This year has already seen the launch of three big LEGO Games releases with LEGO Marvel’s Avengers back in January, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens in June and the second year of LEGO Dimensions kicking off last month. But it’s fair to say the announcement of a remastered collection of the LEGO Harry Potter games took everyone by surprise. The game launches this Friday in the UK, exclusively on PlayStation 4 and thanks to our wizarding chums at Warner Bros. Interactive, we’ve been delving back into the Wizarding World of LEGO Harry Potter to see what’s new in this shiny remastered re-release.
LEGO Harry Potter Collection brings LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 to the PlayStation4 computer entertainment system for the first time with both top-selling videogames remastered on one disc. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is based on the first four books and films-Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone , Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire -allowing fans to experience Harry’s first four years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in full LEGO form. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 transports players through the final three books and final four films-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-to experience Harry’s last years at Hogwarts and his battle against Lord Voldemort in the ultimate fight between good and evil.
For those who may not of played the LEGO Harry Potter games the first time around, we’ll cover a little background first. The original LEGO Harry Potter games launched as two separate releases in 2010 and 2011, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii along with handhelds. They each followed the events of the numerous Harry Potter movies, all told with a much loved dose of LEGO humour. The first released focused on Years 1-4 with the second taking place across Years 5-7. Unlike more recent LEGO releases characters communicated via a series of grunts, shrinks and other comical mutterings. This was pre-Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, when minifigures were finally given a voice. I still remember my horror at the thought of bringing voice acting to LEGO Games, the characters unique form of communication added to the charms of the games, but I must admit it does feel a little odd not having those minifigures spouting witty quips, we’ve come to love so much.
Gameplay wise, the tried and tested LEGO formula of quests, collecting and exploring is interweaved with the storyline of the game, played out across a number of levels. Each of which can be replayed with any characters in Freeplay. Hogwarts and it’s surroundings, acts as a type of hub area, not a vast as more recent releases but it’s filled fun with things to do, like collecting gold bricks, learning spells and saving students in peril. If you’re going for 100% you’ll be pottering around them for quite a while, so be sure to explore every nook and cranny.
But as this is a remastered collection, it’s best to focus on what’s new or improved when comparing this edition to the original releases. The games HD conversion has been handled by UK developers Double Eleven, who have worked on a number of similar projects in the past and they have done a great job of applying a shiny layer of spit and polish to the original games. Nothing has changed in terms of gameplay, there aren’t any new additions or added voice overs. The game remains completely intact, when compared to its older counterparts, but it does look much prettier thanks to running at 60fps and displaying in 1080p. Focus has been given to lighting and effects, so the game certainly feels and looks much more atmospheric this time around. Something which is greatly enhanced thanks to the games many magical spells and dimly lit areas. You’ll notice the sharper visuals more during cutscenese, but the game on a whole certainly looks better.
But for me Double Eleven’s use of the DualShock 4 unique features has impressed me the most. The DS4 has a built in speaker and a little colour changing lightbar. Most games completely ignore them, but Double Eleven has gone that extra mile to incorporate them into the remastered collection. Nearby collectables which emit a special sound and the whimpers of Student in Peril, all play out from the controllers speaker and when you cast spells, the lightbar changes colour in response. It may not sound that big a deal but it adds a new level of fun to the game and is a great little touch.
The game has trophies, which are the same as those that appeared in the previous games, but good news for all you Trophy hunters out there, that means two Platinum’s on one disc and if you’ve already earned them on PlayStation 3 they of course count as new trophies. All original ‘cheat’ input codes works still work, should you wish to gain a little headstart on Red Bricks. You can also play through the bonus levels and build your own in the Level Builder. As an added bonus, all the DLC originally released for both games is also included on the disc so you get instant access to the Character and Spells Packs.
The Character Pack includes 10 characters:
- Godric Gryffindor
- Harry (Yule Ball)
- Helga Hufflepuff
- Lockhart (Straightjacket)
- Luna (Lion Head), Peeves
- Hermione (Pink Dress)
- Ron Weasley (Ghoul)
- Rowena Ravenclaw
- Salazar Slytherin.
The Spell Pack includes 5 spells:
TT Games’ unique humour and engaging gameplay still holds up today and Double Eleven have done a great job of added that extra shine and the addition of incorporating DualShock 4 elements is simple yet very impressive. If you’ve already played both LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 and Years 5-7, then you aren’t really missing out on anything new. But if you’re a fan of Potter or just want to play through the adventures again then, it’s highly recommended. Especially at it’s low price point, although RRP is £39.99 most places are offering it for around the £30 mark and for two games with hours of gameplay between them plus all the DLC, it’s certainly value for money. This also marks the first release under the new LEGO Games rebranding.
You can Pre-order your copy of the LEGO Harry Potter Collection now from Amazon, it will also be available as a digital download from the PlayStation Store from Friday in the UK. You can also enjoy new LEGO Harry Potter adventures in LEGO Dimensions with the Harry Potter Team Pack and experience new adventures from the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack coming next month.