A good option for those looking forward to be Harry Potter - even if its just in a game !!!
KrazzyDJ wrote this review on .
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's / Sorcerer's Stone literally tries to put us into Harry's shoes. As such, all events are seen / experienced from Harry's perspective (though this doesn't have a first person camera). Because of this, most of Harry's initial life with the Dursleys or his exploits at Diagon alley are ignored and we start straight at Hogwarts (those who are unfamiliar with the novel may ignore what I just said). Harry's classes and the spells he learns are what form the crux of the gameplay in the game. For about 75 % of the game, Harry will be shown briefly attending a class, learning a spell, and then trying to complete a challenge related to that spell. This concept, although neat, tends to become a lot repetitive. For one, there is no free roam possible at Hogwarts. The inclusion of this would have really made things a lot more interesting. Instead all we have are challenges that require us racing from one point to the other casting spells with the click of a button. And guess what, we do not even have to select which spell to cast, its all done automatically. All we have to do is point the mouse at a place / object we think a spell might be casted on and click on the mouse button and the job is done with a voice that is initially endearing but tends to get on our nerves the more we hear it. Most of the gameplay is just about puzzle solving with occasional combat thrown in. It could have been a winner had the gameplay been balanced with combat along with some more wit and innovation a.l.a. Prince of Persia - The Sands of Time.
Considering that I'm playing this game now, the graphics will obviously look dated and there is bound to be no widescreen support. But that's all right - I was fine playing this at 1024 x 768 and didn't have any quips on that front. Though the character models look nice, they appear quite wooden, as if images of actors have been cut and pasted on the three dimensional character model faces. The environment is decent though I wish we had been given a chance to explore it in sandbox style. I guess such gameplay wasn't too common back then so I should let it pass. The voice acting though, is spot on. From the actors voices to the music, everything is quite well played out here and given the game's limited production values rivals if not betters the movie of the same name.
The plot is best left out since none of it is going to make much sense to a gamer unfamiliar with Potter. Also, much of it has been altered to make the story suitable for a game (The most notable of such alterations occur in the climax). However, this game most likely would have been played by kids who've read the novel once / multiple times and are looking forward to "be" Harry Potter in some way or the other. In providing them with such an experience, the game does a pretty decent job. There actually are several sequences in the game which are well done like the Quidditch matches and there are also sequences present in the game which are not present in the movie but are pretty much there in the novel. Finally, there are sequences which are neither in the movie nor in the novel and might let kids experience some more of the Potter world. In the end though, the game does not have much going for it and for a standalone gamer, its probably best skipped. Harry Potter fans looking out to experience some of the Potter mania first hand might give this game a try. You might not love it, but you may not find any reason to hate it either.