'Harry Potter for Kinect'
Warner Bros. Interactive
Microsoft Xbox 360
ESRB rating: E10
Review rating: 2.5 stars
For me, watching "Harry Potter" movies is a magical experience full of merriment and wonder, the same thing Microsoft claimed their Kinect peripheral would deliver. Unfortunately, playing Kinect games is more frustrating than fun, especially when it's a mini-game compilation. Too bad the creators of "Harry Potter for Kinect" haven't realized this yet.
This title offers more than thirty levels that are the highlights of all eight movies, but nearly every level plays differently. For example, some levels have players flying around in Quidditch matches, while others let potential apothecaries mix potions or engage in wizard duels. Since most levels don't offer much explanation of previous events, anyone who isn't familiar with the series simply won't understand what's happening.
Unlike many Kinect games, the motions controls are pretty responsive in "Harry Potter for Kinect." I suspect that this is a result of the incredibly simplistic nature of each level, which amounts to little more than frantically waving hands in the air to toss spells or dodging to the side to avoid projectiles. Not surprisingly, some movements aren't accurately reflected in the game.
One standout feature is the ability to scan my face and create a custom wizard-in-training that looks like me. Since this title is aimed at youngsters, I'm sure they will love being able to "jump" into the world of Hogwarts. So much so, in fact, that they will ignore how creepy their likeness appears.
I appreciate the high production values that make each character resemble their film counterpart, but the animations are a bit stiff. However, Hogwarts and other levels are accurately modeled after the movie and this helps immerse players into the mystical realm of Harry Potter.
"Harry Potter for Kinect" will more than likely please youngsters, but older gamers will be disappointed.