Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (GameCube) Review

By James Temperton 09.11.2005

He's back, and just in time for the festive season. We're not about to lie to you, we don't object to Harry Potter too much. The books and films are both great fun, but something seems to go a bit wrong when we boot up a game featuring the bespectacled Boy Who Lived. Namely, they have all been a bit naff. Thankfully, EA have been throwing a lot of money and personnel at the problem with an aim to fixing it. Have they succeeded? Read on...

The Harry Potter videogame series has very much followed the tried and tested formula of games like Zelda and over sprawling magical titles. This game is full of action, full of event and full of fun, but we can't help but feel like it is a bit simple at times. Whilst previous titles have featured quite sophisticated gameplay, here everything seems to be very easy and a lot more simplistic. If this is simply a technique employed to ensure that the tedious, boring and laborious aspects found in previous games make a swift exit in this iteration then we can understand it, but we can't help but be cynical. Harry Potter = kids.

One of the best aspects of this game is the closeness it retains to the book. It is clear that a lot of work has been done to ensure that the book is followed properly and that everything is done to a very high standard. EA have done a lot of work to recreate the cinematic drama of the books and inevitably the film, following the more sinister and dark nature of Rowling's work. The game is structured into a very complex but easy to understand narrative with gameplay sections intertwined with some lovely in-game movie sequences. Refreshingly, the game (just like the book and the film) has its own unique identity and style. Whilst it remains true to the story and themes of the book, it presents it all in a new and entertaining way.

Screenshot for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on GameCube

A lot of gameplay tweaks have taken place to ensure that this game is an altogether more polished package than previous Potter titles. Whilst the ability to roam free around Hogwarts has been removed, it has been replaced with increased detail and graphical splendour. Admittedly this does make the game a lot more linear and less expansive, but the graphical aspects look so much more detailed and vibrant and the magic comes alive like never before. Before long you will forget all about the fun times you had wandering about the glitch-ridden colourless grounds of Hogwarts'...

The game is far from original however. It steals the basic gameplay formulas that have been in use for years now and adds in a few spells and characters for good measure. You can select from any of the three main character's from the book (Harry, Ron and Hermione) and play each level with the character of your choice. For most of the game the computer controls the other two as you wend your linear path through the game towards its conclusion. Its simplistic, its often quite rigid; but it is strangely good fun!

Screenshot for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on GameCube

Fighting and moving about the levels fluidly is great fun and very easy to do, but the camera often lets the gameplay down by failing to catch up with the action quickly enough, and there is no way to move the sodding thing. Where the game really excels though is in its use of spells. There is a whole plethora of different incantations on offer here for you to enjoy, and boy are they enjoyable. EA have really gone to down on the VFX here. Each spell looks...well, magic! The use of particle effects and vibrant, glowing colours really make the game exciting to play. Sadly, the game removes any chance of you experimenting as the spells are situation sensitive. You can only do a spell when the computer lets you, meaning setting fire to random people is out of the question...sadly.

The positive side of the very linear gameplay is that everything moves along at a much quicker pace. The action is more intense and more structured and there is always something to do or go and do. This simplification might be for the sole purpose of appealing to the demographic (kids) but there is no denying it makes for a more cohesive and well-put together game.

Screenshot for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on GameCube

EA have however shot themselves in the foot a bit. At times the game is sluggish and confusing, even boring, as it insists on doing the same monotonous things over and over again. The character AI does little to inspire as well. To put it bluntly, they are fricking dumb. If you are controller Harry your ginger and bossy mates will buzz about, get in the way and generally cause you annoyance. In a game that tries to look as cinematic and stunning as possible, this is a massive oversight.

The levels however, were not overlooked. They are huge, impressively detailed and all have a unique style and feel to them. All the areas from the book are here and EA have ensured that some of the most fun aspects of the narrative are given focus in the game. The Forbidden Forests and the World Cup Campsite (where you start the game) are two very good ones. The game concludes with the Triwizard Tournament, and as in the book and film, this is a real treat. Some new elements and twists are introduced to bump up the excitement levels and the whole game ends in a real high.

Screenshot for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

We weren't expecting much, but this game has really delivered a decent and fun adventure. Yes it is formulaic and tedious at times, but there are some aspects of it that are really good fun. It sticks to the storyline well and is beautifully crafted with cinematic and graphical effects. Potters fans will love it and rightly so.

Developer

EA

Publisher

EA

Genre

Adventure

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (14 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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