So, after my thoroughly enjoyable ride through the first Harry Potter game, we get an upgrade to PS2! Unfortunately, a better system doesn’t mean better game. The Chamber of Secrets game wasn’t bad, it just seemed to lack the charm that the first game had. Gone were the happy little minigames, puzzles and collectables, in favour of a darker, more action-oriented game.
Straight away, we’re beginning the slippery slope that ultimately leads to the franchise becoming one of the worst book-to-film-to-game adaptations I’ve ever played. We aren’t there yet, as the second game doesn’t make me want to do bad things to myself, but when compared the first game, the issues are definitely there.
The game itself is good. The gameplay is somewhat entertaining, if a little repetitive, Hogwarts is much more open, allowing for more exploration, and it follows true to the Harry Potter storyline...although this isn’t necessarily better. In the first game, we followed the story loosely, participating in key events, and watching other moments that have been added in for gameplay value. Whilst not completely gone in COS, it’s certainly been dialled back.
Don’t get me wrong, exploration, collectibles and minigames are all there the second time around. Little features such as gnome tossing still provide a fun distraction from the rest of the game, and there are still lots of beans to find and upgrades to earn! It just really didn’t seem as rewarding as last time. Maybe it’s the fact that thrill of “HOLY S**T! I’M HARRY POTTER! I’M MAGICAL!” has worn off? Who knows? Something just didn’t feel the same. Nevertheless, it was still fun to play, things haven’t gone to hell yet.
Let’s move on now to the Prisoner of Azkaban. We’ll group these two together because in the different stages that the games went through, these two shared a formula. The formula seems to work better in the third game, maybe due to the fact that we now get to play as Hermione and Ron as well as Harry. At first glance, this seems pretty “HOLY S**T! CHECK ME OUT! I’M GINGER!” and such, but upon closer inspection, there aren’t any massive differences between the three. They each have something small to offer, and it is a nice gimmick for a while, but it wears off before too long.
Unfortunately, none of these games made me feel nostalgic like the first one did, and I wasn’t smiling half as much when I put them back into their boxes. They weren’t bad, they just couldn’t compare to the joy that I felt playing the first one. After fending off some Dementors and allowing Sirius to escape on the back of Buckbeak, I laid the Prisoner of Azkaban game down to rest, and said a fond farewell to this style of Potter game. With shaky fingers, I then picked up the Goblet of Fire game. My heart stopped. My stomach fell. Every organ in my body seemed to shut down as the realization hit me. This where things screwed up. My brain was crying for me to stop as I placed the game on the disc tray, watched as it was carried into the console, and pressed start...