Don't believe Gamespot. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you're bound to love this, as it's the best Potter game to date.
Not bad, not bad at all.
First of all I am a devout Harry Potter fan, I have read every book many times and seen all the movies multiple times as well. They are amazing. And if you like the books or the movies (or both, which is pretty common these days) there is alot to enjoy here. Tons of nods to previous entries in the series, both the books and movies. As all of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is available for exploration, you will run across many familar locales, such as Hagrid's Hut, Myrtle's Bathroom, the Clock Tower, Prefect's Bathroom, Dungeons, and many other places. Hogwarts is beautifully and faithfully represented, and if you've ever had a childish fantasy about being a student at Hogwarts this is as close as it gets, sadly. The whole school, and I mean the WHOLE school is open, in this sand-box style Potter game. If you're a hardcore Potter fan like me, you will be thrilled by how accurate and amazingly Hogwarts is brought to screen. Everything is open to you, it's spectacular. There are even nods to latter entries in the series (spoilers for Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows follow)
[spoilers] There is a scene in this game where you must clean Grimmauld Place with Ginny. You come across a golden locket that won't open. It's Slytherin's Locket, AKA a horcrux taken by Sirius' brother Regulus. It's suprising that this is featured because the movie and game of Order of the Phoenix came out a couple of weeks before Deathly Hallows, where it is explained that Kreacher and Regulus took the locket. Very nice nod, as a Potter fan I was tickled. Also, the fact that this is even in the game means that Rowling must have had some co-operation with the movie-makers about the importance of the Locket, who then passed that info down to EA, or she talked directly to EA. It adds to the authenticity a great deal. [/spoilers]
The gameplay in here, although solid, is flawed. The dueling controlls are a bit awkward and sluggish at times, which can be frustrating. Gesture controlls work fine for non-combat gameplay, but it is at times non-responsive when dueling, especially with multiple enemies. The lock-on controlls will confuse you for a while, though you'll eventually get used to it and wonder why you found it so difficult before. That's why I said this game as a 1-2 hour learning curve. What would have been better for combat, however is making a waving motion with the remote and maybe holding down buttons simultaneously. Regardless, it is pretty fun, if at times awkward. The motion controlls are very natural feeling for some things, such as "Wingardium Leviosa", the lifting spell. The rest of the game controlls fine, combat aside. Overall, combat takes a backseat to exploration, love it or hate it. I can't speak for everyone, but I loved it, though at times fetch quests and similar things get tedius. As I said earlier, all of Hogwarts is explorable, along with most of Grimmauld Place and a few other random locations. There are tons of sidequests and secondary missions to do, along with several mini-games. I was impressed. There is alot to do. You even get to play as the Weasley twins, Sirius, and Dumbeldore. Ron and Hermoine are of course always there to give you a hand, and some other members of Dumbeldore's Army give you support once and a while.
The graphics are over-all very good. They are quite impressive, and not just for a Wii game. It looks about as good as it's 360 and PS3 counterparts, in all honesty. However there are some minor bugs and frame rate issues at times. All the characters are brought to life very faithfully and nicely, though they can look a bit robotic at times. The textures are very good, and the castle looks very nice. There are quite a few very nice looking places in the castle, due to realistic lighting and shading effects. So on a whole, this game is very good looking, all minor beefs aside.
The sound is this game's highpoint. About 20 of the actors lend their vocal talents to this game, including Rupert Grint (Ron), Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), Tom Felton (Malfoy), and most all of Ron's family. The rest of the characters are all voiced by very convincing sound-a-likes. The main theme from the movies is also used for the first time in the series; no more generic knock-offs and sound-a-likes. The NPCs sound pretty good too. The sound is overall spectacular, and makes this game what it is; the most authentic Potter experience to date.
The value is tricky. If you're a very big fan of Harry like me; it's well worth $50 as you'll want to wring this baby dry, and explore Hogwarts inside and out. Everyone else may want to think twice, however. If you're not a completionist and not a very big Potter fan; this would serve as a very good rent. This should go without saying but: if you don't like Potter, skip it. There are about 10-20 hours of gameplay here (I don't know for sure, as there is no timer that appears by your save file or anything like that). But if you are a fan this will last you at least a week playing 1 or 2 hours at a time, about as much time as it takes to read the Order of the Phoenix book at a pretty fast pace, really.
Now let it be known, this is without a doubt the most authentic Potter video game to date. The motion controlls that mimic spell casting, phenomenal voice acting and music, stunning graphics, and overall obsessive attention to detail that has been put into this game make it that way. The room of rewards which contains a few nice little easter eggs is fun too. Although it sort of rushes through the story at times, it does include a few things from the book that the movie left out, which is nice. Once again, all of Hogwarts is explorable, which is honestly the thing that makes this game worth owning. The colorful characters of Rowling's masterpiece are brought to life lovingly here, along with Hogwarts itself. You might also want to note that characters from past Potter movies and books that don't appear in Order of the Phoenix show up around here occasionally. Potter fans will love the references to earlier Potter movies/books, and along with the few hints at what is to come. Once you get past this game's flaws: fetch quests, character models that are so much like their on-screen counterparts it's creepy, lack of combat (though I didn't mind it, some certainly will), minor frame-rate issues, and a few other frivolous things, there is alot to enjoy and the positives outweigh the negatives by a long shot if you're a Potter fan. After playing this I am very excited to see with EA does with the Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows video games we're sure to see sometime soon. This is a great stepping stone for other entries in the series, and would be a very good example for the next games to build off of.
So, to put it short, this is a must play if you like Harry Potter at all, whether you rent it or buy it is up to you. I cannot remember enjoying a movie license game so much since "The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King" and "Spider-man 2". Overall, I liked this game alot, and chances are you will to if you're a fan of Harry Potter. Aveda Kedavra!