Reviewed: July 13, 2011
Released: July 12, 2011
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2. It all culminates to this. Or rather, it did culminate to this in the books. In the video game version, it sort of feels like it just finally ends, and thankfully so. Harry has been going to school and gaining strength to fight the dark lord in video games for ten years, and while there have been some reasonably fun times, it has mostly been the simplest and most disappointing translation of Rowlingís excellent books. The final game does little to redeem the video game version of the series but, it does wrap it all up with some interesting set pieces, opportunities to revisit many recognizable characters and features, spoiler alert, a final confrontation with He Who Must Not Be Named.|
The second part of Deathly Hallows picks up literally where the last game and film left off. Harry and his pals are off to find the last remaining Horcruxes of Voldemort, and this half of the journey has a lot more action and moves much faster. The pacing of Deathly Hallows 2 is really what sets it apart from the last game. The previous chapter was full of frustrating stealth sequences and confusingly unnecessary side missions. Here, itís all action, and itís all in favor of the story. No side tracking, no lengthy cut scenes and most pleasing, no stealth sequences.
The pace keeps the game moving along, and makes sure it stays interesting, but it also means the game is pretty short. The total story campaign experience clocks in at about six hours. There is a challenge mode with unlockable characters, music and levels hidden throughout the single player game, but unless you are pining away for trophies, you donít have much incentive to go out of your way to find them.
The combat is that of a third person cover shooter, and while it lacks the finesse and refinement of a standard shooter, it does work. Aiming is a little floaty, and extreme accuracy is out the window, but it can be fun to play. You have a number of different recognizable spells from the books and films, and you are pushed to constantly switch between them with a pretty handy mechanic. The face buttons select the spells, and double tapping the face buttons unlocks additional spells. Once your spell is selected, you fire with the shoulder buttons, and then switch to another type of spell and fire some more. This means you will be knocking back one guy, freezing the guy next to him, and releasing a volley of spells to the third.
Itís fluid, and creates a fairly dazzling lightshow that looks just as good ad the environments and level designs, but the character models look rough. It seems as though they have taken a step back from the previous game at times. The main cast looks okay, but the secondary characters, especially those with a lot of hair, look terrible. Like the previous game, the main cast is fairly well acted, but those characters who are relying on impersonators to represent now iconic characters like Snape and Bellatrix, suffer terribly. Some of the emotional outbursts of angry retaliation end up being laughable. The final moments of the game though, the ones meant to be emotionally heavy with Harry, actually come off okay. They still feel very rough, and rushed, but they resonated more than I thought they would.
Admittedly though, I thought they wouldnít at all, so I suppose itís not saying much. Other character deaths and revelations outsides of Harryís though all fall flat and are quickly brushed under the rug. The music of the game is taken straight from the films, so it ends up being one of the highlights, and lends much needed scale to the larger set pieces of the game. The voice acting might be bad, but the music behind it is great.
The PlayStation 3 version of Deathly Hallows Part 2 has PS Move implementation, and no one is more surprised than me to admit that using the Move feels like the best way to play the game. I started the game with the Move, and only put it down to try out the controller as a point of comparison in some of the unlockable challenge modes, and I missed it immediately. One of the reasons the Move works so well here, is because the game doesnít require a whole lot of accuracy, but the Move provides a lot more than the controller does. Along with the ability to simply point at your target, the Move also allows you to lock on like you were able to in Killzone 3. Itís something you canít do playing with the controller, and makes the action move faster when youíve got a Move in your hands. Also, since the game isnít very difficult, you never get frustrated if the Move becomes uncooperative or out of sync, which it didnít do very often.
Youíre not actually waving the Move around like a wand, which sort of feels like a missed opportunity, but alternatively, that really seems like an idea that only works on paper. I like the idea of using my wand exactly like Harry, but I canít imagine it could have been implemented in an interesting and non-embarrassing way. The point and shoot method seen here is something that has been done with the Wii since day one, but it feels fun and fluid here, so I think the developers made the right choice. Stick to what has been proven to work.
Ultimately the game stays in line with the other Potter titles feeling like the standard movie adaptation. It was clearly rushed, and looks pretty rough in places, but itís not unplayable, and is definitely more fun than the first Deathly Hallows chapter. The best part of the game occurs right before the credits where a montage is collected showing all the different Potter games through the years. You get to see a different sort of journey for Harry as he makes his way from the original PlayStation Sorcererís Stone game, to the current generation Hallows games.
Itís cool to see how the character models and graphics have changed through the years, and makes the entire series feel less like a movie game cash-in, and more like a separate journey for Harry that went alongside the films and books. It was touching in an odd way and a nice farewell to the game franchise. After all is said and done though, Iím still glad to see it end. Itís still a way to sell a video game with Daniel Radcliffe on the cover, and unfortunately no touching montage is going to change that.