The LEGO Harry Potter games were the last LEGO titles TT Games created that didn’t include voice-over of any kind. After the Lord of the Rings titles and then bringing on a full voice cast for the LEGO Batman titles, TT Games never returned to the grunting and miming that the games were originally known for. When they moved to laying over the audio from movies and hiring real voice actors, I was initially peeved by the move. I felt that bringing in spoken words would take away from this series’ charm. Some of its funniest jokes were presented without saying a single word. By adding in a real voice script, how much of the games’ creative humor would be lost? After playing the LEGO Harry Potter Collection and going back to the old school style of LEGO games, I now know that bringing in dialogue was one of the best decisions TT Games ever made.
Unfortunately, the lack of a spoken script wasn’t the only old feature that hasn’t been missed. LEGO Harry Potter is one rough game to come back to after so many other fantastic LEGO games. Even worse, despite fixing glitches the original game contained, new problems have replaced them. LEGO Harry Potter might have been wondrous when it first released on the PlayStation 3, but now it’s a bit of a magical mess.
Everything Old Is Still Old
Nothing is new with the LEGO Harry Potter Collection, not even the Trophies. If you played it on the PlayStation 3 or perhaps Xbox 360, then expect the same experience once again. This is a straight up port from the original that has been translated to the PS4 controller. They even added additional lightbar support, where the lightbar could change colors with the spell you’re using. I tried this, but then I realized that I never really even look at my lightbar, so it seems like a wasted perk.
The game overall recaptures the eight Harry Potter films in LEGO form. Since there is no dialogue, the game utilizes over-the-top gestures to get various jokes across. They’re very creative for what they are, but if you’ve already seen them years ago, then the luster is completely gone. I didn’t crack a smile once, even with the jokes I forgot.
The big gimmick with the LHP games is switching between the various spells that Harry and his friends learn throughout the years at Hogwarts. Harry first starts with only the Wingardium Leviosa spell (levitation), and thus can only solve a few types of puzzles found in the story levels and in the various hub worlds. As he progresses, he learns Lumos, the Patronus charm, and Reducto. Other abilities are learned and spread out across the various characters. For instance, only Hermione in the first years can unlock bookcases, and only a Weasley character can equip an item to climb walls in the later years. The only way to unlock all 200 Gold Bricks, find all 16 Red Bricks, rescue all of the Students in Peril, unlock the hundreds of characters, and achieve that 100% completion is to replay the levels with the new abilities you obtain. This is hardly new, as it is the underlying formula behind every LEGO game.
What also isn’t new is those horrible puzzles that I hated the first time or the bad camera angles. One of the worst puzzles I have ever encountered in a LEGO game was in these, and it involves using the levitation spell to stack bricks together to either reach a high spot or cross a ravine. Aiming is always spotty in these titles, and attempting to select the correct brick when they’re piled with the others is always a lovely test in patience. Lifting them and trying to place them in the correct spot or fit bricks together is often an exercise in frustration. The fact that you can’t adjust the camera and it always sits in the worst angle possible only compounds the exasperation. I thought I remembered that they fixed this joy of a puzzle in the later years, but I learned that that was just my wishful thinking. TT Games often repeats their puzzle types throughout their games, but there’s a reason why this one hasn’t returned to rear its ugly head. Coming back to it after all this time was not a pleasant stroll through Hogsmeade; it was a jacked-up floo ride to Knockturn Alley.
Those who have already played these titles once before will fall right back into the pattern they set the first time. With any luck, they’ll even remember where those darn Red Bricks are or that the red and black sparkly bricks require Dark Magic. In the first LHP years, this was never once explained, and it’s still not explained, even with hints turned on.
At Least Some Glitches Are New
I was wrong in my header above. Not everything is old in LEGO Harry Potter Collection. The glitches I encountered are definitely new. Before, I occasionally encountered the game breaking glitches of potion ingredients or collectibles not appearing. I didn’t find that at all in the Collection, but I did find something new and fun: the disappearing UI!
It’s unbelievably refreshing when the spell wheel and stud counter disappears. Who needs to be distracted by how many studs you’ve collected each level? Who really cares about reaching that True Wizard status anyway? Not to mention, it’s ten times more fun when you have no idea which spell you’re using. Just look at the wand tip for the color changes and you can figure it out from there. It’s no big deal, really! It’s just makes the game far more aggravating, but hey, at least it’s not game breaking. The only way to fix it is by closing the application entirely and reopening it.
I don’t know about you, but I play console games so I don’t have to restart things. If I wanted that, I’d get back into PC gaming.
It’s also as fun when the various NPCs start to spazz out and permanently block your way through a door. You can’t jump over them. You can’t blast them or levitate them out of your way. The only way to unstick them is to leave the area and return while keeping your fingers crossed that the load screen kicked them out of their epileptic fit. At least this only happened in the hub worlds. I would be far more upset about this glitch if it occurred in a level, preventing me from completing it.
Siriusly, Just Say Spell No
If you enjoyed these games the first time and just want more Trophies for your collection, then by all means, jump in a second time. But if you missed LEGO Harry Potter back then, it’s far too rough to come back to now. TT Games has improved their games so much since these, and the LEGO Harry Potter Collection has too many problems, old and new, to recommend to Harry Potter fans.
LEGO Harry Potter Collection review code provided by publisher. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.