Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (360)

I hate Harry Potter.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again. I’m not a fan at all. It doesn’t appeal, I don’t like how it steals ideas from so many other things then claims them as its own, and I can’t stand J K Rowling’s stupid smug face.

I love Lego games.

I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again. They’re simple, sure, but they’re huge, funny and tick all the OCD boxes that make me go a bit gooey and warm. And, just 6 months after release, they’re incredibly cheap.

So there you have it: unstoppable force/immovable object. Fight?

This game is, as the title suggests, based on the first four books of the series. Like Lego games before, each of these is then split into 6 levels, making 24 levels in total. Then, also like other Lego games, there’s a “hub world” of sorts in the form of Hogwarts – which is way bigger than any previous Lego game hub. In addition, there are also some minor story sections (which don’t count to the level total), and quite a few magic lessons too, as well as the usual bonus levels, making the game probably the biggest Lego title of all, bar perhaps the really-two-games Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.

Mind you, the levels in Harry Potter are often massive, and seemingly more so than previous Lego titles, so it feels even longer.

This evening, I completed the first level of Year 4, meaning I have 5 of 24 levels left. Of course, that’s barely half the game – there’s still all the OCD red and gold brick collecting, the saving all the “students in peril”, the finding the school crests, doing the bonus levels (I’ve only done 5, for reasons I’ll mention in a minute) and unlocking everything. Which may take some time.

So far, so Lego. What upsets things somewhat is the Harry Potterness of it all. OK, so I don’t know enough about the Harry Potter universe for it to completely sicken me, but this also causes problems. In Lego Star Wars, at no point did it matter that I’d not seen the first three films, here I can’t complete certain bonus levels or do certain things in the hub simply because I don’t know which colour corresponds to which house, or (worse) which characters are in each house. Or even who anyone is.

I was stuck for an hour on a 3 minute bonus level because I needed to wave my arms in front of a green and white flag for a door to open. I guessed it wanted a character from a particular house, but I didn’t know which was green and white, so tried every single one of my 43 unlocked characters (you have to traverse the entire level to change to the next character, then walk to the flag, then back, each time) on the door only to find it didn’t open for anyone at all. Rubbish.

In summary: it’s a great game but better without the wizards.

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