A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that "charmed skeletons" come to life when their bones are disturbed, but they can be dealt with by casting a spell. The frightening Dementors, the prison guards from Azkaban who can suck out a person's soul, look like the wraiths depicted in the movie: gray-robed creatures that float ominously with only a mouth in their hooded head. The game does a good job of having Harry pass out or else performs the Expecto Patronum spell before the Dementor become too overwhelming.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Kids experience Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry by becoming one of the main characters: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, or Hermione Granger. The story unfolds through a series of video scenes that are nestled among the action that the player controls.
The game is played by accomplishing a series of tasks, including flying Buckbeak the Hippogriff, battling the Monster Book of Monsters, and traversing the Hogwarts castle to make it to classes. These tasks challenge kids to think logically, use quick hand-eye coordination, and apply creativity to puzzle-solving. A large part of the game is spent going to classes and learning spells, but this is not dry bookwork. When characters are taught a new spell, they master it by going on a Spell Challenge.
Is it any good?
Not only will kids have a great time reliving the events in the book, but the spectacular graphics of this game make the world come alive. Water flows, fabrics billow, and the Hogwarts castle is presented in amazing detail as kids turn the camera 360 degrees to view vaulted ceilings or mosaic floors. This PC game is less complicated and easier to play than the console version, making it the ideal choice for families with kids ages 8 and up. The two previous Harry Potter PC games were great, and this one is even better - this game is a fabulous way to continue the magic of going to the movie or reading the book.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how playing out the action in the game compares with reading the book or watching the movie. Do you prefer one format over another -- book, movie, or game? For fans of the book, does the game change your impressions of the original story? Does the game enhance or detract from your appreciation of the Harry Potter books?
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