Christmas is simply the best time of year for gamers. With plenty of triple-A titles being released and hundreds of games dropping in price, it can be hard to choose which ones to put on your Christmas list. Well, let me give you a hand. Welcome to Zenith’s Christmas Recommendations.
For my first recommendation I chose a game that any gamer can enjoy: Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4.
“But Zenith,” you say. “Isn’t that a kids game?” Well, yes and no. Lego Harry Potter is a game that was aimed at children but can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages. This game, developed by Travelers Tales, is pure, unadulterated fun. Whether or not you like Harry Potter, there is just a certain charm embedded in this title.
Based on the first four Harry Potter films, the game takes Hogwarts (and everyone in it) and gives it a complete lego makeover. You will find yourself trekking through the forbidden forest, fighting dementors on the Hogwarts Express, and drinking lots of Polyjuice Potion but the transition to Lego makes each experience much more engaging and hilarious. Cut-scenes contain abbreviated versions of scenes from the film, albeit without character dialogue and with much more emphasis on humor. Instead of characters getting killed from powerful spells, they simply burst into smaller Lego pieces. Instead of the villain being cloaked in mystery, the protagonist of each film is revealed from the very beginning as he twirls his mustache and cackles maniacally. It definitely takes some liberties with the source material but it will get quite a few belly laughs out of you.
In addition to it’s impeccable sense of humor, Lego Harry Potter has excellent gameplay. The emphasis here is on exploration, collecting, and interacting with the environment. As you explore each corner of Hogwarts, you will soon find that you can interact with just about everything. Zapping objects will either destroy that object or cause it to undergo some kind of transformation, causing hundreds of Lego studs and other collectibles to appear from thin air. As you go to lessons and gain new spells, you will find new ways to interact with the environment and new items to add to your collection. You will find yourself searching every nook and cranny to unlock a new character or discover a new gold brick. In addition, if you get tired of exploring the castle alone, you can always play through the entire game cooperatively with a friend. The combat of the game is also very engaging. At specific points in the story, you will have to fight against a number of bosses and they are all very creative. You’ll find yourself dodging the branches of the Whomping Willow, dueling against Draco Malfoy, and hurling spells at Lord Voldemort himself. Each encounter is unique and adds a new layer of fun to the experience. Although you do respawn fairly quickly, each time you die you lose many of the studs you have gathered in the level which adds penalty for hardcore gamers while keeping the game accessible to younger audiences.
There is a lot to like in this game. The humor, the exploration, the combat, and the musical score (which is taken directly from each Harry Potter film) are all top notch and are a perfect fit for just about any gamer. Even if you’re not a fan of Harry Potter, the charm of seeing Lego characters being blasted into tiny Lego bits will keep you coming back for more. Make sure to keep this game on your radar because Christmas is coming and the game will only cost you $20.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for further Christmas recommendations, have a happy holidays, and happy gaming.
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