Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

 
Dark themes handled with a light touch in this 6th game.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game teaches kids about the importance of doing the right thing even though you might be putting yourself in peril. Dumbledore's actions show this theme, as do Harry's.

Positive role models

Harry, Ron, and Hermione are great role models about being good friends. Harry, Dumbledore, and others all make sacrafices for the greater good.

Ease of play

This game is fun but very easy to play. It is set up so that kids and casual players will experience success. While you may have to retry a potion, or play a Quidditch sequence again to win, you will never lose or have to restart a level -- you just keep replaying a section until you win. And if you are struggling through a section, the game adjusts to become easier.

Violence

The fantasy violence is represented as magic spells cast from a wand. The spells can knock you down, suspend you upside down in midair, and freeze or stuns you. You will witness a spell that appears to kill a main character. On one scene you will have to cast magic to keep scary undead characters from crawling out of lake toward you.

Sex

There is a kiss shown between Harry and Ginny. You will hear talk about "snogging" (kissing) and "getting lucky."

Language

There is an occasional use of "hell."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this visually-exciting action adventure game is based on the movie and book of the same name. While the themes in J.K. Rowling's sixth book in the Harry Potter series are darker and more mature than those in the earlier books, this video game does not focus that much on those themes. While kids will fight the Death Eaters at the end of the game, those fights don't seem that frightening because they have been practicing dueling with other kids at Hogwarts throughout the game. Kids will see Harry being kissed. And while the video cutscenes at the end of the game show a main character being hit with a magic spell that causes him to go over the edge of the Astronomy Tower, it happens quickly and then the story moves on.

What's it about?

HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is the sixth Harry Potter game produced by Electronic Arts. This time around, Electronic Arts provides kids with the ability to openly explore a beautifully rendered Hogwarts castle and grounds. The retelling of the story of J.K. Rowling's sixth Harry Potter book is shown through video cutscenes that are triggered by the accomplishment of various tasks. As Harry, you will attend class, help others, practice making potions, go to Quidditch practice and play in matches, and practice dueling. The game culminates with your fighting some Death Eaters. Throughout your castle explorations, you will find Crests to collect which unlock new and bonus content, including the ability to duel with a friend.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a good game for kids and casual gamers who are fans of Harry Potter. Because it is an easy game and relatively short (about 8-10 hours in the story mode), it is not a good fit for video game enthusiasts. Because the story is compacted, it might not make sense to those who have not read the source book or seen the movie on which it is based. It is not as deep as previous games; in this one you will basically be brewing potions, dueling using magic, and flying during Quidditch.

What the game does well is provide realistic animations of all of the actors from the movie – you can even see emotion on the characters' faces. And many of the actors have lent their voice talents to the game including Rupert Grint as Ron and Bonnie Wright as Ginny. The wizard dueling is easier than in earlier games because the controls are more responsive (especially on the Wii) and you can now move Harry while he is casting magic spells. Likewise, the navigation is easier because you always have an option of calling up Nearly Headless Nick (a ghost) to lead you through the castle. We also found that flying on a broomstick had improved from previous games.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why all things Harry Potter are so popular?

  • How can game creators suck you into the game? Is it by presenting an emotionally charged story line? Or do they hook you by presenting fun activities to do. What happened here?

  • Is this game different from the book? From the movie? In what way?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows, Mac, PlayStation 2
Price:$29-$50
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:June 30, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy
ESRB rating:E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes (Mac, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 17 year old Written bylove2 October 6, 2009
age 9+
 

ok game

i got this game for my b day and it was not the best game ever but it was pritty good. kids under 8 wont really understand the game and plus the game is inaproprete for there age. but if your child is 9 this is a good game for them to play with some iffy content. if your child is older than that then this game is ON for them.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Kid, 10 years old February 5, 2011
age 6+
 

Kind of Lame

It's kinda easy to beat. I think it's kinda lame. I'm not a big fan of the game. It's a little violent but not really.
Teen, 16 years old Written bybosbos July 13, 2009
age 16+
 
love it
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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