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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire PlayStation 2 & GameCube

Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, an introduction.

Books, films, games and cups in fact anything that has the words 'Harry Potter' emblazoned across it seems to sell like the proverbial hot cakes. In fact as I write this review it's just been announced that this very game has soared straight to number one in the UK all formats charts, which just goes to show how appealing Harry Potters still is after being in the limelight for several years now. It's not surprising then that just in time for Christmas we have a new Harry Potter movie and new games for virtually every platform that there is. This review looks at the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

What's the game about?

As you might have already guessed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the console game to compliment the film of the same name that has been recently released. Harry has been mysteriously selected as the fourth contestant for the perilous Triwizard Tournament. It's perilous because each contestant has to fight a fire-breathing dragon as well as undertake other dangerous objectives. The action in the game begins at the Quidditch World Cup Campsite and culminates with a duel with the evil Lord Voldemort.

What's good about the game?

Fans of the bespectacled Harry Potter will no doubt relish the opportunity to once again play as their fictional hero. Goblet of Fire also allows you to play as either Hermione or Ron. In fact you can play co-operatively with two friends picking which character you'd like to play as. Of course unless you own a Multitap for your PlayStation 2 it will only be a 2-player game but GameCube owners will be able to enjoy the 3 player co-operative experience with no problems. If you're playing alone, the AI will take charge of the two characters that you haven't chosen. On both versions, the controls are intuitive and you'll be up and running in no time. The missions are strictly linear but nevertheless they are quite enjoyable. Playing the game with two friends is definitely preferable to having AI companions but there's not much to complain about should you be stuck with the AI for company, and it does a reasonable job in combat and combined casting of spells etc.

What's not so good about the game?

Goblet of Fire may seem too easy to some. Essentially the game feels like a no fuss hack 'n' slash with the addition of magical spells. It's obvious the game has been aimed at children. Combat is essentially button bashing with repeated taps on the X button (PS2) or the A button (Cube) to perform jinxes. The more you hammer away on the button the more powerful the jinx. The spells you cast are context sensitive and shouldn't cause even an inexperienced gamer any problems, which is a positive of course but those expecting a more complicated combat system might find this method over simplified.

How does it look?

Graphically there's not a lot to choose between the PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. If anything the GameCube version is a little crisper but it's only a slight difference. The frame rate in both versions is absolutely fine but the GameCube version loads significantly faster and it's the version I would go with because of this. With that in mind however, the PlayStation 2 load times are not overly long and are certainly nothing out of the ordinary for the console. During levels you won't have control of the camera, which may sound odd but it's one less task to take care of and for the most part it causes no problems. The character models in the game are quite good and are instantly recognisable. The various magical spell effects are quite impressive, although thankfully the developers haven't gone over the top with them. The environments you'll come across in the game look good without ever being exceptional. The indoor environments definitely seem to be more detailed than the outdoor environments but overall there's little to complain about in regards to how it looks.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire does offer subtitles but by default the subtitles are disabled in both the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions, so make sure you enable them in the options menu before starting a new game. The games cutscenes are subtitled so you'll be able to follow the story which is great to see. Comments made by your companions as you play are shown in text but all of the comments appear on the lower left of the screen, and there is no indication who is saying what. The text should have been colour-coded or at the very least, appeared by the relevant character icons in the HUD.

Final thoughts.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a solid action game that should appeal to fans of the books and films etc. Older fans might find the games a little on the simple side and certainly if you've played a few action games what you'll find here will give you no problems at all. Of course if you're looking for a more challenging experience with some challenging puzzles, you may be disappointed. Still the overall presentation of the game is very good and Harry Potter fans will no doubt be satisfied with how the game has turned out.

 

Overall Game Rating: 7.3/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:


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As an action game it may be a little simplistic but Harry Potter fans will be pleased with the game and will almost surely want this as an accompaniment to the movie.