Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is remarkable. Remarkably unentertaining and hideous, that is. It manages to shatter that border that distinguishes a bad game from a good one, and puts itself into its own dreary category of the Worst “Game” of 2009 by far and for a long while. The story is incoherent, the dialogue is as dull as the previous title, and the gameplay makes Atari Console games seem next-generation.
There is not much more to say about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. While reviewing something takes a lot of energy to pinpoint details and concepts on a developer’s title, EA Bright Light gave us a very easy time to review Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Why? EA Bright Light’s work on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is so tragic, and their dependency on the name “Harry Potter” as a franchisee profit cow-machine, that there is absolutely nothing to review.
The first problem, rather catastrophe, becomes apparent with spells. The game begins with a grudging task of learning basic-set skills for the gameplay to proceed: Wingardium Leviosa, Lumos, etc. The use of spells boils down to a very simplistic interaction with items around the game for the most part. Using Leviosa, Harry Potter is tasked to get rid of cauldrons in the beginning of the game into a river to avoid Ron Weasley from getting into trouble. While the originality lacks with spell-casting, it further continues onto insulting levels for the players later on. Players will find themselves being harangued around with drone tasks of repairing levers, to setting off vacuous fireworks and other monkey-like tasks for the making. While EA Bright Light tries to incorporate spells into Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it begrudgingly fails to the dismay of the players and also to the cause of consistent headaches.
Harry Potter continues this trend of a demurral of bad gameplay through to the Duel Club. The duels are as painful as the spells in the game, and have little to no action. Throughout carrying on tasks in Hogwarts, many people/bullies want a piece of Potter for a challenge. Any challenge can be feasibly won by constantly sending out stupefy a bunch of times, followed by some charged attacks that are used by holding the right analog stick backwards then lunging it forward in the direction of the spell. Duels are candidly useless as the storyline, and does not help the game one bit.
For anyone to ever play a game, it needs to make sense. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince completely falters at this, making it shocking to title it a “video game.” The storyline, whatever little there is, verges on ingenuous disappointment. The game just starts off at a random point at Ron Weasley’s house. From there, it jumps to a big newspaper article of Harry Potter as ‘the chosen one,’ deeming his fame to publicity and annoyance at the public, to a very confusing sequence of Draco Malfoy around a cauldron with other evil-doers of ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named.’
From there, it idiotically hops to a sequence in a train where Harry Potter puts on an invisibility cloak and then gets beat around by Malfoy. Another example comes where a quidditch match starts right away, not exactly subtle transition. An hour later, another confusing cutscene happens with a necklace, and a girl. The stupidity continues and it is far too much to list. For the sake of the readers, we will stop here.The level of chaos and the amount of migraines we had at the remarkably half-baked assets of the game cannot even begin to summarize Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is an OK piece of “interactive entertainment.” But let us be real, EA Bright Light. Calling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a video game is wrong, and that is more than enough of a fact. There is virtually any decent gameplay, zero originality with any sort of concepts if there are any, and a confusing story that is not frankly a story. While Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will arrive in theaters July 15th, 2009 worldwide, there is no reason to make software that is completely reliant on the franchise name and fearful of ruining anything for the movie. It would have been better to just wait until the film came out to provide a full experience to actually “Relive the Action of the Movie” and not “Relive a Nightmare” in the mask of a video game. The only thing done right was the environment design, so give that developer a medal. For Harry Potter fans and new fans alike, straying away from this title is the logical option. Renting it from the bottom rack would be a tough decision to consider.