Seven months. That’s how much extra time EA Bright Light has had to tweak and polish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince after its release date was pushed back thanks to the movie’s theatrical slippage. The time could have been spent perfecting one of the most valuable game licenses. Instead it seems as though Harry and company were dumped in the Vanishing Cabinet since the game’s completion last year and left to gather cobwebs. Draco would be proud.
Like most family games of late Half-Blood Prince suffers from catastrophic Wii syndrome. The game’s clearly been designed with the waggle stick in mind. From the awkward potion mixing lessons to the wand-waving duels, every action would work better with a motion controller.
The problematic camera highlights the issue perfectly. In a sane world, camera wobbles would be corrected with a flick of the “look” controls, but thanks to some thoughtless control patching, this merely waves Harry’s magical fleshlight about.
But it’s the giant step backwards from Order of the Phoenix which offends the most. Bastardised controls we can half accept; inferior versions of the last game’s features are a little harder to swallow. Half-Blood Prince boasts none of the story progression of before – choosing instead to edit out key scenes in ways which would confuse even J.K. – and it’s so reliant on its three main minigames that there’s little room for any other content.