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PS2 Reviews: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets screenshots


The Final Say!


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets -  reviewed by Andrew B 
Review Date: 10 December 2002
Review Score 8.5/10
Distributed By: Electronic Arts

Harry Potter is one of the world's most recognisable boys and considering that he is not part of royalty or real, is quite a feat in itself. The latest game to grace the PlayStation 2 is called Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and is based on the second book by J.K. Rowling. The game was originally developed for the Xbox and soon found itself on the Gamecube and then the PlayStation 2 but the good news for gamers is that the versions are almost identical in graphics and gameplay. 

You play the role of Harry Potter, a young wizard who is destined to become the world's greatest wizard. Unfortunately for Harry, his past is steeped in mystery and when his parents were killed by an evil wizard, Harry somehow managed to defeat the wizard while he was baby with only a scar to show. Years have passed since then and Harry Potter is now at his second year at Hogwarts, the school of wizardry and is learning how to become a wizard. 

The game revolves around Harry Potter and his friends, Ron and Hermione and this trio must somehow close the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts before the muggles (children born to non-magic parents) of the school are killed by this terrible and dark secret. 

The development team at Electronic Arts have done an amazing job at recreating the game from the movie and the book with everything having a very accurate feel to it. The main premise behind Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is an adventure game where the player must learn new spells, find items and solve various quests in order to complete the game. 

Apart from the main quest of closing the Chamber of Secrets, there are various mini-quests littered around the game that is sure to entertain. The world of Harry Potter, especially Hogwarts has been faithfully recreated in glorious 3D and pays homage to the original books. A normal day for Harry involves learning new spells at Hogwarts and performing various challenges and puzzles in order for him to receive the spell. Every now and then Harry will also compete in a Quidditch match which is quite exhilarating. 

Being a game based on magic, there are dozens of different spells that you can use in the game, these range from light, destroy, transform and repel spells to name a few. One of the most graphically impressive spells is the spell that lets you transform small objects into birds. Once you have a mastered a particular spell in the game, you will be allowed to progress to new areas in Hogwarts that will eventually lead you to the confrontation with Tom Riddle. 

The control system of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is extremely easy to learn and playing will soon become second nature to you. You basically use the analog stick to move Harry Potter throughout the gaming environment, X is used as an action button, L1 and R1 are used for camera angles and the remaining buttons on the control, Circle, Square and Triangle are used for your spells in the game. Harry Potter can perform a variety of functions in the game such as running, sneaking and even flying on the Nimbus 2000.

Graphically, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a beautiful game with amazing and colourful textures that really give you a sense of wonder. All the characters are extremely well animated and look like their real-world counterparts. The most impressive area in the game is Hogwarts and features all the ghosts, paintings, doors and stairways from the movies. There are also a variety of different special effects in the game from amazing lighting effects to some brilliant mirror and transparency effects.  Unfortunately, there is an expense for this feature and the loading times of the game are quite slow on some stages of the game. Although this could be linked to poor programming, I believe its the "CD" disc itself and have noticed that non-DVD discs (purple CD's) are quite slow to load on the PlayStation 2. Apart from the loading times, the game does "chug" every now and then and suffers from some unacceptable frame rates. Fortunately the well thought out gameplay, storyline and graphics will keep even the most fussy of gamers amused. 

The music score of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets helps portray a majestic world of mystery and darkness and really suits the game. The game is littered with tons of voice acting that is extremely professional, unfortunately not from the actors themselves but close to enough to almost make you feel like it's them. There are various sound effects and background noises to help transform you into the world of Harry Potter. 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is probably one of the best adventure games to hit the PlayStation2 in a long time and I would recommend this to all Harry Potter fans, even gamers who love a decent adventure game. The game does suffer from a few problems that really should of been fixed before releasing the title but can be overlooked because of just how good and accurate this game really is. The game itself is aimed at younger games and if you are in need of a quick Christmas present, then Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is for you. Highly Recommended!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2001 www.impulsegamer.com