Hogwarts has Changed

Earlier this year I suggested:

“It is testament to the appeal of the Lego games Traveller’s Tales series that Assassin’s Creed III has sat largely unplayed since I bought it in November, whereas Lego Lord of the Rings was snatched up from a second-hand shop for almost half the price of the other game and completed to 100% (with only a little help from walkthroughs for the last 10%) within a ten-day period.”

That was in February. A lot has happened between then and now, but one thing remains true. Assassin’s Creed III still languishes in a drawer having seen very little extra action since I last mentioned it, while meanwhile I jump on Lego games with all the gusto of an over-sexed Labrador on a visitor’s leg. This time it was LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 which I gobbled up in an OCD frenzy over an intense five-day period of on and off gaming.

Having played Potter Years 1-4 it was helpful to already be familiar with the game mechanics and I quickly breezed through the Story Mode with little effort safe in the knowledge that all the stuff I couldn’t seem to do would be available to me in Free Play when I collected enough character studs. That said I did find it rather easy to pick up the 2x and 4x stud multiplier Red Bricks and so was surprisingly stud-wealthy by the end of the Story Mode play. It also helps that Extras can be enabled in Story Mode – making True Wizard status (collecting enough studs per level) easily achievable.

The only major difference I could see in terms of game play compared to Years 1-4 are that you get involved in spell battles with other wizards, including him who shall not be named at the end of the game. At least I can’t remember the spell battles in the previous game. I think the mechanics are rigged to give you a good chance of winning the battle if you are down to one heart and apart from losing sensation in my thumb at one point I found it quite easy to win each battle I was faced with. It is a kid’s game after all.

Free Play is always more enjoyable and I rose to the challenge of getting 100% completion with zeal. I think I got roughly 83% complete including the Bonus Level without any reference to walkthrough on t’internet. The Bonus Levels in Lego games are usually a complete pain in the proverbial taking at least twenty minutes to complete and leaving you scrabbling around trying to find 200 studs somewhere to get the million required. The Bonus level in Years 5-7 is a piece of piss to complete; I did it in one sitting and even though I shouted at the screen when a train laden with lots of gold, blue and maybe even a purple stud disappeared down a tunnel beyond my reach (no stud magnet or any other extras for that matter on the Bonus level) I found stud-generating flowers or toadstools popping up in green areas as I wandered around looking for shit to smash up.

Some of the character studs are hidden quite well and it was only when I got the Character Stud Detector extra that I managed to locate them all. I also had to refer to a map someone has knocked up in PDF form on t’internet because I kept getting lost in Hogwarts. Once 100% status was achieved and I bathed in the golden shower of studs like some kind of computerised watersports enthusiast, I turned my attention to the 1000 Gamerscore.

Years 1-4 was the only game I have ever got 1000 Gamerscore on, and so I thought it would be a relatively easy challenge on Years 5-7. Wrong! One achievement eluded me, simply because it is only available while you play through the story and I was totally unwilling to spend the required two and half hours or so to return to the point required to pick up the 30 points on offer. ‘Go back and do Replay Story on the level!’ I hear you cry.  Nah, doesn’t work like that. The level completes and then, only then, do you get a chance to get the achievement between levels. For those True OCD amongst us here is a summary of the 30 pointer:

In Year 7 Part 1, you will play a mission called “Magic is Might”. Immediately afterwards, you will find yourself outside of a tent with Harry and Hermione. Go inside the tent. On the left is a table with the Marauder’s Map on it. Press ‘B’ and you will be transported into Hogwarts. You will get the 30 points. Follow the ghost studs and use the wanted poster as the hint tells you.

There is some talk, amongst the unnecessary and frankly ridiculous bile directed at the game developers regarding these 30 points, that suggests you can still get them as long as you are still in Year 7. If you have got to the end of the game in Story Mode then you definitely have to start a new game and mash on through until you get the opportunity to pick the achievement up.

It is not the first time game developers have put level or time specific achievements into a game and I’m not going to lambast them for it. The game is great and I was just a little disappointed not to have milked 1000 Gamerscore out of it.

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