Despite LEGO Harry Potter being one of the better LEGO-fied games in the long list of LEGO-based games, this remaster leaves me asking why it was even made. I know why; money, and the new-found popularity of Harry Potter’s magical world thanks to the new play and the Fantastic Beasts movie. That’s the ‘why’ from a boardroom perspective, but for a player, it’s not as clear-cut.
For starters, these are just the same games we played on the PS3 all those years ago, though they are at least a world above the shoddy PSP/PS Vita releases that Warner Bros. churned out, much to my dismay. For those who are already intimately familiar with the LEGO Harry Potter games, nothing here will be a surprise and to be honest, there’s not really much reason to come back to it unless you really, really, really love the LEGO Harry Potter games. I do love the LEGO Harry games and, despite them being readily available on PS4 via PS Now, I don’t want to be at the mercy of lag or internet nerds killing the internet; it’s a fragile thing, don’t you know.
The graphics have been given a bit of a smoothing over and the screen-tearing found in the PS3 release is absent, but aside from the spit polish on the presentation and the increase in resolution, improvements are difficult to spot, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve played the originals.
In fairness, not everything in a remaster needs to be improved upon and with LEGO Harry Potter the graphics were always more than fine; the LEGO games have never strived to be ultra-realistic depictions of the franchises they’re based on. Having said that, I can live with the minimal visual upgrade in terms of in-game graphics, but what I can’t overlook are the cut-scenes. It’s here that you’re truly reminded that this is a last-gen game as the short clips tend to seem a little lower in quality than the rest of the game. It’s a small annoyance for me, but it’s one that I couldn’t help but notice every time a cut scene played.
Despite this, I still managed to have a giggle at the silly slapstick that serves as the narration between gameplay sections, though after the most recent releases in the LEGO series, it did seem a little weird that the characters were voiceless. Some may see this as a missed opportunity to really make the game stand out from its origins. Personally, I’m happy enough having Harry and his band of wizarding chums to converse with grunts, squeaks, and moans.
Gameplay wise, the LEGO Harry Potter Collection is completely in tact. You’ll play through all seven years as depicted in the movies. You’ll solve puzzles, collect LEGO studs, hunt for students in peril, and collect all sorts of useless LEGO crap. And I love it. There’s a charm around the LEGO Harry Potter games that’s just simply missing from every other LEGO game. I can’t quite put my finger on it though. Maybe it’s the magic or perhaps it’s the nostalgia after having practically grown up in the same time frame as the cast of the movies, or maybe it’s because it’s the only game where you can have a good wander around Hogwarts castle and explore all sorts of daft things. I dunno, all I know is that they’re the only LEGO games since LEGO Star Wars to keep me engaged right the way through till the end. Fun fact: I completed LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 to 100% on the Xbox 360. (Sorry!)
The LEGO Harry Potter Collection for PS4 may be a bit of a crap remaster when compared to the likes of The Last of Us and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but it’s still a great collection of, in my opinion, the best LEGO games to date. If you haven’t played them before, this is a no-brainer. If you have, perhaps wait for the inevitable price-drop that will come in the near future.
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