Lego games still hold surprisingly strong. Like a well-rooted tree they have done all manner of games, from hugely successful games such as Lego Star Wars and Lego Undercover as well as the two Harry Potter games in 2010 and 2011.
Now we have, exclusive to PS4, Lego Harry Potter Collection; combining both games together as Lego have done in the past. For a Lego fan, or a Harry Potter fan this a pretty certain buy. The game utilises the power of the PS4 to be pushed up to the level we expect off the console and the polished experience is a good reason to head back into the wizarding world before the release of the Fantastic Beasts movie.
The collection gets you both games: Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7. Each year covers one of the books and adds the typical humour we expect of the Lego games. Being one of the earlier games in the series you get all of the old styles of storytelling and humour, with discussion between characters being no more than a series of grunts which I preferred over the fully voiced games.
The gameplay is the tried and tested Lego formula. You go through each level collecting and exploring for items, slowly progressing forward in the game’s story. Each level can then be repeated in Freeplay, using whatever characters you wish which will need to be done as certain collectables are deliberately locked up with skills you do not have in the story playthrough. You can travel around Hogwarts between levels, with the school and the surrounding grounds being your hub world. Like most Lego games you will be doing a lot of collecting and small tasks as you move slowly towards 100% through each mission aiming to gain completion overall. While I can see why most people would find the experience repetitive as each mission has the same set of collectibles and the same sorts of puzzles if you boiled it down I never really found it boring. Collectibles are humorously tailored for the universe, with collectibles such as students in peril which require rescuing.
But what has changed between this and the original? Well for starters the game now runs at 1080p at 60 frames per second, making the experience instantly smoother. A new lighting engine has been implemented as well; combined with the graphical update makes this game feel almost brand new. Compared to the PS3 (of which I have a copy of the original game lying around) the change is stark and makes the game, for someone who hasn’t played it, a pleasant experience to view if you don’t focus too closely on the lower quality cutscenes. But the graphical enhancement is the only new thing in this updated version. The gameplay has not changed at all, and there is now new content or voice acting. So it is the same game as before, just prettier.
You will notice some nice use of the DualShock 4 added to the game however. The controller’s speaker plays sounds for most of the collectibles, which can be somewhat frightening when you hear the whimpers of students in peril play through your controller. Spells also change the colour of the lightbar as they are used, which will be something more for spectators but adds a nice touch to the remaster, making this update feel slightly more than a simple graphical upgrade.
Consumers looking for an expanded experience won’t find it here. While the overhaul is thorough new content is minimal. Trophies and cheats are all the same from the original, being pretty much a straight transfer. You also still get access to the level builder and all of the bonus levels, as well as all the DLC adding plenty of new characters and spells. If it was sold for the original games it is included in this package and it’s nice to get the whole experience remastered rather than a half-baked attempt.
This is once again another remaster through and through. This is a summary of both games as well as the DLC, nothing more. It is somewhat of a shame that this chance was not used to add new content or characters to the experience. While this was one of the better Lego games when it came out its release seems to be, if I put on my conspiracy foil hat, a quick cash grab riding on the hype for the new Fantastic Beasts movie. With the price sitting around £30 it is a deal if you do not own the games already and in comparison to most console games and remasters which retail for double.
While the cash grab can be considered a negative, it is the only one I can find in this game. The experience is still as smooth as I remember it being on PS3. There are no obvious bugs and glitches which have been created; and the new lighting engine has been implemented well with no new issues appearing because of it. The game also runs pretty much consistently, and I didn’t see any major frame dips or hitches during my playthrough of it for my review.
If you haven’t played LEGO Harry Potter before, or have not played it in a long time, this is a good steal to rekindle the experience. It was only second to LEGO Star Wars in quality and the price point is reasonable for the content you get, which is pretty much everything. It’s a small step above a remaster thanks to the addition of the Dualshock 4’s speaker and lightbar which shows a level of care not usually given to remasters. If you’ve played both games already you are not missing out on anything more than prettier visuals sadly but this does not detract from Lego Harry Potter Collection being a fun experience, earning itself a fun-filled 8 and probably many hours of mine and my housemates lives. More remasters should utilise the full power of the consoles as this remaster has.