The Lego series of games hit a saturation point of sameness around the time Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 came out. While it was differentiated by the various spells and assorted teammates it didn’t stand out and I felt it had a number of serious flaws. A couple of years later we now have the final game (until an inevitable repackage of the two happens) that focuses on the final three years (and four movies) of the series. I am happy to say that Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is a far superior game to the original and while it still has some flaws it is a fun game for all ages.
Much like the original game Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 follows the movie plots pretty closely and has you running through the scenarios from those films as if they are individual games. You start in Harry’s 5th year (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) in the schoolyard near his home in the Muggle world. While Dudley is causing trouble for him they are attacked by Dementors and Harry defends himself with magic kicking off the trial scene from the movie. I won’t dig into the story too much as everyone knows the movies/books by now and knows what happens. The point is that this game sticks very closely to the movies events and fleshes them out with the adventure aspects in the game.
There is a strong exploration aspect to this series and this game in particular has you exploring London and Hogwarts extensively. The Hogwarts castle, Diagon Alley and a street in London are accessible pretty much anytime and that leads to one of my few problems with the series, no fast travel options. Exploring the sprawling Hogwarts is interesting at first but becomes a tedious chore when you have to walk from one end of the castle to the other in between each mission. Adding to the travel fatigue is the trips to Diagon Alley to obtain the bonus features like buying characters, spell variations and red brick extras. I have to hope that Traveller’s Tales can look at this one last flaw of their games and make it easier to get places and unlock extras. As it stands I barely unlocked anything and ended the game with millions of studs remaining unused.