Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets images
Review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter – orphaned as a baby, neglected and mentally abused by his aunt, uncle and cousin with whom he lives – is a wizard!
As he prepares to return to Hogwarts (the school for magical folk!) for his second year, a series of incidents befall Harry, including missing the Hogwarts Express. He discovers that Dobby, a house-elf, is responsible for these, as he fears that should Harry return, great evil and harm will befall him.
Undaunted, Harry determines to return to his beloved school and with the aid of his best friend, the flame-haired Ron Weasley, he does just that.
However, danger is indeed lurking – from none other than his nemesis, the evil Lord Voldemort
Upon beginning this game I thought that it wouldn’t take me much more than an evening or two to complete – needless to say, I was mistaken!
And very pleasantly surprised!
It is no secret that I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan and to be honest I wasn’t entirely sure that any game could truly match the excitement and quality of any book, let alone one of JK Rowling’s masterpieces.
In fact, this game doesn’t, although it is very faithful to the book.
Neverlethess it does make for very good entertainment.
With fully interactive three-dimensional environments and characters, this game is a real pleasure to play…and completely addictive!
The controls seem to be rather twitchy at first but it doesn’t take too long to become accustomed to them. Admittedly, it can be somewhat infuriating when Harry runs into the background or gets stuck on a low level object such as a tree root but the overall gameplay more than makes up for this. And let’s face it, there hasn’t yet been a game that is perfect in all aspects!
There are more spells than in the first game, although they do need a degree of control when casting. Mis-casting often results in Harry being knocked flat on his back! Some can even have very amusing results but I’m not saying what…go play the game yourself!
One of the best aspects of the game is the ability to fly around Hogwarts at will.
Another is De-gnoming! Knock ‘em down with a blast of Harry’s Flipendo spell then grab the wee blighters while they are still stunned! Spin them around and around (but not too much or else Harry will get dizzy!) and then let go to see them fly off into the distance!
So much more satisfying than chucking slugs over the fence into your neighbour’s prize Dahlias!
In terms of lastability, for me this is really a once-only game, despite the fact that the decisions that the player makes could well affect future events in the game – therefore there is the potential that no two games will be the same. Younger gamers however, may well find this is a great game to just pick up and play because of the side missions and free-flying ability.
The 3D environments are beautifully rendered and give a great sense of vastness to the game. Hogwarts Castle is actually based on the original blueprints that were used for the film of the same name!
The characters are very rounded, even possessing hair that moves and flowing robes. Faces are very lifelike, with Gilderoy Lockhart bearing more than a passing resemblance to Kenneth Branagh who actually plays him in the film!
Harry takes notice of what is going on around him by turning his head to look at various objects as you play the game. These observations can serve as hints to the player (along with Harry’s ‘inner thoughts’).
With realistic lighting effects and so much attention to detail that even the posters and notices on the walls can be read, the graphical qualities of this game are almost perfect.
The fact that there is very little in the way of polygonal seaming in the earlier parts of the game, makes it rather disappointing to find very choppy and quite frankly, amateurish graphics in the grounds of Hogwarts. From a distance all seems fine, until suddenly, far from being the smoothly rendered graphics one is used to seeing, the players find themselves surrounded by angular and badly shaded ‘Blue Peter’ style Christmas trees!!
Having said that, even this can be forgiven when viewing the magnificent vistas surrounding Hogwarts which are very much in the vein of Ico, proving that EA’s programmers are more than capable of utilising the PS2’s graphical hardware.
From the ambient sounds to the atmospheric and haunting music of this game, once again the people at EA have come up trumps!
Stephen Fry provides the narration just as he does for the recorded versions of the books and although not the original actors providing the voices, one would be hard pushed to tell the difference. The voice acting is both believable and authentic sounding.
With regard to background sounds and noises, these serve to conjure up a real sense of the magical and slightly spooky atmosphere of Hogwarts Castle; from crackling fires burning in numerous grates, to creaking doors, to echoing footfalls upon stone floors as Harry runs around.
The accompanying music adds to the atmosphere, building in tempo, rising to dramatic crescendos when danger is imminent or when Harry is fighting a ‘boss’.
Unlike some games where the music has little bearing on the actual gameplay and tends to veer toward repetition, the C.O.S. soundtrack could well stand alone as a musical feast in its own right. This game has it all!
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Nicole Neville © Absolute PlayStation
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