LEGO Harry Potter Collection Review
Relive the classic adventure in LEGO form, this time on-the-go.
No matter what your particular fandom is, there’s certainly a LEGO game out there for you. Whether it’s Star Wars, Marvel, DC, or the Powerpuff Girls that you love, you can find some LEGO title that fits that niche. Of course, with the company offering so many fresh titles every year, their older library often sits unappreciated. Thankfully TT Games has made sure to issue remasters of some old favorites, as is the case with the recently released LEGO Harry Potter Collection on Xbox One and Switch.
Available on PS4 since 2016, the collection makes a late arrival on Microsoft and Nintendo’s platform. Everything is included here though, so while the wait may have been hard, the reward is just as great. What is that reward? The LEGO Harry Potter Collection combines both major releases for this franchise. LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Years 5-7 were originally released as two separate games, splitting the two eras of Harry Potter storytelling into larger chunks of gameplay.
Everything here is exactly what players have come to expect out of these LEGO mashups. People aren’t buying these for a faithful retelling of their favorite story. Instead the game gives you the highlights, hitting key moments from the films, while making everything feel more lighthearted and fun. Jokes are mixed in, especially sight gags and the general oddness of seeing these events play out in LEGO form. Each of the two games covers lots of ground within the series, hitting all the key moments you would expect, while also letting you explore every area of the Harry Potter world to your hearts content.
Everything here is exactly what players have come to expect out of these LEGO mashups.
Explore is the main thing you’ll be doing with LEGO Harry Potter Collection, as the games aren’t really built as action-packed, adrenaline rushes. Levels usually consist of a few setpieces that have a main goal that moves you to the next one. The real fun though is in looking at every nook and cranny of these levels, both for their entertaining elements, but also because that’s where the glorious bits are hiding. Collect LEGO bits as currency and as special unlockables, and you’ll be able to collect more bit using the characters and powers they make available. It’s an endless cycle that fans have come to expect and love, and LEGO Harry Potter Collection is a glorious example of the formula.
Have newer LEGO games improved on what was crafted here? Sure, but they aren’t covered in the fantastic trappings of the Harry Potter universe. This game is one of the earlier entries, so it skips the more authentic voice overs and robust gameplay elements from newer installments. But for diehard fans that are either looking for a new LEGO adventure or the ability to relive these classic ones, the LEGO Harry Potter Collection fits the bill perfectly.
Both games have been updated in subtle ways over their previous-generation counterparts. Graphics and lighting have been improved, but not a ton else was touched. Don’t expect enhanced gameplay, for example, which is unfortunate in some respects. The Switch would have offered some really cool motion controls, if nothing else. While these omissions are unfortunate, the games didn’t need them originally and don’t need them now. It just would have been a nice change to include, and would have helped make this collection more worthwhile for those who’ve already explored every level ad nauseum.
But we shouldn’t dwell on what’s not included in the LEGO Harry Potter Collection, because what it does include is a ridiculous amount of content and gameplay. Each of these games already offered a lot for fans to dig through, covering four movies a piece. Pretty much any area or character you can think of from Harry Potter is represented here, often offering their own spell or power that allows you to unlock even more characters or areas of the levels. Just playing through each game once isn’t enough to see and do everything, meaning if you’re a big fan you look to get dozens or hundreds of hours out of each of these two games.
Of course, if LEGO Harry Potter’s particular strain of collectible magic doesn’t work on you then these games will be a chore. As you play through the game you will run across objects you can’t interact with. This is because you have to unlock the particular character who can and come back. Replaying levels to wring every last drop of content (read: LEGO pieces) out of them can be exhilarating for many, but if that’s not for you then you lose a lot of what makes these games work so well.
Other aspects of the original design hold this back from being a truly updated game as well. The controls were crafted in 2010 and feel very much like it. The visuals are improved, but still struggle to match even their LEGO contemporaries. The games look a bit better on PS4 and Xbox One, as compared to Switch, but noone will look to this re-release as a marvel of modern graphics.
What the Switch version does offer, as per usual, is portability. This is obviously great if you want to take the game on-the-go, but nothing has been done to tailor for this experience. Auto-save points are a bit too spread out, meaning you usually have to finish a whole level in one sitting. If you often pause your game for long stretches of time, risking the battery draining to 0%, you might want to pay close attention to when the game saves before putting your Switch to sleep.
The LEGO Harry Potter Collection is exactly what you’d expect out of a bundle like this. Tons of content is available to play through, all fitting into the niche that TT Games has established for their LEGO franchise titles. Players will get a fun, lighthearted retelling of their favorite movies, all with a LEGO makeover layered on top. The gameplay is all about repetition, collecting, and replay. If you’ve been a fan in the past, this game fits perfectly with that formula, with these representing some of the best the franchise has had to offer.
LEGO Harry Potter Collection
- Available On: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
- Published By: WB Games
- Developed By: TT Games
- Genre: Action-Adventure
- US Release Date: October 30th, 2018
- Reviewed On: Switch
- Quote: "Tons of content is available to play through, all fitting into the niche that TT Games has established for their LEGO franchise titles. Players will get a fun, lighthearted retelling of their favorite movies, all with a LEGO makeover layered on top."