Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Written by Dan Boaden

July 8, 2007 | 17:40

Tags: #boaden #harry #multiplatform #phoenix #ron

Companies: #ea #game

Publisher: Electronic Arts
UK Price (as reviewed): £24.99 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $17.99 (ex. Tax)


When offered Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to review on PC, I was rather sceptical about how much enjoyment I may be able to salvage from the rest of the afternoon.

I hasten to add that I haven’t played any of the previous Harry Potter games, due mainly to not possessing any interest in solving infuriatingly simplistic puzzles with a haughty schoolgirl and a dim-witted, ginger-haired boy as sidekicks. Additionally, although several adults delve into the world of Hogwarts and wizardry, this game, along with all the previous Harry Potter games, always appeared to primarily appeal to a much younger demographic.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix appears to offer plenty, including ‘Immersive environments and magic; next-generation graphics and configurable controls and the ability to relive the magic of the movie.’

Gee, even the marketing blurb is dull.

I wanted to give Harry and Co. a fair chance though, so I cleared my mind of all cynicism beforehand and prepared to fight Lord Voldemort with all my might and cunning.

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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Harry Plotter

A short opening sequence depicting an altercation between Harry and Dudley is quickly interrupted by the introduction of two Dementors which cause Dudley to curl in a ball on the floor and leaving you to control Harry and fight off the encroaching daemons.

At this point you are introduced to how the process of spell casting is managed on the PC; a rather clumsy method of moving the mouse around as fast as you can in a circulating motion. After completing the task and banishing the Dementors, another clip sequence follows which attempts to inject a bit of humour into the game using a pun on Harry’s name, but fails miserably. Hardly the most side-splitting of puns, it left my optimism shattered on the floor.

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
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The first noticeable fact about this game is that it is impossible to skip the cut sequences of dialogue between the characters, leaving you with no other option but to sit and listen to depressingly long and dull conversations. This is something even the most n00bish game developers would regard as a cardinal sin.

These long cut scenes, often featuring dialogues between Harry and his peers appear to be a common factor running throughout the game and, when coupled with the little amount of action and the huge amount of running around Hogwarts, it makes the first few hours of gameplay come across as incredibly tedious.

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Click to enlarge

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