Video Game Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

First posted in May, 2008

Finally, it is my Friday. Time to relax. Maybe I'll play one of our 'new' video games. We recently purchased Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix*.

See, it was fun watching Sam play it because so many of the quests were so very, very stupid. Watch Harry pick up Ron's clothes and put them away! Watch Harry repair broken suits of armor! Watch Harry wiggle his wand in an attempt to relearn ALL THE SPELLS HE LEARNED IN THE LAST FEW GAMES. (Seriously, this Potter kid must forget everything over summer holiday.)

Anyway, Sam finished the game** and actually raved about it a little***, and so I thought I'd play it, and then when I finished I'd perhaps lend it to friends to play. But it's horrid, and I hate it, and the user interface is crap, and Sam says it will get easier and better but I'm so bored and frustrated and sick of wingardium leviosa-ing paintings and putting them back on the wall to make Hogwarts tidy.

The other games in the series were actually fun. I mean, this one's an improvement in that the characters are quite a bit more realistic (though still awkward), but if the game interface sucks, what's the point? It's not like I need to hang in there to see more of the story, as I've read the book and seen the movie, and if the game isn't fun there's no point. True, as you play   do chores around the castle   play you unlock hidden bits of documentary that might be fun to watch, but GUESS WHAT? Sam's already unlocked them all, so I'll just go to his last saved game and watch them. I'm certainly not going to play again, and I'm probably not going to inflict it on anyone else.

For once, I can see why it would be really, really fun to pile up a bunch of Harry Potter (videogames) in a pile and set them alight. Perhaps the Landover Baptists are really onto something there****.

Edited to Add Much Later: One majorly redeeming factor, a huge plus in this game's favor--in fact, the main reason, I think, to buy it--is that they meticulously tried to duplicate the entire castle. You can really explore the place, both inside and out, in a way not seen in the previous games. I didn't realize it so much at the time, but later, in rewatching the movies, I had this eerie sense of having actually been in the castle. Very impressive indeed.


* At a discount, I am relieved to inform you.

**I am still astounded that he had the patience to finish it. He is not known for his patience, but he is known for playing video games a lot, so I guess after some intense inner struggle, the will to play the game through to completion won out over all possible reason.

*** I need to perhaps take him to a specialist and have him evaluated.

**** As per the link, "the release of the fifth book in the Harry Potter series [was] delayed because Christians have been praying to God that he will send angels to scramble Satan's brain and force him to admit Rowling's spent body to a mental hospital so that the whole series will never be completed." But unfortunately they did not turn the power of prayer toward stopping this unholy (and unplayable) game from being published.