Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 First Impressions

Wingardium leviosa comes in handy as we zap everything that isn't glued together in Traveller's Tales latest Lego game.

Thanks to the success of giving some of the most beloved franchises in pop culture a Lego makeover, it was only a matter of time before Traveller's Tales set its sights on rebuilding the magical world of Harry Potter using the colorful Danish bricks. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 tells the story of the famous boy wizard in its signature cheeky fast-paced Lego style. It follows the first four movies, which include The Sorcerer's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, and The Goblet of Fire. This isn't the first time that the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been re-created in video game form, but there's a certain charm to seeing your favorite wizards, witches, and muggles transformed into blocky, yellow-headed characters.

Daniel Radcliffe finally makes the minifig career transition.

Our first look at Lego Harry Potter began with a cutscene on Privet drive, where we saw the young Harry Potter dropped off by Dumbledore. The story was told through exaggerated motions and expressions by the characters, as well as minimal sounds, but as always, it was incredibly effective in terms of getting the key points of the story across, especially if you're already familiar with the material. We watched as Harry received his letter of invitation to attend Hogwarts, and before we knew it, we were in the Leaky Cauldron with Hagrid, destroying everything that wasn't part of the background.

Similar to previous Lego games, you can play with a friend (and online if you're playing on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3) and use the abilities of a specific character to solve puzzles, as well as collect bonus items. What's new in Lego Harry Potter is that Harry and his spellcasting friends will gain new abilities as you progress through the game. At first, Harry can't do much except zap with his wand and wave at people who pass by him. But after attending his classes at Hogwarts, he'll build up an impressive repertoire of spells and abilities, which can also be upgraded. There will be 140 playable characters, each with his or her own distinct personality and abilities, so there's plenty of unlocking to do if you have the patience to explore by leaving no brick unturned. Hagrid has been given some spellcasting abilities to help Harry out initially, so between the two, we watched as Hagrid used his leviosa spell to put together objects in order for Harry to snag some hard-to-reach items. Because Harry was much lighter, he could bounce off of makeshift trampolines, whereas Hagrid would just crush the object. However, both characters were able to hop around the cobblestone streets on a green lawn chair as though it were a pogo stick. Because the Harry Potter universe is filled with mystery and surprises, it's fun to keep an eye out for peculiar items because you never know what they'll do.

There are plenty of secrets to discover in the world of Harry Potter by being thorough. Not only do you find your way to the next area, but if you find the four crest pieces in each area, you'll also get a gold brick, which will then give you access to bonus material. Moving from one area to the next doesn't involve jumping around in a hub menu; instead, the story events (six events in each story) will unfold when they're supposed to, which provides a seamless transition from one level to the next. You have the freedom to revisit older areas, like classrooms to practice spells, but once you're ready for the story event, the game is set up so that you will be guided to the next level.

"Izzat you 'Arry?!"

Harry will share similar traits with his friends Hermione and Ron because they're learning the same stuff in school, but they will still be unique. For example, Ron has his pet rat Scabbers while Hermione has her cat Crookshanks, and we assume these pets will help them in some form or another. Hermione's superior knowledge will grant her access to areas that aren't available to the other two boys, and she'll have the time turner. Harry, on the other hand, will eventually learn parseltongue and the Patronus charm. While there is no quidditch match to play in Lego Harry Potter, you can still hop on any broomstick to ride it, and it's hilarious to see the differences among the three students as they try to get a handle on broom riding. Eventually, when you unlock some of the other characters like a member of House Slytherin, you'll get access to the Slytherin common room. As in the previous games, unlocking more playable characters will allow you to return to previous areas and access things that were impossible to get the first time around.

The build we saw was still in its early stages, but we were impressed with the background and the details of the environments. Other than the obvious Lego bricks and pieces that can be taken apart then slapped back together, the settings were quite realistic. They provided an interesting contrast to the Lego pieces and gave us that authentic vibe from the movies. From the animated portraits in the halls of Hogwarts to the clothing-eating drawer in the Gryffindor common room, the humor and goofiness that the Lego games are known for is all here. The music has been borrowed from the movies as well, so the trademark tunes and themes will easily invoke memories from the films.

