Review by tenchizord
A Big Letdown
Now I've been a fan of the Harry Potter book, movie and video game series for awhile. I've played every incarnation of the video games as each movie is released and I find myself enjoying them quite a bit. The Zelda-like puzzles and the switching of characters in "Prisoner of Azkaban" made for a really fun experience and I was chomping at the bit to play "Goblet of Fire"
And what a letdown it was.
While not horrible, the gameplay is rather lacking in a lot of areas. The entire engine has been revamped so you can have a multiplayer option, which is nice, but unfortunatly they must have had only a few weeks to make said engine because a lot of the times the gameplay lacks. The different spells like Wingardium Leviousa are fun to try out, but then actually using it to lift objects seems sloppy and the objects themselves seem way too light and are flung about easily with sloppy ragdoll physics. Not to mention it's a game that forces teamwork, so you pretty much HAVE to play with two friends, because the A.I. is TERRIBLE. I repeat TERRIBLE! Never in a game like this have I come across such a horrid A.I. There was a part in one of the levels where I needed all of my party to cast a certain spell to pull down a bridge. Ron was doing it, Harry was doing it, but Hermione was looking on vaccantly, or would randomly start casting other spells.
But there are some nicities in this game. The variety of spells makes it fun to try out different things, and the flying level was very fast and fun, if a bit easy. The addition of an RPG like experience system was a great bonus, but never really seemed to do a whole bit of good.
Downright offensive at times. The "character select" screen makes you think it's going to be very nice as the character models upclose look crisp and lifelike.That's the last time you'll see that. All the cutscenes are told with still shots that go a step further by being "shadowy" so as to hide the fact that the designers didn't actually make a Dumbledore character model. The worst offense are the "character cards" which are modeled after the moving pictures in the Harry Potter universe. Each time a character fills up a block of cards they are granted a special "character card" that gives them nice bonuses. The rest of the cards are nice still shots from the movie, but the character cards are animated and look like terrible PS1 graphics. I couldn't believe my eyes.
The only nice part of the graphics are the spells themselves which look so great, I'm suspecting to cover up the rest of the game's shortcomings.
The voice actors for the most part sound like their character, except for Harry's who sounds too much like Ron. The banter between the characters goes from charming at first to downright irritating. Hermione is always screeching at Ron for no reason and instead of the characters defending themselves from attacks they'll sit there and go "Ouch! He bit me!" But still the music is fine, the sound effects are alright, and the voice acting when not being grating is fine.
I dunno if it's replayable after beating it as I couldn't stomach getting all the way through. At one point I realised the sole reason I was continuing to play was so I could collect more wizard cards and see more screenshots from the movie.
But each level actually requires you to replay through it at least once (which can get annoying to no extent) and there's tons of extra things to find and more beans to collect.
If any Harry Potter book BEGGED to get a video game made of it, Goblet of Fire would be it. However the actual movie and book story is cast aside in favor of mindless exploring, and the parts that actually coincide with the movie come off as minigames, which is a real shame. The game feels very rushed, like the designers only had a few months to make it and wanted to build a new engine to do so. They should have stuck to the old one. It made no sense to take a story which is primarily about Harry overcoming various challenges and try to tack on Ron and Hermione. Rent it if you're a fan, but don't be surprised if you hate it.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
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