The second and final installment into the LEGO Harry Potter video games will take you on an adventure as Harry and his friends through the last years at Hogwarts. The cheery, happy early years are over and the threat of the one who shall not be named grows stronger. Like the previous game, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 follows the basic story of the films generally well, but in a more condensed fashion. If you’re a veteran at LEGO games then you’ll know what to expect from this and should have plenty of fun with this game whether it be solo or co-op with a friend.
Like with previous LEGO games there is no dialogue and just sound effects like grunts or noises the characters make. If you’re not a fan or well versed with the Harry Potter franchise, you might be slightly confused with what’s going on, but that is also a side effect from no dialogue and the condensed story. Travellers Tales does do a good job though at cramming 3 books and 4 films worth of story into one game without making it ridiculously lengthy. The charm of these LEGO games is also still intact and makes for an enjoyable time as you move your way through the story.
Structurally, the game and its gameplay is about the same as previous LEGO titles and the previous Harry Potter LEGO game. The game is separated into each film/year, with around 5-6 sub-chapters in each of those Years. Gameplay holds up just like with previous games, where you’ll be solving puzzles and building objects to make your way through the levels. Puzzles this time around were still fun, but at times I found myself slightly confused on what to do or where to go. There were a few moments when I wondered how a younger child playing this would be able to figure it out, or maybe put me to shame in actually figuring out some puzzles much faster than I could. A nice addition this time around was the chance to partake in a duel with other AI characters. It’s a simple and efficient mechanic that was added and only requires you to match the correct spell of your opponent a specific number of times until you’ve defeated them. One last thing positive to mention about the gameplay was that I never encountered a glitch in the game, unlike during my playthrough of the first game, so that was a major relief.
Of course, Hogwarts is back and you are free to roam around the castle in between levels to see all that there is to discover, along with Diagon Alley serving as the main “hub” of the game. After completing the main portion of the game most of your time will be spent in Hogwarts free roam, especially if you’re trying to get the 100% completion. This time around I found Hogwarts slightly less confusing to navigate compared to the first game, although a map would still be appreciated. Completing the first LEGO Harry Potter game helps in that regard after wandering around the castle for a few hours mopping up collectibles.
The game isn’t perfect though and does have its problems. The load times on this game are much longer than I would have thought they’d be and seem considerably longer than the previous game. Normally I don’t have a problem with loading screens, but you seem to be doing it a lot since it’s not just in between levels, but also sometimes when entering a new room. Another negative I’m going to have to add is the amount of collectibles in the game. Collectibles are something I’ve never been fond of in video games, especially when there isn’t an in-game reward for finding them other than getting 100% completion. Lastly, an small on-screen map would have been helpful when getting lost in the massive place that is Hogwarts.
Graphically the game still holds up very well and looks great from beginning to end. In my time with the game there were very few hiccups with framerate. Only a few times when there was a lot going on in the screen there was some slight lag, but it wasn’t game breaking or continuous. Once again seeing all the fantastic set pieces from the films look wonderful in LEGO form, and the handling of the darker tone of the latter films was done nicely. The music and sound effects in the game are also a wonderful addition to the game and hearing that familiar Harry Potter theme/music is always a warming feeling. The voice acting in the game adds some humor as always since there is no use of words, just noises and sound effects.
In the end, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is another enjoyable experience set in the magical world of Hogwarts. I feel the game expands nicely from the previous game into the more darker tone, while still balancing the charm and humor of the first game. A game that you’re sure to enjoy, especially for Harry Potter fans, and will keep you busy for another 7-8 hours depending on how quickly you find collectibles. My time spent in the LEGO Harry Potter universe was a fun one, and would recommend to anyone.
- Witty humor and charm throughout
- Great translation of universe from books/films to LEGOs
- Long/frequent loading screens
- Map would be helpful in Hogwarts castle