The plot essentially culminates in the search for Voldemort's soul via Horcruxes. If you're unfamiliar with the book's plot then you're going to find The Half-Blood Prince pretty incomprehensible. We read the Harry Potter books at the time of release and still had a tough time fleshing out the plot based on memory as the game gives you few clues. The cutscenes are short and sporadic and do a disappointing job of telling the story.
All in all Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince will take about six hours to complete, however fans will want to spend much more time exploring the interactive world of Hogwarts.
As a Potter fan there's a good chance you will understand the Half-Blood Prince's plot and as such will not be concerned by the game's poor storytelling. Rather, Potter fans will probably get the most entertainment out of the Hogwarts setting itself. The game world is lovingly crafted into a pseudo-open world where players can interact with and explore most areas of the wizarding school. Nearly-Headless Nick acts as a GPS system directing you around the grounds should you require it, but fans will have the most fun just wandering and seeing what references to the novels they can find. It's a detailed, interesting and above-all refreshing game world regardless of whether you're a Potter fan or not.
Sharing the same music score as the Potter movies, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince is really brought to life by some excellent composition.
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince will have you involved in a number of wizarding tasks. Quidditch returns and looks superb. Essentially Quidditch takes place as an on-rails flying game where you pass through stars to get closer to the Snitch. It's hardly rocket-science gameplay but it controls smooth and looks great, giving a real sense of speed. The potions mechanic is probably the most clever addition. Here you'll be given recipes and asked to concoct cauldrons of magical liquid. You can stir the ingredients by spinning the right stick or heat the pot by flicking the right stick back and forth. It's a clever mechanic, and while it is repeated a little too often, is rather fun on the whole. The final mechanic is the duelling mechanic, which can be played in multiplayer. Spells are cast with the right stick with the action taking an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. Performing spells can be a bit hit or miss due to the analogue stick control but it's quite rewarding when you land a series of attacks as intended.
Whilst displaying a degree of likeness to their real-life counterparts, the character models used in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince display eerie property that we can't quite put our fingers on. The animation is basic and the eyes seem to gaze frighteningly. The scary character models are compounded by some vacant voice acting.
Despite trying to offer replay incentive through the means of collectable objects and score challenge Quidditch/duelling/potions challenges, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince will fail to occupy even the most ardent of Harry Potter fan for longer than 10 hours or so.
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince does not successfully recreate the tale of the book. Flitting cutscenes and sporadic plot references only serve to frustrate the player and unless you're aware of the fiction you'll only find nothing but nonsense in this game.
Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince serves as excellent fan service to anyone with a flitting interest in the Harry Potter universe. The brief campaign and weak story telling may disappoint those who aren't hardcore fans however.