If I had to pick one single thing that offends me the most about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, it's that the developers felt the need to turn every individual moment into a long, drawn-out shooting gallery. In many cases, this doesn't make any sense. When did Harry Potter ever take down 100 Death Eaters between arriving at Hogwarts and battling Voldemort?
Considering how well the Harry Potter movies represented the books, it's baffling to think that EA somehow never got it quite right in 10 years. What's more, after releasing the worst video game in the series last year, EA Bright Light Studios only made nips and tucks to the terrible gameplay when they really should've started over from scratch. Combat is still incredibly tedious. Environments and graphics look dated. Enemy and ally A.I. is overwhelmingly stupid. Perhaps the only good thing about the game is that it's short, clocking in at three to five hours.
But even with all of the gameplay issues, Deathly Hallows would be easier to consume if it tried to stay true to the world of Harry Potter, and it doesn't. Even the story is a bare-bones Cliff Notes version, with barely a hint of continuity. Characters are stiff and poorly animated, as if they're consistently fighting a Petrificus Totalus curse. It makes key events from the movie look terrible, and if you've seen the movie, the impression it leaves is that much worse.
Voice acting is largely hit and miss -- Adam Roop does an admirable job of emulating Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter, while Rupert Grint (Ronald Weasley) and Matthew David Lewis (Neville Longbottom) thankfully provide their own heavily-accented voices. Rupert Degas is outright terrible as Severus Snape, and his frantic mid-battle one liners are worse than a Mandrake's screams.
To boot, lots of original dialogue is crammed in to explain why certain non-canonical action sequences are happening, none of which is particularly well delivered.
Perhaps the only thing that warrants a rental are slight improvements over the last game. Most attacks are just variations of the Stunning Spell ("Stupefy!"), but Deathly Hallows Part 2 tries to inject a little variety by forcing you to break Shield Charms ("Protego!") with the Disarming Charm ("Expelliarmus!") once in a while. On other occasions, Hermione will take several minutes casting should-be-instantaneous Unlocking Charms ("Alohomora!") while you protect her.
Harry Potter nerds will quickly recognize that none of the spells do what they do in the books, films, or previous games, which ensures that EA Bright Light didn't really plan on pandering to the most hardcore fans, let alone casual players.
Perhaps the most entertaining parts of the game are the chase scenes that EA knowingly wedged into every game trailer. By far, those brief sequences are the highlight of the entire package because they do something that doesn't involve chest-high walls and long, narrow corridors. Almost everything else is the same tedious, soulless grind from the last game, just with new settings and characters. Even the PlayStation Move version has little to offer. There's no exclusive content, just a new way to struggle with already poor combat.
It's sad to see the Harry Potter video game series hit such a low point. But thankfully, it's not up to EA to let the franchise go out with a whimper. After all, the upcoming LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 release from Traveller's Tales should undoubtedly be much better.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part TWo: Specs
- Age rating: 12
- Age rating: 12
Passable voice acting and slightly improved design can't make up for the terrible AI, boring combat, muddled plot and stingy length.