There is a moment when playing Harry Potter Kinect, the “fun-filled family adventure with Hermione and her two tag-alongs”, when I begin to doubt the existence of myself. Or justice. Thankfully, that will always be the truth that saves us, be it a post-apocalyptic future with giant mutated roaches or Jersey Shore.
That’s because the entire experience has taken the most rudimentary ingredient of Kinect games – distilling the experience to allow for a more accessible gaming experience – to the extreme. It’s taken it to a point where it feels hollow and juxtaposed for the sake of filling gaps.
Rather than actually exploring a world map or traversing halls, you meander from one mini-game to the next, seemingly with little purpose or relevance except for the fact that maybe this was a scene in the movie or something. Did they mix potions? Let’s mix some potions. Did they do shit with plants? Let’s do some planting. Brooms? Check. Spells? Check. Excitement? What’s that?
It must be really cool to flick your wand and see that magical spell take flight. Or even deflect spells like some sort of ethereal Jedi. However, when you realize how rote and slow as molasses it all is, you’ll be left standing around, shamefully trying to extract joy from this game like so many drug dealers extract money from errant customers (only with much less success). That there are 31 mini-games overall is amazing because each one felt like the same boring mechanics coming into play again and again and again.
Whether you’re picking this up for kids or want to experience the pleasure of riding on brooms for yourself – which is always a noble pursuit, no matter what age group you belong to – Harry Potter Kinect is not the place. It’s not even remotely the place to be near. There is virtually nothing about the experience that says “must play” or anything that adding more people could fix a la Kinect Sports. Avoid at all costs, and try to convince yourself, retreating into a corner like Isaac Clarke, that it’s all just one really bad dream.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Boring gameplay, boring progression, boring controls, boring action.