DS Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…

The Wii version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was disappointingly average, a step back for the gaming license. Can the DS touch screen add some magic of its own or is it another wasted opportunity?

Unfortunately in this case, it’s the latter. It’s frustrating on so many levels, not to mention tedious to play. I’m not saying this because I’m no fan of Harry’s, but because the game is a mess. The touch-screen is used for moving Harry around, tapping items and characters. It’s also used for mini-games, which the game is mostly made up of…but they have to be some of the worst I’ve ever come across.
The first game you come across is a version of Quidditch in which you chase the ball by dragging the stylus to move your character. Once you have it, you move the character to the top of the screen and double tap to shoot at the goal. The problem is that the game itself looks horrible; it’s nothing more than a blur of dated pixels. Not only that, but the game itself is no challenge…the only challenge is staying awake while playing it.

I hate it when a game turns out like this. When I see the DS, I see so many wasted chances for games that failed before they even begun development. Sadly, this is what has happened to this version of Harry Potter. It’s obvious it wasn’t the team’s biggest priority; it lacks anything to make it seem special. On both the presentation and gameplay front, Half-Blood Prince falls at the first fence. Oh, why do they keep making these games if they don’t intend on putting any effort into them? How could a game this boring and disappointing be allowed to ship with the license. I’d have rather they kept the game away until they tested it till it was deemed enjoyable.
The game is nothing more than a mixture of mini-games and dull game mechanics that are incredibly dated. There’s no multiplayer of any kind, which is a small blessing. I have to be frank; I don’t think I’ve ever been more bored playing a game then when I was playing the DS version of Half-Blood Prince. Sure, the Wii version was flawed, but I’d rather play that for eternity than endure more than 10 minutes of the DS version…it’s that bad.

Don’t expect high production values for this version, there aren’t any. No voice-acting, even the main theme sounds odd on the DS. The visuals are just awful, pixelated ugliness that makes my DSi want to cry in shame.

The Verdict

I think I’ve made myself quite clear already, but here’s a quick summary: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for DS is one of the most tedious and disappointing games that I’ve had the misfortune to play. I only hope the team learns from their mistakes for future DS outings, I’d hate for history to keep repeating itself…