Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix Multi-platform

Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix Multi-platform
If you think it’s been hard for the filmmakers to keep the Harry Potter formula fresh through five iterations, imagine how hard it has been for the game developers, who can’t rely on Alan Rickman or Imax 3D for support. So Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, the first Potter game on the current consoles, finally takes a new approach. Yes, you still have to attend classes and go on endless (and, more often than not, mundane) fetch quests but rather than a linear, action-based adventure like its predecessors, the new game uses a sandbox-style set-up, with a brilliantly recreated Hogwarts as its centre. Borrowing the actual blueprints from the movie, the expansive boarding school comes to obsessively detailed life with plentiful ghosts, rival classmates, talking portraits, house elves and mobile staircases. Exploring the campus’s nooks and crannies (with the aide of your trusty Marauder’s Map, of course) is by far the best part of the game and a genuine treat for franchise fans, even if the storytelling suffers from the non-linear nature. Though to be fair, the fifth novel is somewhat meandering and much of the bureaucracy-based plot doesn’t lend itself to fast-paced game play. Plus, be real, if you’re even contemplating playing this you already know what happens. The other big evolution is in spell casting. Button-mashing has been replaced by "gesture-based” controls — on the 360 version that means moving the right analogue stick in specific patterns but on the Wii edition, the motion-sensitive controller allows you to actually wave the Wii-mote like a wand and deliver an expelliarmus spell with a flick of your wrist. Which is about as close to magic as this series has gotten yet. (Warner)