At E3 2004 I got a chance to look at Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the EA booth. I played Chamber of Secrets last year and absolutely loved it. The portion of the game that I played gave me a firm idea of how the game operates. It is much the same as the CoS game, in that you have to do little challenges here and there with your spells. Whether or not this helps you learn the spell as was the case in the previous game, I do not know.

The graphics have been improved from what I saw. At a high resolution they ran smoothly and looked great. The facial expressions of the people in the game are pretty good and show the emotion they feel as they speak. Since it was so loud I couldn’t hear anything from the game so I can not comment on the audio portion of the game. But having played CoS and knowing the voice actors were pretty good, we can only expect good things from this version.

My main gripe with this game is that they changed the story around to bring in a new style of game play. For example, on the train Harry and his friends must battle a bunch of ‘Monster Book of Monsters’. Of course this never happened in the book, and probably the movie. The team learns new spells, and the effects are so much better. As these spells were probably never in the book, at least their affects, the spells names may have been mentioned. While this tidbit of information may upset a few people, I would have been much happier had they stuck to the original story.

I honestly can’t wait for this game to hit the shelves. As with the last one I will probably beat this one in 1 sitting, which isn’t too long. Expect a full fledged review when the final version is released in the stores later this month. In the mean time keep your eyes out for those nasty Demontors.

- Kurt Knudsen