The Video Game THE VIDEO GAME!! THE VIDEO GAME!!!
I must have read the books and seen the movies well over a dozen times at this point, but the PC games, I haven’t played nearly as much. I’d decided recently, since I got my PS3 controller to work on my PC, that I would go through them one after the other. I’d originally planned to do let’s plays, but my hard drive is pretty packed to the brim with anime and junk (a whole terabyte of anime, can you imagine?)
So I decided to take the videos down (though the channel is still up, don’t ask me why) and just do a comparison on my blog about them instead. You know me. I just have to share my unimportant thoughts somewhere.
Now, the first game I’ve played well over a dozen times, so I didn’t really have to play it again to do the comparison. But I did it anyway for the sake of nostalgia. I’ve only thoroughly played the first three games over and over. The rest I couldn’t play, simply because I didn’t have a computer to play them on anymore (a story for a later date). But now that my big brother Guts built me this monstrous PC (which I’ve lovingly named Monstro after the whale from Pinocchio) originally intended for editing, I decided what better use for it, than to play games that shouldn’t even work on it in the first place?
(The reason I say this, is because these games are well over 10 years old -HPSS being 16 years old-. They aren’t even supported on Windows 10, and I had to kind of trick the program into working. It’s an easy trick, but it took a LONG time to figure out what the trick was haha.)
I’m sure nobody needs the comparison from the movies to the books, because everyone has either seen them or read them by now, and depending on your level of Pottermania, you’ll already know all the differences here and there. Starting in the Goblet of Fire, I might care about this more, but right now, i’m focusing on the PC games, and since everyone loves these fucking things, i’ll be doing it as a list.
1. It’s just the beginning.
There’s nothing to dislike about the book or the movie. It doesn’t make it obvious (in my opinion) that these are setups for future books or movies. They are good on their own, though I do love that they branch out into this amazing world that completely changed my life. BUT the video game sorely lacked here. Some if not all of the story elements were rushed. They seemed very much slapped together for the sake of having this video game that was based on the movie. While there are some elements that made it to the game from the book, the game is almost entirely just there for the sake of making EA some easy money.
It seemed like things were not only rushed through but pushed around for the sake of making the game SHORTER and in turn, quicker and easier to make. There were so many levels that could have made it into this game. The mirror of Erised was a missed opportunity, and I don’t know about you, but it seemed like right from the point of Harry finding it, the game just… ended. One… maybe two levels max, and you’re done. The entire game took me about 4-5 hours to get through. No surprise though. I finished it in a day back then too.
2. Vanellope Von Schweets
The glitches in this game are so comical you don’t know whether to laugh your ass off or shake your fist. There were some points where Harry would just randomly float in the air, and I don’t mean static. I mean he would be standing normally, and then, upon finding a wizard card, he would tilt horizontally, and then steadily float upwards, while his animation played. We only learned Wingardium LeviOsa Harry, we didn’t learn how to make ourselves fly.
I chalk it up to 2001, and EA’s laziness mostly. I had to keep reminding myself that this game isn’t just old. It’s practically ancient by tech standards. You find this in the movie as well. Scenes you once thought looked amazing suddenly kind of lose their magic because it’s no longer 2001, but 2017, and our eyes are trained better to look out for tells and mistakes. But books need not apply here (ah, one more thing books have over movies). Also, who made the faces for this game?!?!?
Harry’s is the only face that is well done! HE looks like a video game character as he SHOULD, but everyone else looks like… well… like they TRIED to make these 3D models loosely based on the actors. Why would you take one approach for the main character and a completely DIFFERENT approach for everyone else?! BAD developers!
I mean seriously. Look at Draco for Pete’s sake! HE HAS NO EYES.
3. Ignorance is not bliss.
This game is really not meant for someone who knows nothing about Harry Potter. It’s kind of like you’re thrown in and expected to know everything you have to know before even Harry does. This doesn’t make sense to me considering what Harry’s role in this entire story is. He’s blind to the magical world. He knows nothing about it. But you, dear player, you’re expected to know who and what everything is, because presumably you’ve read the book and seen the movie. This is just further proof that the game was made FOR the movie, to make a quick buck. The movie took the time to immerse you. It took the time to introduce everyone to you, and to show you, the same way it showed Harry, what the magical world consisted of.
Then again the movie kind of had no choice. For a lot of people, the movie WAS Harry Potter’s real debut.
4. Whose voice is that?
Now, in the movie, a large portion of the cast was just breaking into the business because this was their first movie. They have to settle into their roles, and they have to get comfortable acting as someone other than themselves. There are little excuses here and there for weak performances (though there weren’t many that I can point to in this movie).
I cannot say the same for the game. There’s no excuse for the questionable voice acting in this game, and how much it varies in every single scene, with every single character. Harry has GTA syndrome, and does’t speak. He makes sounds, sure, but he has ZERO dialogue. Now, you’d think that… what with the entire franchise being named after him, he’d have at least a word or two in these scenes, but he doesn’t.
And let’s not forget the random voice changes. Fred and George’s actor was alright, up until a scene where all they do is laugh near the end. It wasn’t the same person. That laugh is some stock laugh clip they recorded to insert into any moment where a student is laughing, despite the clip being made for a first year. EA. What. The. Balls.
Also, Dumbledore’s voice is one of the most inconsistent things in the game. It sounds like a guy who walked into the studio, no older than about 25, and decided “sure I can do an old man voice” and then proceeded to just add a typical old man rasp to his voice. And they passed it off as accurate.
5. Time only moves forward.
There’s absolutely NO way to backtrack through this game. So once you miss a card, that is it. The only way to get that missing card, is to play the entire game again, another 4-5 hours, to get it, and the “special card” at the end. Spoiler, the special card is Harry Potter. One wonders why he never got his own card in the movies or books. I do appreciate the fact that the game did this for him, because of all the current characters to get one, he does deserve it. But not being able to go back and find what you might have missed? That kind of sucks. I was ONE card away from a perfect collection. That is after pouring over every SINGLE detail in every single area, TWICE. Once I found that the card was missing, I just FTG’d and uninstalled. I completed the game. That’s all that matters. My OCD is just going to have to take that L.
CHESS. DOES NOT. WORK. THAT WAY.
I’ll be writing another post for the things I liked (since there wasn’t much to love really haha). I hope you enjoyed this one. I’m having fun playing through these games again, even if HPSS was a massive cringe fest.