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Developer:
EA UK
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PS2, Xbox, GameCube, PC
Release Date: November 8, 2005

by Josh Ferguson




The latest Harry Potter game based on Warner Brothers' hit film series is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. With Goblet of Fire, EA changed the gameplay into a much more action-filled experience than in the previous installments. In fact, the game now features many similiarities to another EA movie-based action game, The Two Towers. While Goblet of Fire might be a more exciting and fun game than the rest of the Potter series, it still lacks many of the ingredients that made the Lord of the Rings-based games so much fun.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opens while Harry, Ron and Hermione are all attending the Quidditch World Cup. Soon after, a group of Death Eaters attack the site, leaving the three alone, while Ron's father battles with the creatures. While you won't actually be in combat with any of the Death Eaters, you will battle some of the lesser creatures known as Dugbogs. The player will continue to fight the occasional Dugbog until they arrive at the portkey.


After that, the first level is complete and the real story of the game starts to unfold. It seems that a dangerous tournament is going on known as the "Triwizard Tournament". One wizard from each of the participating schools is chosen by the Goblet of Fire to take place in the events. These events include taking on a fire-breathing dragon, saving their friends in the cold of the Black Lake, and defeating a large and trying maze. Only three wizards are supposed to take part in these events, but somehow Harry Potter is chosen as a fourth participant in the Tournament.


When each level begins, the player is given the option of choosing one of the three characters: Harry, Ron and Hermione. While the actual player can only choose one of them per level and cannot switch once the level has started, the other two characters will continue to follow your character throughout the level. However, Goblet of Fire features one addition that none of its predeccesors did before, and that is the option of multiplayer. In fact, up to three players can play through Goblet of Fire, each playing as one of the three characters mentioned earlier. While every level doesn't feature the three characters, the majority of them will. Occasionally you will wander upon a solo mission by Harry while he competes in the Tournament, but the game still features quite a bit of multiplayer action!


Even though the game does feature three different characters, spell-wise and stat-wise, they really aren't different, which is somewhat of a drag. While each character might start out with different stat bonuses, each of them will eventually be able to unlock the majority of the same stat bonuses and abilities. So in reality, other than the voices and appearance, the characters will eventually become virtually identical. Personally, I thought it would have been nice to see more differentiation, such as Harry having a larger amount of powerful spells, while Hermione had the capabilities of performing a larger variety of spells.


Speaking of abilities and stat bonuses, characters can unlock these by collecting different assortments of cards. Examples of these cards include character cards, creature cards, and quest cards. Character cards are unlocked by acquiring certain amounts of Bertie Bott's Every-Flavor Beans, which can be found by defeating enemies, putting out fires, breaking objects, etc., and then using those beans to purchase your cards. There are also several levels of character card classes, which are obtained by increasing your Magic Mastery level. In order to increase this level and acquire additional sets of cards, the character must earn a certain amount of experience. This extra experience comes from the rating you receive from using your magic spells. For every successful spell, you will receive a certain amount of experience. And as said previously, as you obtain enough experience in your Magic Mastery, you will obtain some new cards to be unlocked in the next set of cards.


This idea of obtaining experience depending on the success rate of your attacks is also very similiar to that of the EA Lord of the Rings games. When a player would kill an enemy in those games, they would receive a certain rating on those kills. Once enough experience was built up, those characters leveled up. Goblet of Fire is much like this. In both games you can obtain new skills and much more powerful attacks based on points earned through your attack rating.


The game also features two other types of cards, including creature cards, which are given automatically when a character defeats that kind of creature in the manner that is indicated on the card. There are also quest cards, which are found by performing certain missions.


Goblet of Fire also features a nice amount of magic spells that can be performed. Some of the spells range from lifting objects, casting water down upon flaming objects, attracting beans to your character, and pulling open doors or other objects. While there are quite a few different magic spells, the player really has no control over the type of spell that is cast. In fact, by pressing a certain button, the game will automatically choose which type of magic spell is most appropriate for the situation. While this might be nice, there are certain occasions when you might want to, say, lift an enemy into the air. However, there is a fire next to that creature, so you may struggle to cast the correct spell. Instead of lifting the creature the game may have you putting out the fire. Occasionally, it seems that the magic spells take a little time to react to the buttons you are pressing.


Throughout missions there are also other types of items that players must collect in order to progress in the game. One of these items is shields. In order to progress to an upcoming mission, a certain amount of these shields are needed. However, the annoying thing is that once you acquire enough shields, the player is automatically taken out of that mission and goes back to the mission select screen. The worst thing is that if you wish to go back to a mission and find all of the different items, you will be taken back to the very beginning of that mission and then have to progress from there. Having to repeatedly go through the missions looking for shields is rather annoying, really.


Considering the game is based on a film, one might think that the actors from the movies might do the voice acting and that it might actually feature some clips from the movies. Well, that person would be wrong. It is actually quite disappointing that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire doesn't feature the actual voices from the films, but it is even worse that there isn't even a single clip that is actually taken from the film. Don't get me wrong, the voice acting isn't bad, but it isn't great either. The voice actors aren't too bad, except for Ron who sounds a little "silly".


While the game doesn't feature the actors or material from the movie, it is quite obvious that the creators wanted the main characters to resemble the movie characters very much. And, well, they did what they wanted to do. Harry, Ron and Hermione resemble the actual actors very much. The design and amount of detail is actually fairly impressive, and overall Goblet of Fire is a nice-looking game!


Overall, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is an action game that is geared toward fans of the Potter series. However, it's still a game that others can find somewhat entertaining. While it features its share of flaws, I still recommend it for those who love the Potter series or anyone who absolutely adored EA's Lord of the Rings. While you shouldn't be expecting a game with The Lord of the Rings-type quality, it is still a fun a game.


Final Grade: 73%




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