Falling to pieces

The Harry Potter franchise is beloved by millions of people around the world. Movies, books, and, of course, video games have all seen the boy with the lightning bolt scar enter their medium and be met with success for the most part. And so with such a popular franchise, it was only a matter of time before our dear Harry joined the ranks of Batman, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars and was LEGO-ized. But does the conclusion to the boy wizard’s saga hold its own in this unique universe, especially when ported over to the new PS Vita handheld?

Quite frankly, this may be the worst game the LEGO series has put out there on the market to date. The only real positive that I saw with this game is that much of the LEGO inspired humor that is a staple for this series remains intact with its ample cartoonish embellishment in order to get points across without the use of voice acting and fans of the Harry Potter movies will surely pick up on all the key moments and giggle in delight no matter what your age. And speaking of the movies, much of the music from the films was licensed so at least you got a moderately authentic feel in that regard.

But after that, this game takes a nosedive like someone jumping off a ledge with the wrong broomstick between his/her legs. The first thing you really notice is the graphics do not really take advantage of the PS Vita’s processing power, much like every other port we’ve seen to the handheld console thus far, and this is especially evident in the cut scenes. It looks more like the 3DS version may have been the one directly ported over and if that’s the case, that’s a bad move for the Vita. This would make sense though if TT Games was cutting corners since the PS Vita version features touch controls, but again, like many games that also have console brethren and so also implement a full button layout control scheme for the Vita, the touch controls are tacked on and really offer no enhancement to the game play whatsoever.

And speaking of the game play, this is probably the weakest movie adaptation yet by the LEGO folks as unlike Batman, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Star Wars, there is a lot less action in this game as much of the story is advanced by solving puzzles and playing mini-games. This may tie more directly into the movie franchise, but as a gamer it can get tedious quickly in LEGO form as many of the puzzles continue to be focused on a demographic under the age of 12, even if the franchise may appeal to a wider audience.

The biggest mistake this game makes though may be removing the online multiplayer features from LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4. This is especially a death knell for the Vita version as the system’s highly touted connectivity is absolutely wasted here. So, at the end of the day, LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 is just another weak port of an already released game with limited scope to begin with and that maintains many of the problems of its console brothers, but they either become more evident on the Vita or forget to take many of the positive points of its console brothers along for the ride. If you’ve already bought this game for another system, there is really no point in buying it again and if you haven’t, this is not the system to experience it on.

SUMMARY: Nothing new in terms of game play when dealing with the basics of the LEGO series, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 for the PS Vita is one of the more dull adventures set in a world crafted from the classic building blocks. Combine this with no multiplayer, tacked on touch controls, and the fact that the game has been available on consoles for months already, and this port is barely worth anyone’s time.

  • THE GOOD: Maintains classic LEGO games humor
  • THE BAD: No multiplayer, one of the duller adventures in the LEGO series
  • THE UGLY: Poor Harry’s scar is much more noticeable in LEGO form

SCORE: 3.5

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, DS, PSP, PC, and PS Vita. This review was done for the PS Vita version of the game.