news: The magic is building with LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4

Take a trip into the spellbinding world of Harry Potter, conjured up with a little LEGO help…

It’s the familiar music that builds excitement from the very start. The haunting strains of John Williams’ now famous theme tune signalling the arrival of LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 on PlayStation 3, marking the magical journey into a charming 3D action adventure – although it comes with a colourful new spin…

“It’s the best looking LEGO game we’ve done by far”

Harry Potter has already combined with LEGO to create a massive range of toys featuring the boy wizard and his well known cast of friends and enemies. However, this is the first videogame to mix the creative toys and J.K. Rowling’s rich mythology together into an enticingly playable form on PS3.

Traveller’s Tales are no strangers to this challenge having delivered excellent LEGO videogame versions of Star Wars, Batman and Indiana Jones – and after those brilliant precedents, Harry Potter is already casting a spell on anyone who sees its vibrant visuals full of humour and well observed quirks.

“It’s the best looking LEGO game we’ve done by far,” says Traveller’s Tales head of production, Jonathan Smith. “It’s the suitability of Harry Potter’s world to the LEGO treatment, with its colour, magic, special effects and great characters.”

Magical Minifigurines

Smith’s faith in the characters isn’t misplaced – from the very start of the game, LEGO Harry Potter is full of instantly familiar faces given the classic LEGO Minifigurine treatment. Over 100 characters are playable through the first four years of Harry’s time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry based on the film and books (The Philosopher’s Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire), with a range of puzzle solving, platforming, potion mixing, broomstick riding, combat and collecting to enjoy.

Naturally the heroic threesome of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger take centre stage, but you can also take control of the likes of the friendly giant Hagrid (“I can’t believe it’s taken this long to put Robbie Coltrane into LEGO form!” jokes Smith), Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Griphook the goblin and even Hagrid’s dog, Fang.

Each of the characters has a range of skills and abilities, although keeping true to the comedy tone of LEGO, some powers are more useful than others. For example, Fang is excellent at digging out items and hidden pathways, but you may not find his ability to play dead quite as useful, although it’s something which is bound to cause a few laughs during the two player co-operative mode, where one person can jump in or out of the gameplay at any time.

Grow up with Harry

Cleverly mirroring the progression from book to book, the characters you play grow in stature and ability, meaning more gameplay elements open up as you advance. “What’s radically different is that you have characters who, over four years, go from not being very powerful to becoming incredibly powerful,” explains Smith. At the start of the game, Harry is incapable of magic meaning even basic potion making is beyond him (unless you like things exploding in your face), but as he attends lessons he learns more spells to aid him in his quests.

This also helps unlock previously inaccessible areas around the massive grounds of Hogwarts, meaning the castle’s mysteries reveal themselves up as the characters become better at their craft. The more you learn, the more you discover – and curiosity is rewarded.

“It’s a much more conventional sense of progression compared to what we’ve done before in LEGO games,” says Smith. “Hogwarts is the biggest, richest, detailed and most all encompassing environment in LEGO we’ve ever created. You discover its size over the course of four years, so it’s not immediately overwhelming – but you get a sense as we go that there’s much more around to explore than is immediately accessible.”

An epic adventure

With its range of set pieces taken from the major points of the source material, including the students’ first broomstick riding lesson and the troll fight in the school bathroom, there’s plenty here for fans of the series to enjoy, mixed with a refinement of the popular LEGO style gameplay.

There’s even the ability to freely build certain LEGO bricks into any shape that you want, lending a distinctly personalised slant to puzzle solving – something new to the LEGO series and adding a fresh element to play with.

LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 offers an enchanting spin on J.K. Rowling’s legendary universe, one enthusiasts and newcomers are sure to enjoy through its quirky charm, tongue-in-cheek style and deep gameplay. “It’s that epic adventure in a way you’ve never seen before but in a way that’s totally familiar and wonderful,” says Smith. “We hope you really enjoy playing it.”

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