The LEGO Harry Potter Collection combines two of the previous Harry Potter titles into one convenient package, and it’s now available for the Xbox One. Featuring LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Years 5-7, you can rest assured the entire Harry Potter franchise is taken care of right here.
Like all LEGO games each are based on a franchise and Harry Potter was one of my favourites so far. I love the way Tt add humour to each of their games and modify cut scenes to take away the seriousness and add their own comedic element. This is what makes these types of games accessible to all audiences which is a positive thing. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Years 5-7 essentially are very similar in nature and are both based on the same hub world. Thankfully the LEGO Harry Potter collection introduces a menu screen allowing you to select between Years 1-4 or 5-7. Back when each of these titles were released, there wasn’t a huge jump in terms of major gameplay design and mechanics between the two titles, and Years 5-7 felt more like a game add on rather than a new LEGO experience. There are changes of course, the most notable being the hub world in Years 5-7 which has been expanded with more areas around the castle and in-between London and Hogwarts. You can now explore sections of the Dark Forest and London as well.
One of the first things that gets your attention with LEGO Harry Potter is the gorgeous environments, new four player campaign and the new spells on offer for your characters. Excited yet? As you make your way through the collection you’re going to play through the defining moments of all the movies/books and you’re going to do it as little plastic LEGO pieces in a little plastic LEGO world. Harry and company will blast blocks apart with their spells and tricks, and this will cause coloured studs to spew out. You collect the studs so that you can buy new characters and powers before exploring the levels to find secret blocks, characters and students in peril.
LEGO Harry Potter equips the various students of Hogwarts with a number of magical spells that each have their own specific purpose. In Years 1-4 you’ll learn spells such as Wingardium Leviosa which is the most basic and the most useful. You’ll use this to lift items so that your partner can reach high studs, assemble items, and break apart other objects for the studs they’re made of. Lumos scares away attacking plants, Riddikulus knocks back your worst fear, and so on. These are each color-coded and can be switched on the fly via your controller’s shoulder buttons. Years 5-7 continues to add more spells to your already expansive assortment with the new Aguamenti spell which allows players to shoot water from their wands which can water plants, grow trees and eliminate fires. The Weasley’s also now have access to Weasley boxes around the world which contain fireworks that can blow up areas blocking your way; neat.
I had a great time using these incantations. Levitating books back onto the shelf and rearranging LEGO blocks to make stairs was fun, but it was the wonderment of what I’d learn next that really kept me going. This is all part of another thing I love about LEGO Harry Potter is the very impressive hub world which does an excellent job of keeping you on track while letting you explore at will. You always start in the Leaky Cauldron and can replay a level with the characters you’ve unlocked or abscond to Diagon Alley to enter cheat codes and spend your studs on new characters. If you want to jump back into the story you can head into Hogwarts and start following Nearly Headless Nick to the next mission.
One of the drawbacks is of course the games combat, however it’s never been a big selling point of the LEGO games. Boss fights are very similar and generally each boss requires the same amount of hits to defeat them. On the flip side thought, Years 5-7 introduced a new combat mechanic called “The Duel” which at certain times (predominantly boss battles) you enter a circle with your opponent and based on the colour of the circle, that’s the colour of the spell you must cast. Cast quickly and you will gain the advantage on your opponent, and if your too slow, you’ll have to mash that “A” or “X” button to catch up. It’s a great idea and works well and it’s not overdone either. Collectibles are of course a stapled feature of LEGO games and LEGO Harry Potter: The Collection is no exception with a wealth of gold bricks, red bricks, students in peril and much more.
LEGO Harry Potter: The Collection brings two of the best LEGO games from last generation to the Xbox One, remastered in glorious 4K and with all DLC to boot. However, aside from the graphical improvements and speed improvements the games are essentially the same as before. That’s not a bad thing as both of these titles are exceptional and should not be missed by LEGO fans and Harry Potter fans alike. Plus the additional DLC packs are also included and give you access to ten additional characters and five extra spells. I can certainly recommend the LEGO Harry Potter Collection to LEGO and Harry Potter fans and I hope you have the opportunity to revisit Hogwarts sometime soon.
A copy of LEGO Harry Potter: The Collection was provided by WB for review purposes