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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - hands-on

When we first learned how the Wii remote worked, our geeky minds immediately cooked up two wonderful, wish fulfilling uses for it. The first, of course, was a light saber. But while we're still waiting anxiously on that one, our second idea became a reality last night.

A magic wand. Yes, while Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is coming out this summer on almost every platform imaginable, only the Wii version gives you the opportunity to physically cast spells just like the characters in the movie. And, based on our hands-on time with the game, that extra level of immersion really makes a difference.



Above: This is a current gen screen. The Wii version does not look this bad

We tested our skills on a couple of stone benches in the Hogwarts front courtyard. A quick pull of the remote's trigger button and Harry had drawn his wand. Whatever object in your environment is highlighted with a sparkling glow is the one the spell will work on; to rotate through available targets, all we had to do was pull the trigger again. Everything from that point on was completely motion-based and surprisingly, enjoyably intuitive.

For example, if we wanted to bring the bench closer to us, we didn't have to choose anything from a menu or select the appropriate button. All we had to do was flick the remote towards us. Harry would mimic our gesture and - "Accio!" - the bench would shoot towards us as well. Just like magic. Flick the remote wand away from you and - "Flipendo!" - the bench is soaring to the other side of the courtyard. And by lifting up both the remote and the Nunchuk together, the bench would soar into the air, hovering. We could then move the two controllers around in tandem to relocate the floating and spinning object wherever we wanted.

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