Lego Hary Potter: Years 5-7 is one of the better Lego games, up there with HP Years 1-4 and Marvel Superheroes, but I feel it doesn’t quite reach these two. In a pack with Years 1-4 this is a perfect Lego game adaptation for the Harry Potter series and in many ways the developers actually improved on the first game. And even though it builds on Years 1-4 and makes many things easier, this seems to be the flaw – it can be too linear and easy.
In general playing Years 5-7 is a perfect follow up to Years 1-4. The Hogwarts layout is almost the same, with a few areas with less accessibility (the common rooms for example) and some extended areas (London, Hogsmeade and the stations). In general I find this part much easier to navigate and less confusing. I also love it that you have an indicator in each area how many characters you are supposed to find, whether the student in peril has been saved yet, and whether you have found the gold and red bricks. This is a huge help and saves you from running around all areas trying to find the missing pieces to complete the game to 100%. That also meant that I for once didn’t need online help at all. This was of course due to the fact that I had played it previously, but also because the game itself is much easier.
And as much as I enjoy a more or less hassle free game with only few frustrating situations, this one feels too smooth in some parts. It is difficult to describe, but in Years 1-4 I really felt like I was solving small riddles and puzzles to progress through the level. In Years 5-7 I often felt like I was being guided through a level in a very linear way and it was obviously a level. Maybe part 1 made me feel more part of the story and to continue with it I had to get around little obstacles. Part 2 felt like it’s more focussed on being a “game to be played”, not a story to be experienced.
In Years 5-7 there are more boss fights involved as well. In general that is not a bad thing, but I felt the dueling to be quite repetetive and not very challenging. Sometimes it felt more like playing for time to make a level longer (and unecessarily so). I found I was also a little disappointed with the level choices as such in some ways. Many very iconic scenes were either just glossed over in the “cinematics” or you only played them once during the story. I think the short scene from the Marauder’s time would have made an excellent full-scale level, rather than a small “filler” sequence. Also some levels seemed like a bunch of ideas simply thrown together. The very first level spans Privet Drive, the flight through London, a sequence in front of 12 Grimmauld Place, the Ministry Plaza and the Ministry lift area. I know it’s hard to choose when you only get to do 6 proper levels per HP part (so 24 levels in total for 4 films), but in Years 1-4 it always felt really appropriate and I liked revisiting really iconic scenes, rather than playing a bit of this and that.
Overall Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is a strong Lego game, that is a worthy follow-up to Years 1-4. It is not perfect and it probably won’t be appealing to gamers who are looking for a challenge. But if you are after a fun Harry Potter themed game that won’t take ages of your time and nerves, this is something for you – especially in a pack with Years 1-4. It should be possible to get to 100% with a week of more or less casual gaming, or a few days proper gaming. It’s definitely worth giving it a go and also playing again after a while.