Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Unexciting fantasy shooter uses magic in place of bullets.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This game shares positive themes similar to its source material, including friendship, perseverance, forgiveness, and love. However, these concepts are not explored in any depth. Plus, its persistent focus on using magic-based violence to overcome most obstacles places it at odds with the franchise’s books and films, in which the characters spend much more time solving problems with their minds and wits.
Positive Role Models
Our familiar heroes are the good kids they’ve always been, looking out for one another and working to save the world from the evil Lord Voldemort and his deatheaters. However, they are forced into extended violent confrontations here much more often than they are in the films or books.
Ease of Play
The third-person shooter controls are familiar and simple, but aiming is clumsy, making success far from certain even on the easiest of the game’s three difficulty settings. Expect some frustration.
Violence & Scariness
Players spend most of their time shooting -- and avoiding being shot by -- fantasy beings ranging from dark wizards to doxies (small flying creatures) with bursts of magic from their wands. The action feels much like that of a third-person shooter; players use a targeting reticule for guidance and can take cover behind and peak out from environmental objects. Enemies generally collapse and disappear when hit -- Harry’s spells stun, disarm, and petrify his opponents rather than kill them. It’s not nearly as scary as the film upon which it is based, but there are screams of pain and fright.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
This is a spinoff of the blockbuster film of the same name, which in turn was based on one of the world’s best-selling books.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is essentially a third person shooter that uses magic instead of bullets. Players don’t kill anyone, but instead knock them out and make them disappear with spells like “Stupefy” and “Expulso.” It is darker and more violent than previous Harry Potter games, but -- unlike the film upon which it is based -- the audience sees no wounds or blood, and there are no jump-out-of-your-seat moments of fright. However, the game’s focus is set squarely on magical violence, with players involved in extended sequences that consist of shooting, running to cover, then shooting some more. Hundreds of enemies are defeated this way throughout the game.
Where to Play
Videos and Photos
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What’s It About?
Based on the film of the same name, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 puts players in the shoes of everyone’s favorite boy wizard as he struggles through the first half of the franchise’s final chapter. Important narrative moments are presented in brief, non-interactive cut scenes before allowing players to take control of Harry as he uses his wand to shoot spells at attacking deatheaters, dementors, doxies, and other fantastical foes. Some scenes involve a bit of stealth, with Harry hiding under his invisibility cloak, while others see him engaged in short chats with non-player characters, but he spends most of his time in battle. Xbox users with Kinect sensors will be able to engage in a few quick mini-games outside of the story mode that allow them to cast offensive and defensive spells with body movements rather than button taps.
Is It Any Good?
Games based on films have a reputation for being joyless, and it’s because of releases like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Not only does its third-person shooter style of play move away from the sort of experiences offered in previous Harry Potter games, which had a nice mix of puzzles, exploration, and mild action, it’s simply not very well executed. Aiming is difficult, taking cover is awkward, and the battles feel repetitious.
But the game isn’t completely devoid of creativity. Some of the environments are wonderfully authentic recreations of the film’s sets, such as the small café in which Harry, Ron, and Hermione are attacked by deatheaters and Sirius Black’s creepy, narrow townhouse. Still, these spot-on locations don’t make up for the game’s many deficits. This Harry Potter experience simply isn’t much fun.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether this game carries the spirit of the Harry Potter books and films. Do you think it will appeal to the franchise’s broad fan base? What impact will the game’s repetitive shooting sequences have on young players?
Families can also discuss how the Harry Potter story changes according to the medium used to deliver it. What elements of these sizable books are lost as they are moved to movie theatres and video games? How is the plot altered between formats? How do the characters differ?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release date: November 16, 2010
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: August 30, 2016
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Play
Our Editors Recommend
Harry Potter Games
Harry Potter Online
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate