Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
Genre Action -> Adventure
Today's Rank 35138
Homepage
USA
Date N/A
Publisher Electronic Arts
UK
Date N/A
Publisher N/A
The history of video games is littered with translations of films--most of them bad. This game, while decidedly based on the feature film's visualization of the Harry Potter story, is actually very good in its own right despite being too easy for most experienced gamers. It's a fun, colorful experience even for the few of us on the planet who have neither read the book nor watched the movie. Electronic Arts thankfully bestowed a lot of production value on this release rather than trying to cash in on a quick buck. Aside from the occasional pop-up problem that makes walls vanish quite unmagically, the graphics are beautiful and fun. Chocolate frogs (an appropriate health power-up) and other elements and characters from the book and film are wonderfully animated. The sound effects and, particularly, the voice acting are top-drawer, which helps suck the player into the Potter experience. Also, the gameplay is nicely varied throughout. Players go from learning a new spell in class to retrieving fire seeds for Hagrid to participating in magic fights against the Slytherin bully Draco Malfoy to riding the broom--which is especially fun. There's even a Quidditch level early on, but there's little to do and it's over very quickly. On the downside, the game suffers from some really odd controls. Like many adventure games, jumping is really important, as many levels require you to clear obstacles or reach out-of-the-way items. But, unlike in nearly every other game in the genre, there's no jump button. Instead, players automatically jump from the edge of a platform from either a full stop or while running. It takes a lot of getting used to; if you're not at full run or full stop, it's easy to just walk right off the edge and fall. And, like too many other games, you can only save your progress at predetermined locations. Another fault of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is its lack of challenge for experienced gamers. It's nice that the developers are trying to make it accessible to the entire cross-section of PlayStation-owning Harry Potter fans, but without varying levels of difficulty, it's less of a game than a tour through Potter's magical world. Still, it is an interesting world, and even though it's easy, the action is still varied enough to be fun. --Porter B. Hall Pros: Good use of characters and plot elements from the story Varied gameplay Great production value Broom riding is really fun Cons: Very little challenge Odd control scheme Lethargic camera movement makes it sometimes hard to see what you're doing
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