Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Updated Impressions

The teenage wizard's adventures continue in EA's latest Potter-licensed game.

Harry Potter isn't afraid to kick a little butt this time out. In EA's upcoming movie-licensed game, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, based on the popular book series by J.K. Rowling, the young wizard can explore the grounds of Hogwarts, pick up adventures when and where he wants, and even pick fights as you see fit. It's not exactly Grand Theft Potter, but the rather open-ended nature of the latest Harry Potter game seems to be aimed at Potter faithful as well as those who want a bit of room to stretch out and explore.

The demo we saw at EA's recent press event in New York City started with some traditional dueling between Potter and a classmate at Hogwarts. Dueling is a big part of the gameplay, and because the game is arriving first on the Nintendo Wii, it should come as no surprise that the combat is gesture-based. You cast spells by moving the Wii Remote and/or the Nunchuk in various directions. To cast a simple fireball spell, for example, you simply move the Wii Remote forward, and to cast a shield spell, you cross your arms in front of you.

Other spells you can cast include levitating spells that will suspend your foe in midair, head over feet; a freeze spell that will stop foes in their tracks and leave them open to your attacks; and a more focused ranged spell that does more damage and is more accurate, yet takes longer to cast. When Harry takes part in duel club competitions--think of them as the Hogwarts equivalent of Fight Club crossed with a Mortal Kombat-style ladder system--you'll fight increasingly skilled opponents on your way to beating the best the club has to offer.

This being Hogwarts, however, there's more to do than blast one another to smithereens. In addition to the duel club, there's a potion club where you can try to mix potions of increasing difficulty. The mixing gameplay is straightforward--you simply follow onscreen prompts that tell you which potion type to add to the mix, and a color-coded system shows how much of that potion you should add. There's also a flight club, which teaches you the essential flying skills needed for a skilled Quidditch player. Controls here are simple--you simply point an onscreen cursor where you want to go as you fly through gates strategically placed around the Quidditch field.

As you might expect, the plot of The Half-Blood Prince follows the movie and its literary counterpart closely, but since it's a relatively open-world game, there will be lots of chances for exploration. As you make your way around the school grounds, Harry will be able to find hidden and not-so-hidden crests strewn throughout the world. Finding these crests will unlock new characters and items in the game.

With easy controls and a story that has proven to be a winner (at least in book form), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is looking like yet another serviceable translation of the literary and film phenomenon. The game is due to arrive with the film this summer.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

15 comments
Isamu_36
Isamu_36

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix was my first Wii game and it was a lot of fun and really well done. So much so that I have already played it twice. If this one gets improvements in the battle system and less questing it'll be awesome.

asw44
asw44

From the beginning of the series I think that the best game ever would be a normal-pupil-with-normal-lessons-at-hogwarts game where you can make your own character and follow normal lessons(Harry Potter adventures in the background). I also think that playing quidditch whenever you want would also be cool. I do have Quidditch world cup for the ps2 but now the technics are much better. I hope it won't be that much open to explore, that draws attention from the main storyline.

ilidiandemon
ilidiandemon

I hope this game will be more like HP and The Prizoner of Azkaban, for me It is the Best HP game untill now.

Dark-Way
Dark-Way

I'm just waiting for the day when harry potter meets a game kinda like oblivion or indeed GTA. I want to be able to explore every nook and cranny of the harry potter world from the books, and not just Rons house, or hogwarts. I'd like quidditch to take more of a role in the gameplay as well because I just love that part of harry potter. All in all I think EA needs to get it right this time and make it an open world game with all the areas that are in the books a place that you can go, were you can walk to , fly to, floo powder e.t.c. it should all be included yeah it'd take alot of time but it would by far be the best harry potter experience ever given in a game and if they don't get it right then they need to sell the rights to the game to someone who will listen to the fans and give us what we want like the creators of The Elder Scrolls or the makers of Fable I know that they would get a damn sight closer to get the game right than EA have done so far.

nerd_assassin
nerd_assassin

Wow, Wii version. I wonder what's the movement to cast an Avada Kedavra curse...or if it's possible to be used. If they do that...it's a possible Grand Theft Potter. It's kind of fun to imagine running into some Slytherin and beating the crap out of them using the Cruciatus curse...*evil villain laugh*. Might be cool to hijack some brooms too...and flying creatures. Will they incorporate motion controls for the PS3 version too? Or will there be a PS3 version? I hope so, I want a piece of wizard action as well.

rohit9891
rohit9891

The dueling system sounds cool...maybe they'll get it right this time and I think being able to cast spells using Wii controller is going to be great.

chisoxrule
chisoxrule

The only HP game I played in its entirety was OOTP on the 360, only because it was so cheap. While it wasn't perfect, it was entertaining mainly because I'm a big HP fan. As far as this one is concerned, I'd stick with the 360 version and hopefully it won't be as redundant as the last one.

GameBlender
GameBlender

Why don't they just make an RPG like they did for the first two games on Game Boy Color and the third one on Advance? Unlike their console counterparts they weren't bad games.

NyGin07
NyGin07

i hate every hp game. ootp came close to being good but it was just a bunch of fetch quests. how can you mess up 5 times in a row?

Res0lu7ion
Res0lu7ion

this game is going to be amazing think about what i've been hear about it. i can't wait for it

akram112
akram112

I agree with tikicobra. While Wii versions controls are innovative, the rest of the game is usually a mess. The previous HP games went like this: HP1 & HP2 - while they were good at that time, they are not playable by todays standards HP3 - was a very good game that got as close to giving the Potter experience as ever HP4 - was simple and charming and presented a fun multiplayer, but when played single player, one loses interest. HP5 - was the best game graphics-wise, but screwed up in every other dept from controls to repetitiveness. HP6 - hopefully will be good!!

wetwilli64
wetwilli64

The games get better every time. I can't wait! As a gamer- they're just okay; as an extreme HP fan- they're amazing.

Tikicobra
Tikicobra

I think the Wii version will probably bomb. The other versions might not be bad, per-say, but I doubt it's going to be good.