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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 review – Where’s the magic?

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The Last Harry Potter game, much like the movie it was based on, really, was a fairly dull affair. Slow and languid, both set out to increase suspense and tension for the final chapter. Where the movie succeeded, the game has unfortunately fallen flat.

Like the first Deathly Hallows, this is a cover-based shooter – not entirely unlike Gears of War. The game picks up exactly where Part 1 left off – with the noseless, slithery dark lord Voldemort taking the elder wand.You’ll play as Harry, Hermione, Ron and a host of other characters from the Harry Potter universe in your quest to destroy the remaining Horcruxes and finally put an end to Voldemort’s nonsense.

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It is, as mentioned, a third person shooter where you’ll have to duck in an out of cover, while dispensing enemies with the only weapon available to you throughout the entire game; your wand. Thankfully, you can choose from a range of spells to dispense the hordes (and hordes) of Death Eaters you’ll be facing. you start off with Stupefy, a stunning spell, which acts as your first, and standard offensive spell. It’s one of the problems with the game ; your wand and its associated spells no longer seem magical – they’re really just guns. Spells become unlocked as you progress through the game, so you’ll soon be using protego to shield you from harm, and expelliarmus to break enemy shields. Expulso isn’t an expelling spell, it’s really just a rapid-fire machine gun. The blasting curse confringo becomes a grenade launcher, while petrificus totalus acts as a sort of long-range sniper rifle.  It’s an absurd abuse of poetic licence that all starts to feel like a generic 3rd person shooter after a while – and the only aspect of it that feels fresh, Harry’s ability to apparate (in this case short-range teleport in a puff of smoke) between cover is unfortunately only introduced towards the end of the game.

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Shooting, admittedly, is fun – for a while. You frequently have to switch between spells to keep from being overcome by the attacking waves of enemies. The fun doesn’t last though; You’ll pretty much be doing the same thing over and over (and over) again; shoot at enemies, duck, move to another conveniently placed piece of cover, shoot at more enemies, move to a new area,  rinse and repeat. Sure, you’ll change characters and progress through a host of environments from the film, but the poor level design and tedious predictability keep it from being a particularly engaging experience.

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The game is mercifully short, just around 4 hours, so the banality of it comes to an end before it becomes truly mundane. There’s a challenge mode for the truly masochistic, allowing you to replay key moments in the game in a time-attack manner – but it’s an entirely throwaway feature that doesn’t add much longevity. After you complete the game, you’re treated to a video montage of previous Harry Potter games – but instead of fond memories it’ll one serve to show you the squandered potential of a series of poor, uninspired games that failed to live up to their source material. It’s sad that Harry Potter’s video game career ends on such a low note.

Scoring

Gameplay: 5/10

Conceptually vapid third person shooter that does more than just borrow elements from other games in the genre. Pity it doesn’t do so very well.

Design and Presentation: 7/10

The design of levels themselves might be appalling, but the environments they’re set in capture a little of the the Harry Potter magic.

Value: 4/10

It’s terribly short and there’s little compelling reason to replay or complete the challenges. Move support is included for PS3 users (with the last game’s Kinect features bowing out), but it’s no better than the standard controls. You can use your entire array of spells if you play through a second time, but it’s unlikely you’ll want to.

Overall: 5.5/10

Deathly Hallows Part 2 is a difficult game to recommend; fans of the series will be appalled at the liberties taken with the source material, while third person shooter fans will have a library full of much better games. If you’ve just seen the movie and absolutely need to relive it, there are worse ways…I guess.

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Author:Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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