Unless you’ve had your head stuck in a box of the plastic bricks for the last five years, you will be well aware of the presence of the series of videogames which has been reducing the heroes of our favourite movies down to tiny plastic figures who possess a considerably higher level of charm and wit than the actors who portray them in the films. I am referring, of course, to the Lego videogame series developed by Traveller’s Tales, which so far has released two (soon to be three) Star Wars titles, two Indiana Jones entries, as well as a Batman game. While the critical responses to some of the more recent of these games have begun to wane in their original enthusiasm, which seemed to peak at the first Indy game, all of the games inhabit an irresistible likeability, particularly when it comes to accessibility for all types of gamers and friendly multiplayer, which has you and a buddy cooperating happily, working in unison to solve charming puzzles instead of trying to blast each other’s heads off with a sniper rifle, which has been the general objective for the most recent cooperative games.
Now Traveller’s Tales next Lego game is on the horizon and it looks to be the best yet. While the main flaw with the series’ latest games has been their persistent inability to improve on the weaker elements of their predecessors, never seeming to even try and fix problems which were present in the first Lego Star Wars which was released five years ago, a lot of effort seems to have gone into this next game. And what could bode better than it being based on one of the most successful franchises in history; Harry Potter?
Focussing on years 1-4 of Harry’s time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (which makes sense seeing as once Warner Brothers are finished with the series, there will be a total of eight films, allowing TT to make two games, each containing the content of four films), Lego Harry Potter boasts the biggest location ever included in the Lego series, Hogwarts, which apparently will constantly expand as your progress though the game. The latest two non-Lego videogames based on the Harry Potter movies have adopted a sandbox gaming format, where the character is free to roam around the massive virtual campus of the enchanted school. Presuming this game is going to follow the trend set by all the other Lego games, however, it can be assumed that this will have levelled structure. That’s probably for the best, really, as the two games in question were painfully tedious as you walked wearily from one end of the school to another doing boring tasks.