamers are better off getting Chamber of Secrets, which is the better game. Also, gamers wanting an easy platform foray into fantasy may want to check out The Hobbit, which is similar in concept to these two games and offers a good bit of fun.


Gameplay: 7.2
Exploring Hogwarts is always fun! However, the puzzles and tasks get a little repetivite in this sequel, and the overall gameplay isn't quite as fun as before. The camera control is definitely worse, and can get quite irritating at times. Still, the game offers Potter fans a decent run.

Graphics: 6 
The graphics, while not bad, aren't that good, either. For some reason, they're not as clearly defined around the edges of objects as previously.

Sound: 6.5
The sound is pretty average and doesn't make much of an impression, as I can't even really remember the music. The voice acting is very good, though, and adds to the game experience. For non-Brits, it's fun to listen to the British accents.

Difficulty: Easy
An easy game to play for all.

Concept: 6 
When all is said and done, a basic action/adventure platform is the core game design, which has been done a thousand times before. Nothing innovative here.

Overall: 7
A decent foray into Harry Potter's world, but one that could have been better, and one that doesn't compare favorably to the previous Chamber of Secrets. Fans of Harry Potter will enjoy it, but others may want to pass.

Good

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