Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

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The final battle...


As JK Rowling’s adored cast of magical students and evil dark lords reach their emotional and visually triumphant cinematic climax, the latest (but presumably not last) in the line of video game adaptations concludes with a disappointing wand-fizzle rather than a Hogwarts-sized bang.

In video game terms, the series has been wildly inconsistent, hitting a nadir with last year’s action-orientated Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which turned the Boy Wizard into a third-person shooter (with your wand and spells acting as your family-friendly rifle and ammunition). An imaginative turn for the darkest tome but the dull action, repetitive design and incoherent storytelling made it a heartless slog.

Part 2 continues this theme and at least learns from some of its predecessor’s mistakes: the interface is a lot cleaner (making it easier to cycle between spells), cover is competent and the environments don’t feel half as tired. Even Harry’s movements are less plodding and more urgent – using ‘Apparate’ (teleporting for us Muggles) to effectively switch between cover. There’s a greater sense of energy, helped by the surprising wealth of playable Potter characters available (the most novel being Prof. McGonagall – an action game with a playable Maggie Smith!).

However, for all its improvements across the spell-casting action it still lacks the imagination to make it truly feel 'Potterish'. The story is presented in a series of clunky cut scenes, lacking impact to pivotal moments of Potter lore; the visuals fail to provide the requisite spectacle; and the main gameplay quickly becomes monotonous, as you battle the same indistinguishable and interminable waves of Death Eaters that lack AI smarts.

Most criminal for series that has prided itself on its rich characters, intoxicating design and impressive creativity, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is routine, formulaic and unremarkable. If this is Harry’s last video game hurrah, then the Boy Who Lived has truly died on his arse.