What mystery awaits our intrepid trio of interchangeable-parts heroes?

We're excited to see more of Lego Harry Potter and for the chance to explore the long corridors of Hogwarts or take a walk in the Forbidden Forest. Other areas that we took a brief look at included Gringotts Bank and the Weasleys home. Both were re-created as faithfully as possible with some extra fun stuff thrown in, like riding a tractor on the Weasleys lawn and using your magic to get garden gnomes to ride a motorbike. There's no limit to the kind of whimsical things that can happen in this rich magical world, and it looks like Traveller's Tales is taking full advantage of it. We didn't get a chance to see it, but we're told a level editor similar to the one in Lego Indiana Jones 2 will also be included. We'll update you with more information on Lego Harry Potter as soon as it becomes available. The game is currently set to be released in May on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and the PC.

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Discussion

67 comments
alisson95
alisson95

they should make a LEGO MARVEL game

gropez
gropez

Im so upset that there's no Quidditch match...There should at least be a Quidditch minigame...

pet_art33
pet_art33

Halo would be quite hard, in my opinion. The way they made they're games would be quite hard for TT to reproduce their game in LEGO style.

Markie75
Markie75

Lego Halo would be better ...................

TheCaveRat
TheCaveRat

I was a huge Harry Potter fan back in 6th grade when the first movie came out. The huge fan is still inside me somewhere, and it really wants this game...

Ghostquote44
Ghostquote44

Whatever... looks interesting but... yeah.

undersquirl
undersquirl

i'm not even going to bother stealing this game...

udonthavetoknow
udonthavetoknow

I liked the lego games because it had so much humor. and i will try this out because it looks very interesting , i also had a lot of lego harry potter stuff as a kid. I think lego and magic can work together perfectly XP

Darkkend
Darkkend

a game based on a book series without dialogue.

Last_Grimreaper
Last_Grimreaper

Erm is it just me or does their wands look like massage sticks?

simonphw
simonphw

Lego Star Wars is the best Lego game so far.

ninja1395
ninja1395

This sounds awesome, much better than Lego Batman anyway. I can't wait,

Leptonic
Leptonic

Lego X-Men will be awesome!!

M-Mehl
M-Mehl

I think what he means is, that as long as megablocks own the rights to halo, the chances of a lego Halo game are a big round 0

SilvrSlayr96
SilvrSlayr96

Harry Potter is good, but I hate LEGO games. I think I will pass on this.

DatWasEasy
DatWasEasy

@ sjstennis Yes, but I said A lego halo game would be nice.

Mr_Waterboy
Mr_Waterboy

Sounds interesting now that they've added some more features than the rest of the Lego videogames. I might even consider buying it, but not until they release all of the movies in one game.

jarofdirt882
jarofdirt882

Looks quite good and as a LEGO game fan, I might buy it. Though I'll probably wait until they bring out one for all seven Potters. That's going to happen, right?

NotoriusGlaedr
NotoriusGlaedr

As a huge Harry Potter fan i have to admit that the games have been lacking (as most movie-game adaptations). What really sucks is Harry Potter has the premise to be such an amazing game. I don't understand how you can mess it up. Imagine it in an RPG format, you learn new spells going to class. You power up earning XP. Plus you get told one of the greatest stories in decades while your doing this. Hell if they wanted you wouldn't even have to be harry potter, you could create your own hogwarts student and still have a kick ass game. The fact that they ruined the game is epic fail because there probably is more ways to make these games good rather than bad. So back to this game, i think it will be a good game, but now its going to be lacking the graphics. *grrr*

xXFr34k_0uTXx
xXFr34k_0uTXx

I will admit that the Harry Potter series is one of the most well-written, attractive series in the past few decades. However, the games (I have not taken the time to play any of them, but read reviews) do not seem to capture the series' beauty as well as the books. I think creating a game called "Hogwarts" and basing it on RPG elements would be FANTASTIC. You would begin your quest as your own character (NOT HARRY) the minute you receive that mysterious letter in the mail. God would I pay for that game. =]

racistgummybear
racistgummybear

i'm a HUGE harry potter fan and the lego games are very fun... i might just buy this :)

Binarynova
Binarynova

I would have paid double for Lego LOTR, but Lego Harry Potter I can pass on.

dragonfly110
dragonfly110

definetly gonna get it, Im a huge harry potter fan, and I loved the star wars one (didnt get the indiana jones one as I was never huge into that series)

protaganist20
protaganist20

The lego games r good harmless fun, though they are all the pretty much the same. Dunno as a potter fan I might check it out.

