I’ve decided that it’s necessary as a Harry Potter website owner to go out and buy the Goblet of Fire computer video game and experience so that I could review it here. I really didn’t like this game. Here, I’m going to list the many changes made from the previous games, especially Prisoner of Azkaban, and what I didn’t care for about them.
Intro and End: Goodness gracious! Here’s one thing I was very much impressed with. Graphics for the introduction (I’ve not seen the end of the game), were fantastic, not to mention that they were used also for transition between major segments of the game. I loved especially how it would jump from one scene to the next with intense rapidity. Plus, they were short enough to get you playing quickly, while set the story up nicely.
Loading and Saving: Virtually non-existent. There were no save-game books this time. Instead, there’s an auto-save system that I’ve continually chosen to use. So there’s no waiting to continue on with the game while it saves, and there’s no wait to load games either. It would seem as though the more powerful graphics system would require a greater loading time, but that’s just not the case. Couple seconds tops.
Spell Casting: Graphics were the main focus of this game; that is obvious. Spell trails were changed yet again, improved aesthetically, with nice particle effects. However, the main change with spells is the elimination of the mouse. It took much too long for me to get used to, I’m afraid, to completely enjoy the change at first. In lieu of the mouse, more keyboard functions are incorporated, which was at the same time much smarter than the point-and-click action I had grown to love. We actually have differences now between charms and jinxes, though we have yet to be introduced to curses evidently. Press C for charm, which include Wingardium Leviosa (I was excited to see they brought that one back from Sorcerer’s Stone!), Carpe Retractum, Herbivicus, and Aqua Eructo. Press X for a whole host of jinxes, and Z for Accio also. These additions I liked, though I thought Magicus Extremos was rather lame. Why not make the game less difficult and eliminate the need for this extra boost of magical powers?
Animated Characters: Graphics were great, that is for certain. Animations were slow, choppy, and all-around unimpressive. That is all I have to say.
Bertie Bott’s Beans: I liked, first, that they were smaller. Previously, I swear the beans were about the size of Harry’s head! But these were shoe-sized instead. There are more uses for beans this time around, with the addition of Magicus Extremos mostly since blue beans increase the magic meter at the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, beans are only used to purchase Wizard Cards, which I will write about later.
Chocolate Frogs: Much smarter than in previous games, which only boosts your stamina to full and further frogs found are fickle. Frogs in this game, instead, are collected and used when needed, kinda like the Wiggenweld Potions of the CoS game.
Wizard Cards: Ah yes. They actually have some use in this game. Formerly, they were only collected so that more things could be collected. Simple as that. Not that I really minded that much. I like collecting pointless things in real life, like buttons. Rather, in this game, cards are bought and collected to enhance characters, their abilities, stamina, and levels of magic and so on. Very smart I thought, indeed.
Now that I have covered the more frivolous aspects of the game, which I only chose to write about because they were categories in the other reviews, I will move on to further categories, all of which are more important, and to me, frustrating.
Challenges: EA follows suit with WB on this one, which makes me angry. WB (those in charge of this movie anyway) eliminated all lessons from the movie, except one, Defense Against the Dark Arts, so that they could set up the character of Moody, and introduce the unforgivable curses. Of course, we’ve seen our fair share of classes at Hogwarts, so it’s not as though we really needed to see another several of them in full. I’d hoped at least that I would get that opportunity in the computer game. Not so. Sure, we three go see Moody at the beginning of the game for “extra lessons” in the Dark Arts, just to get a feel for the game I suppose, and to introduce Aqua Eructo. No further lessons or professors after that. Yes, we do learn Herbivicus, but not from Professor Sprout as we should. Rather, we learn it while we are looking for the Gillyweed in the greenhouses, and come across a random spell book. Lame, I thought, lame.
Exploration: How could you do this to me EA?! This is the very reason why I absolutely cannot like this game. They’ve eliminated Hogwarts as we know it, and reduced gameplay down to a few levels to challenge us, to replay over and over again until we collect enough things from them to move on to other levels. Boring. I didn’t like it. I wanted to explore Hogwarts; where I find most of my enjoyment from all of the games is the opportunity to explore this grandiose place virtually that I cannot in real life, as much as I would love to. That’s why I’ve advocated so much for an MMORPG of Harry Potter, because we could not only explore the castle as it should be, but meet new people in every corner of Hogwarts. Wouldn’t that be glorious? Perhaps that’s what EA was thinking when they made this game. “Let’s eliminate the exploration of Hogwarts so that we can create another game later that allows players to explore and interact in their favorite castle.” I get goosebumps just thinking about it! I certainly hope my dream comes true.
Complete Layout: As if I didn’t say this enough in exploration, I was highly disappointed with this game concerning the aspect of layout. After I played Prisoner of Azkaban, I sat down and drew out a blueprint of how I thought Hogwarts, especially the grand staircase, ought to be portrayed in future games, if I had my way with things. Definitely did not happen with this one. If only I kept on with computer science, I could have worked for EA and told them a thing or two. I was immensely disappointed when Prisoner of Azkaban came out, about how much was taken away and replaced with meaningless filler. In that game too, the graphics were much improved, and I loved them, so it was fine. I didn’t mind in the end that so much was removed that shouldn’t have been. In this game, I’ve not come to the same conclusion. Improvement in graphics is not worth losing Hogwarts. If anything, Hogwarts should have been redone with the newer and better graphics. Too much work? Too meaningless? I think not. I’m sorry.
Pause Menu: Boring. Simple… And yet, I don’t mind it. Whatever.
The Music: Unimpressed. Sometimes I liked it, but only once or twice. Of course, with the lack of exploration around Hogwarts, we have no music to accompany random wanderings. Instead, we have all this intense battle or action music, or none whatsoever, which I do not like, the former music major that I am. What’s worse, is that I cannot make a custom “soundtrack” out of this music, or at least, I don’t know how, since all music files have been combined into one, and are not separate, easy to work with files.
The Entire Gaming Experience: As I alluded to just now, there is no downtime anymore with the removal of Hogwarts, and instead we are given challenges to complete. I’m not an avid gamer. I play for the aesthetics, not the challenge, the experience, not the skill involved. Graphics are satisfying in this; the game-play on the other hand is not. Many thought Prisoner of Azkaban was too easy; I disagree. It was short, yes, but it took forever for me to finish the last Charms final. Transfiguration was difficult as well to complete. However, this game for me has been next to impossible at times. With the terribly poor AI with companions, and sometimes with the first person character, it wouldn’t do as I told it with the correct keyboard functions. I got so angry one night when I yet again ran into an area of the game where I couldn’t get a simple spell to happen with any of the characters I was supposed to be in control of that I actually broke my broke my keyboard in frustration (ironically the broken letters were “OK”), and if any game makes me that angry, it’s really not worth playing for enjoyment. Sure, I suppose finally making it to the end has its merits, the sense of accomplishment, but I’d much rather have fun while I do it. That’s what makes me different from all other gamers. If I can’t figure something out for myself, and I know that I can’t without much too much work, I’ll seek assistance, whether online or from someone else. That’s what I’ve done with the Myst series continually. Rather than take the time to actually figure some of the puzzles out on my own, I’ll look to the help system instead whenever I feel the need. And in the end, I really don’t care that much, because I just want to see what happens. I’m impatient like that I guess. I just want to see the game, experience the game, and interact with the game. I don’t care if it’s easy. I’d rather it didn’t challenge me. I’d rather it wasn’t difficult for me to complete. I’d rather have fun.