Following the story and settings of the concurrently released feature film, and inspired by the fourth novel in J.K. Rowling's wildly successful series, the video game version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire puts players in control of the bespectacled boy wizard and his best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. As the story goes, Harry is unexpectedly entered as one of Hogwarts' select representatives in the prestigious and dangerous Tri-Wizard Tournament, and much of Goblet of Fire's gameplay is based on events in the magical competition. Players will be challenged with winding mazes, fire-breathing dragons, and duels against deadly rival wizards. While similar to earlier games in the Harry Potter series, Goblet of Fire boasts refined presentation and a more empowering control scheme, designed to give players an immediate, palpable sense the spells they cast. The game also introduces a cooperative mode to the series, allowing gamers to play together, as Harry and his friends, and accomplish goals through teamwork.
Here we are with the fourth Harry Potter videogame. In the latest movie, and book, the Harry Potter gang is approaching young adulthood. As a result the subject matter has become somewhat darker. (I'm sure you've heard everyone say this). It's probably in retaliation to all those over-zealous religious morons that condemned the series for promoting witchcraft and Satanism. Don't get me started... don't even get me started....
I do like the series and although I haven't read any of the books I've seen the movies. I guess I'm just "a fan" and not a 'freaking freak fan." In any case I'm also a gamer and that gives me license to work a little magic of my own on the Harry Potter license. Let me begin by informing you that the gameplay is very straightforward and simplified. It falls under the category of an interactive movie. It's linear and it moves along at a quick pace buffered by cutscenes that keep the storyline central to the gameplay. The game follows the plot of the movie, which is tailor-made for a videogame in my opinion, but manages to elaborate on situations to extend the gameplay without resorting to filler.
Lord Voldemort captures Harry with the aid of the ghostly Death Eaters. He explains that Harry's mother died trying to save him but cast a spell that backfired on Voldemort. With the aid of a magic elixir he has been able to remain alive and with the aid of the Death Eaters he will attempt to exact revenge. Things look pretty grim for Harry and his gang. I'm sure this movie will scare the bejesus out of a lot of kids.
Harry is also selected to take part as a contestant in the TriWizard Tournament which sees him perform a variety of tasks which require his developing warlock skills. He will have to fight a dragon, ride his broomstick through trying conditions, save his friends from danger and make his way through a giant labyrinth. It all makes for a great movie but if you've already seen it, you might be disappointed by how basic these missions are adapted for gameplay.
It's fun to relive the movie and that's about all you're going to get out of this when all is said and done. The linear nature of the gameplay ensures that you will be forced into the various scenes as the director and developer intended. The puzzles and mini-games are fun but they are like eating candy floss; there's not much nourishment.
You can play as any of the three characters, Harry, Hermione or Ron. When you switch among them the AI will take over. The other characters do tend to get in the way and they're not particularly brilliant when it comes to doing the right thing. The levels that just feature Harry are the most fun in the single-player mode.
Much of the combat is button mashing. While it feels good to be empowered it takes the challenge out of the game. To make things even more condescending, the spells that you acquire are automatically loaded for you depending on the situation. When you need to levitate something, the levitation spell is automatically chosen for you. You don't have the ability to make these decisions nor can you combine spells to create more complex hybrids. Unless all you want to do is get through this game as quickly as possible, these features aren't doing anyone any favors.
It may be interesting to play the three-player co-op mode, as it's certainly more rewarding than having the AI take over the other characters. It plays out like a dumbed-down version of Gauntlet but if you've got two pals over at your house and you're looking for something to do for a few hours you could certainly find a worse time waster.
The locations look great. You'll get to visit many of them although you don't have the total freedom of 3D exploration. The colors are vibrant and the characters are well rendered with fluid animation. You can't control the camera angles and you'll be subjected to occasional leaps of faith and offscreen hits from enemies. Particle effects are put to good use during spell castings with great lighting and animated effects. The music is perfect for the game and the voiceacting is decent.
Although there are a lot collectibles to gather you may not care to replay the game just to compulsively collect everything. The rewards are just not worth the effort in my opinion.
People who downloaded Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire have also downloaded:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (a.k.a. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
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