Thankfully, no. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 won’t wind up on anyone’s Game of the Year list but it redeems the franchise and creates a satisfying finale for fans who have wanted to wreak havoc in defense of Hogwarts. EA’s Bright Light dev studio in the U.K. clearly listened to the feedback and gripes that flew in on owls’ wings after the first DH game.
Kinect’s necromancy is nowhere to be found—it’s all standard controller input all the way. The new controller scheme puts all the spells on the controller’s face buttons so they can be wielded quickly as the combat demands.
The game concerns itself with the Battle of Hogwarts—where you’ll need to find and destroy the Horcruxes and face up against Voldemort’s fellow villains—and you can play as Harry, Ron, Hermione or five other characters across the narrative’s various chapters.
The game fills in important scenes that the movie can’t expound on so, for example, you’ll play as Professor McGonigal taking down waves of attacking giants. Each time you play as a new character, you get a new spell, which makes you feel a bit more invested and like you’re playing through the crucial roles these personages play in the conflict.
The combat plays like a shooter with chase sequences sprinkled in as well, where you duck into and out of cover, shooting or lobbing spells instead of bullets or grenades. All the spells come straight from the fiction, so if you’re such a Potter-phile that you remember the first time “Protego” was uttered, you’ll be happy here. Protego gets interpreted as a force field that you can use as movable cover, while the Apparate spell teleports players around with an energy blast that stuns enemies on exit.
Even though it’s got participation from the full company of actors from the movie and a soundtrack from the London Philharmonic, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 won’t supplant the films for emotional punch. But the tone’s appropriately dark and the game plays its part.
Unlike its predecessor, you really feel like you’re controlling children fighting in a war that they may not be ready for. It’s your skill that will save the day, even if the terrible costs feel a little less impactful on a game console. There probably won’t be more Potter video games, and, if that’s true, Deathly Hallows Part 2 isn’t a bad way to go out.
Official Techland Score: 7.0 out of 10