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

Online is once again PS3/X360 only. Not that I'm getting this game. When is Lego Lord of the Rings?

marshin7
marshin7

LEGO call of duty LEGO halo LEGO god of war LEGO Lord of the Rings... all would b kick ass

Gornax
Gornax

Lego pirates of the caribbean would be awesome!

LynQ
LynQ

Lego Halo

jwzy13
jwzy13

Lego Transformers?! goblet of fire should be a blast to play with tri-wizard tournament

Firaxis5050
Firaxis5050

Looks sweet. Probably buy it, if they include Darth Maul as an unlockable character!

der-kaiser
der-kaiser

hoping this would be more fun than lego indy 2 (it really sucked)

matheus_09
matheus_09

Yeah LEGO Lord of the Rings would be great!

sjstennis
sjstennis

@DatWasEasy the Halo building blocks are owned by Megablocks though... So don't get your hopes up.

DatWasEasy
DatWasEasy

A lego halo video game would be cool.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

you have to hand it Lego, they're geniuses. They have a product that can lend itself to any other major franchise and create sales for both parties... I wouldn't be surprised if they start parodying more game-centric licences as well as the mainstream film ones they've done so far like Indy, Star Wars and Harry Potter. We'll have Lego GTA and Lego Gears of War before you know it... as long as the games are decent, that's fine with me. :D

swmeek
swmeek

A Lego Lord Of The Rings would be a neat idea! I think this would be a fun game to play like the Star Wars and Indiana Jones games are !

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

I'm surprised there isn't a Lego Olympics yet.

Razorwind864
Razorwind864

I've been waiting (but not wanting) for this to come out. Generally, Lego only makes video games out of series (like star wars) that do well as a building set, then they think about turning it into a game.

vunkster
vunkster

Ive always wondered how there is almost an unlimited amount of things they can do with the Harry Potter franchise for videogames, but theyve always messed up and not even touched its potential. I hope this time, things will be different.

apricots516
apricots516

I love the idea of another Lego game but just my opinion they might want to think about upgrading/updating game-play or graphics or something that will have a new and improved look and feel. Also WHY HARRY POTTER? i mean its not a bad idea, but it doesn't quite hit the demographic that Lego has, and the series in-and-of-itself is not doing all that well! so again why Harry Potter? why not say: James Bond or The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia (which the younger demographic would love) or Jurassic Park (which would be REALLY cool) or Spider-man (OH YEAH!) or Pirates of the Caribbean (i know there's already alot of games of it but it would still be quite interesting in Lego form especially with the younger demographic) or even! The Matrix or for crying out loud! The Terminator! so you see my point. and maybe someday they will come but for now I'm still siting here on my seat i always sit on waiting for a new game to come out, just so i can look at it (and maybe play it). anyway thank you Gamespot for posting!

starscreamPL
starscreamPL

I`m a little tired of Lego games formula.

24k_Solid_Gold
24k_Solid_Gold

Same with SkylinePigeon, looks pretty sweet, and all the Lego games I've played were pretty fun. This one looks no different, and since I love Harry Potter, this is a definite buy for me! :)

SkylinePigeon
SkylinePigeon

That last screenshot looks awesome. This is definitely one of my most anticipated games and I can't wait to play it!! :D

nosferatusbutt
nosferatusbutt

With Ghostbusters 3 comming out in 2011 they should come out with a Lego game for that series. I could see a Lego Gozer and Peck.

OverlordEX
OverlordEX

I wonder whether there'll be any characters from the other lego games in it.......

stEElyDaN909
stEElyDaN909

These games are always very entertaining to play, and I've always like Traveller's Tales :D Looking forward to it!

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

Omg, this looks awesome, cant wait.