There’s no shortage of LEGO games these days, even on the relatively young Nintendo Switch. What there isn’t, however, is a bigger library of the older LEGO games. Warner Bros. has come some way in sorting that out by releasing both LEGO Harry Potter games in one nifty little package, dubbed the LEGO Harry Potter Collection.
It’s basically both games, LEGO Harry Potter – Years 1-4 and LEGO Harry Potter – Years 5-7, in one package, though the games themselves are accessed separately. Could it have been a little more streamlined by having both sets merged into one? Maybe, but the few seconds it takes to switch from one to the other isn’t very long at all and isn’t something that should go against it.
As I’ve written before, I’m a big fan of the LEGO games, especially those that take place in the wizarding world, so it’s already an easy recommendation if you’ve not already gotten around to playing them before. Heck, even if you did play them on the last-gen consoles they’re worth picking up again just for the fact you can play them anywhere you like. Admittedly, most of my play time with LEGO Harry Potter on Switch has been in handheld mode. Whether that’s because I’m in bed or barred from the telly, it doesn’t matter – it plays just as well in handheld mode as it does docked to a big telly. In fact, I’d say it even looks a touch nicer on the smaller screen where imperfections aren’t so easily seen.
As for the games themselves… If you’ve played a LEGO game, you’ve played them all. The only difference in this one is that you won’t be doing any melee combat; it’s a strictly wands-only affair, barring a couple of exceptions (animals and muggle characters).
The first game takes you through the first four Harry Potter movies while the second one takes you through the remaining films. They’re pretty faithful in sticking to the source material in terms of telling a story, but don’t expect any dialogue – these games were made before voice-acting was common place in LEGO releases.
Gameplay pans out as you’d expect, though there are a few twists only possible in the world of Harry Potter. It’s nothing spectacular by any means, but the game’s levels and especially the Hogwarts hub world are fantastic fun to explore with secrets hidden throughout. And, being that this is a LEGO game, there’s lots of stuff to collect. Normally I’d groan, but in the LEGO games it’s fun. You’ll need to go back to levels you’ve previously beaten in order to unlock new characters and abilities. It pads out the running time a little more but it’s satisfying watching the percentage complete number slowly climbs as you collect every last golden brick, character token, and red bricks, the latter of which give you special abilities that’ll make running through the levels again much easier and fun.
Graphically it’s fine. It’s a LEGO game and they’re not exactly known for being showcases of a console’s graphical abilities. That being said, it’s a touch nicer on the eye than it was on the PS3/Xbox 360, and the annoying screen-tearing from the last-generation versions is all but gone in this re-release. Everything is crisp and clear, even in handheld mode, but the small imperfections do rear their heads when hooked up to a TV, and it’s a little more noticeable if you’re using a 4K set, but again, it’s nothing to sniff at and it still looks damn good.
There’s also the added bonus of local multiplayer being supported via the two Joy-Con controllers. Simply pop ’em off the console, hand one to another player and you’ve now got someone to blame when things go wrong. Or was that just me?
It’s not doing anything that hasn’t been done before, but this re-release is worthy of a play if you missed out on the games during the last-gen console cycle. Heck, I’d argue they’re worth playing again just for the portability factor, but that’s just me.
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Reviewed using Nintendo Switch.