Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is a third-person shooter game that substitutes wands and magic for guns and bullets. There is no blood or gore, and very few characters truly die, but players will nonetheless defeat and make disappear hundreds of enemies while casting spells in much the same way shooters see players dispatching foes with guns. Parents should also note that, as a promotional tie-in with the new film of the same name, this games feeds into the cycle of merchandising surrounding J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular franchise.
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What's it about?
The obligatory interactive spin-off of the final film in one of the biggest movie franchises in history, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 is a magic-themed third-person shooter that closely follows the story of the final film. Players get to control several of the series’ most popular protagonists -- including Harry, Hermione, Ron, Professor McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, and even Seamus Finnigan -- as they work through familiar events that range from a trek through Hogsmeade to the final showdown with arch-villain Voldemort. Our protagonists’ repertoire of magic quickly grows throughout the game to include a variety of recognizable offensive spells including the weak but speedy \"stupefy\" and the much more powerful (but slower to charge) explosive spell \"confringo.\" Story missions can also be played outside of the campaign in the form of challenge levels, which see players attempting to complete objectives as quickly as possible.
Is it any good?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 loses some of the broad appeal enjoyed by other installments in the series by focusing almost solely on frenetic action and fast-paced shooting. Earlier entries had players solving puzzles and working through platform-style challenges, but this game is simply about shooting spells at enemies, taking cover when necessary, and slowly advancing toward objectives. The magic of J.K. Rowling’s franchise is lost.
And while the controls feel fine and everything looks okay -- dynamic lighting effects allow individual sparks from spells like "expulso" to each act as a source of illumination as they twirl down dark, murky caverns -- there's just not a lot here. The campaign can easily be completed in a day, and the only reason to replay the game is to find any collectibles you may have missed the first time through. Even die-hard Harry Potter fans are likely to be disappointed by this one. Gamers would do better to wait for the upcoming Lego Harry Potter sequel.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Do you view this game the same way you would a typical third-person shooter? How does it differ from other shooters, and do these differences significantly change the tone of the game?
Families can also discuss the depiction of love in games. Do you feel the same kind of emotions while watching romantic scenes in games that you do when viewing romantic moments in films? How do game romances feel different than those seen in other forms of media, and why are they different?
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