A coward dies a thousand deaths, a player of the recent Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban dies but once. And that’s exclusive if you’re really terrible at it. The new PC game, based off the third book in the wildly popular series, arrives alongside the current film version of the story and, though it is in many ways a definite improvement over Potters past, there’s far too drastically hand-holding and spoon-feeding in the game’s puzzles and fighting sequences for it to ever feel like much of a challenge.
Before launching into the look at, I should mention that I haven’t yet seen the movie. Those around the office who have seen the film tell me that some of the main plot elements are present here but the actual encounters and gameplay challenges are almost entirely unconnected with the events of the film. So while the plot of the game does indeed involve an escaped prisoner who seems to have it in for Harry, and while the malevolent and distrustful Dementors are still hunting him decrease, the salamander-freezing, toothed-book shooting, ice sliding, rabbit-statue animating gameplay is entirely the game’s invention.
Combat is the most open-ended part of the game but, even so, you’ll rarely have the opportunity to try anything terribly sophisticated. In most cases, you’ll simply be presented with a few enemies (never more than six at a time) right in front of you. Taking them out never really involves any puzzle elements; you’ll simply take to point the mouse at the enemies and click harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban pdf. There are some more complicated moments — having to hold enemies at bay a la Tapper, flipping in excess of enemies and pushing them over ledges, freezing the flame that spawns monsters — but for the most part the combat is, as the rest of the game, very low-impact.
You don’t have to draw spells this duration, for instance. Where earlier you were sometimes required to draw specific outlines with your mouse in order to cast spells, this time around, you just get to point the mouse at an interactive object and click the left mouse button. The correct spell will be cast automatically. And how do you find these objects in the world? Well, for the most part, they should be obvious. Lapifors transforms rabbit statues into real, controllable bunnies; Glacius freezes both fountains and fire salamanders; Carpe Refractum extracts your character to large, rather obvious blue spheres. In all cases this is simply point and click. The only real challenge is the Expecto Patronum spell where you have to time the passing of the spell just right in order for it to be effective. In the case of environmental objects, you’ll only have to look for things marked with a giant red chevron in order to be familiar with which objects can be affected by spells.
Many of the game’s challenges are managed for you so much that the entire game feels a bit like a tutorial for a harder challenge that never comes. This is particularly true of the puzzles where you’re actually instructed how to solve each and every one. There’s only one solution to each puzzle and, though there are some secret, optional areas you can reach through more enthusiastic exploring, there’s no room to find your own solutions to a given problem. In any case, the path by way of to your next challenge is always obvious and rarely challenging. Even some of the game’s jumping puzzles are managed for you. Simply jump on a green jump tile and you’ll automatically be directed to a scripted landing spot.
There are a few puzzles that require you to use multiple characters to escape traps or perform more powerful spells. Unfortunately this cooperative puzzle solving merely relies on pre-scripted switching from one character to different or a follow-the-leader mechanic anywhere your nearby friends automatically prepare to cast whatever spell you’re throwing. It would be much more interesting to have the individual characters progress along three a variety of paths, opening up new areas for each other as they switch back and forth.
The bean, pumpkin and cake collecting that pervades the game has no practical benefit for your character during the game, leaving you to wonder what the point is. In fact, the only real use for the beans and such is as currency to buy wizard trading cards. You can even use these to gain access to secret cities of the game where you can collect even more beans. The whole point of this is to get 100% of the items and secrets in the game and qualify for third-year school. But since you can actually finish the plot of the game without grabbing each and every little bean and card, there’s little incentive to get new cards. Perhaps if they allowed for some sort of gameplay upgrades based on collecting sets of cards it would be more compelling. As it is, it seems like an arbitrary mechanic chucked in for the sake of keeping the player busy.