A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5–7 covers the darker and more violent last half of the Harry Potter saga. While the game's focus feels more on the side of puzzle-solving and exploration than it does on fighting, there are still plenty of wand-zapping wizard battles taking place throughout. Keep in mind, though, that all the characters are portrayed by plastic-looking LEGO mini-figures and that pretty much everything -- even the deaths of major characters -- gets a dose of humor added to it here. That being said, there are still some scary moments, including an extended boss battle against a rather frightening dragon made of fire.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 covers the plot territory of the final four Harry Potter films: Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows Parts I & II. Colorful LEGO mini-figures act out retellings of the evil Lord Voldemort's return to power and the resistance movement against him by heroic students of Hogwarts.
The game is linear, where you start in Harry Potter's fifth year and you can't access the next year until you've completed the one before it. Players will attend classes at Hogwarts to learn magic, practice dueling, and solve hundreds of environmental puzzles. There are also many things to collect, including LEGO studs, students in peril, crests, items to help others, and more. Each movie is represented in 6 levels, and when you've completed a level, it becomes available for replay in an open play mode.
Is it any good?
All the LEGO video games have been graced by great humor, creative level design, and the sheer joy that comes from collecting tons of unlockable characters. But what makes LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5–7 a real standout is the parts of the Harry Potter story that the developers decided to dramatize. They could have gone for a blast-heavy shoot-em-up (like LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars), but opted to put the focus on exploration and puzzle solving. In a game that depicts the final four Harry Potter films, you might not have expected levels where the goal is to explore Professor Snape's childhood memories or convince Horace Slughorn to come out of retirement and become a teacher again. But those levels are incredibly fun and fresh-feeling -- perhaps even more so than the (admittedly also great) levels devoted to the Battle of Hogwarts. There's so much to experience here, that the only real complaint is that you can't save your game mid-level -- so before you start a new play session, make sure you've got the time to work your way through to the next autosave spot.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in the game. Does the fighting and death in the game have less of an impact because it is depicted with LEGO toys?
Does the humor help to alleviate some of the darker and more frightening aspects of the story?
Parents can also talk to kids about marketing synergy and product placement. Does playing this game make you want to buy LEGO Harry Potter toys?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, work to achieve goals
Collaboration: group projects, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: logic, problem solving, solving puzzles
- Price: $29.99-$49.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Warner Bros. Games
- Release date: November 11, 2011
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief
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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.