Monday, 25 March 2013

Review: Harry Potter for Kinect (360)

It's very difficult to rate a game like this. If you are not a fan of the Harry Potter universe you are not going to find a lot here to like. On the other hand, if you're not a fan you probably wouldn't pick this up to begin with.

At its core, this actually is not a bad game. It successfully puts you into the universe first brought to life by the J.K. Rowling books. The variety of gameplay is quite extensive but in the end, the overall cohesive meshing of a series of mini-games falls a little short.

First of all, the controls are good – wait for it – for a Kinect game. It's clear that this isn't a first generation game on the platform, but many games are just a rehashing of what you have played on Kinect Adventures or Star Wars Kinect. What it lacks in originality it makes up for in variety.

The game actually covers all eight films and lets you visit Hogwarts and spend time again with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It brings to the table elements of almost as many different video games as the films it covers. You'll find elements of Star Wars, Gears of War, Road Rash, Kinect Adventures and so much more scattered about through all of the different mini-games.

The most obvious thing you do is cast spells. You can do so with your voice or with gestures. That part all feels pretty good, and aiming is quite accurate and satisfying. Sword fighting is actually a lot of fun (in a battle with the Basilisk for example) and in many ways is exactly how Star Wars Kinect should have been.
There is a local multiplayer element and the voice acting is, for the most part, decent although you will not find any of the original actors from the films lending their pipes here.

At the end of the day, Harry Potter Kinect provides a fun but short main campaign that is great in small bursts. Lasting only around a couple of hours, it may leave you feeling ripped off if you paid full price. As it becomes available more cheaply, the value prospect goes up immensely. When more development costs are put into the license than the content, trouble is sure to follow. It is frustrating because you can see true moments of greatness in this title, but I know the review scores will polarize towards the lower end.

- Syd Bolton

The Good:
- Great variety and presentation

The Bad:
-The story mode is way too short and while there are additional challenges, the replay value is rather low

Score: 6.5 / 10

Syd Bolton is Canada's top video game collector and founder of the Personal Computer Museum ( in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.