The two LEGO Harry Potter games proved a fun romp through the story of the seven books and eight films back on the PlayStation 3, and now Traveller's Tales has ported the experience as a complete package to the PlayStation 4. Initially released as Years 1-4 and Years 5-7, the LEGO Harry Potter Collection pulls both games together, which actually significantly improves the overall experience.
The individual games aren't exactly too long on their own, and if you aren't chasing after every single collectible and trying to unlock every playable character, then the story passes by in a flash. But the great thing about both games being combined is that no matter how you play it, you feel like there's a meaty game here to sink your teeth into.
As has become a signature trait of the LEGO games, there are tonnes of things to collect and unlock. Every single level and hub area contains at least one student in peril to save, gold bricks, red bricks, and pieces of the Hogwarts crest to find, as well as new characters which can be collected for purchase in Diagon Alley. It's also incredibly addictive to collect studs in order to make in-game purchases of things like new spells.
The core gameplay is incredibly simple, but is executed to perfection. Most levels see you running around solving puzzles and fixing various objects with your spells, but never does it get old, thanks largely to the humour injected into most situations. The Harry Potter story gets quite dark towards the end, but the way various threads and events are twisted and receive a humours spin keeps you engaged, as the game serves as more than just a beat-for-beat retelling of the events that fans know so well.
Each game is accompanied by the beautiful score of their respective movies, and because there's an enormous number of songs to choose from, the soundtrack never becomes repetitive, which is perfect for a game that has you backtracking through areas numerous times and returning to grab collectibles after you've beaten the story.
As already alluded, there's loads of replayability across both games. In total there are 400 gold bricks, 367 characters, 110 students in peril, 48 completed house crests, and 40 red bricks for you to find. You'll only be able to collect around 50 per cent of these in your initial play through, as you'll need specific characters with different abilities to access new areas and solve certain puzzles.
However, despite being insanely fun and addictive to play, the games are not without their flaws.
Both games have a lack of variety in the boss battles that they serve up. In Years 1-4, the overwhelming majority of boss battles involve you dodging a couple of objects being thrown at you, with the third object able to be volleyed back in the direction from which it came. Do this three times and you'll win the battle. Meanwhile, in Years 5-7, the title goes overboard with a new duelling minigame, which is laughably easy and used in tandem with the boss battles from Years 1-4.
Getting into position to pick up the right object with Wingardium Leviosa is also always frustratingly difficult. The mechanic's so fickle most of the time, and you often need to be in a pixel perfect position for the game to recognise which object you want to have control over. On a similar note, the automatic spell targeting is pretty rough in the first game, and it feels like it gets significantly worse in the second game.
The LEGO Harry Potter Collection is just as good, if not better, than it was back on the PlayStation 3. Having both games bundled in a collection makes it feel like you're playing one lengthy game rather than two relatively short ones. There are still a few niggling mechanical issues present and the boss battles are disappointing, however fans of both Harry Potter and the LEGO games will find something to enjoy here.