Review: Harry Potter and The Philospher's Stone

Harry Potter must be a pretty rich kid by now, just about everybody has read his books, seen his movies, or at least heard of him. And ofcourse like all succesful movies, Harry Potter can't go without it's own videogame. Just look at all the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Matrix titles and you'll get the point. This case is special though, this game is based on the first book and movie, which came out quite some time ago. Over a year ago the second Harry Potter book was made into a movie and a Cube game and within a year we'll get the movie and game adaptation of the third book. This makes Philosopher's Stone feel a bit like a filler, a game made in a short time to make a bit of money in between the movies. The fact that Eurocom didn't develop this game adds to this feeling, they did make the Chamber of Secrets and are currently working on the Prisoner of Azkaban. Is Philosopher's Stone more than a simple filler? Find out in this review.


The Chamber of Secrets, the previous Harry Potter game for the Cube, was quite a good looking game. It had good lightning effects, it was very colourful and it had nice player models. This game has less to offer in every aspect of the graphics. Philosopher's Stone doesn't look bad, it just feels a bit dissapointing if you've seen Harry run around in a much nicer looking Hogwarts just over a year ago. The player models are nice enough, lightning is still used in a nice way here and there, but when you see the way some of the enemies look you can't help but feel cheated. On top of that, the game's framerate isn't something to be proud of either. It isn't really high to begin with, and the stutters it has in places should've been fixed before the release. With all these complaints though, it's still a lot of fun to see how Hogwarts was made into a gameworld, all the places in the books and movies are there and they look pretty authentic.


The thing you'll notice most about the sound in Philosopher's Stone is the incredible amount of voicework. Every character in the game has a lot of dialogue and a fitting voice to go with it, often one that sounds just like the voice that character had in the Harry Potter movies. Not only is there a lot of dialogue, all the collectable Wizard cards are read to you in a classy British accent, which is a nice touch. Harry's own voice is nice too, but he uses it a bit too much sometimes. It's sounds a bit strange and annoying to hear him say "a couldron cake!" in a very surprised voice even if it's the third he found in that room. The same is true for most of the enemies, who make exactly the same sound every time you hit them with a spell. It's a shame the developers didn't put more effort in a little variation in the sounds after they did such a good job with the voice acting.


Like the previous Harry Potter title, this game plays like an easy and lineair version of a Zelda game. This means most of the time you'll be fighting enemies, solving relatively simple puzzles and collecting spells that allow you to open new areas. Just like Harry in the books, you learn spells by following Wizard lessons all around Hogwarts. You usually have to solve a few puzzles to get to a new spellbook, and then solve a few puzzles using the spell you just learned to get back to the rest of the class. Apart from the lessons there's a lot to do for Harry every day. He has to collect ingredients for potions class once in a while, collect beans to buy things with from the dealing Weasly brothers and of course go out adventuring with Hermoine and Ron a lot. After Harry's completed the tasks he has planned for a day, you can choose to end the day early or go out exploring Hogwarts untill you're satisfied. Don't expect a hugely interactive adventuring world like in Zelda though, Most doors in Hogwarts only open when the story wants you to enter them. All in all it feels a bit like Zelda-light, it's entertaining but never as engrossing as Link's adventures.


The controls are also inspired a great deal by Nintendo's classic adventure series. The A button is a context sensitive action button, the B, X and Y buttons can be used to cast spells or use items you assign to them in your inventory. It never works as fluently as in Zelda games though, mostly due to the shaky camera. Like in a lot of 3D action games, Philosopher's Stone's camera cant go through walls, so it always tries to find a place to view the action from within a room. This can get tricky in the many small rooms and corridors Hogwarts has, where you often can't move the camera much because it gets stuck between the walls. The camera also has the nasty tendency to change direction while you are doing a critical jump over a chasm, probably to enhance the excitement of the jump. This enhances the excitement all right, but often because your jumping direction changes with the camera and the jump becomes a lot harder all of a sudden. To deal with the enemies Harry encounters, you can use the R button to lock onto them and fire a spell in their direction. R locks onto the closest enemy or object first though, so if there's a bush next to you and an enemy in front of you firing at you, R will make you lock onto the bush first. Every time you get hit, you lose your lock on, so you'll lock onto the bush first every time the enemy hits you. This is pretty annoying because the reason he hit you in the first place was that you were too late switching your lock on from the bush to him. In the places were you're not troubled by the camera or the locking system Philosopher's Stone controls fine, you'll be pushing around blocks and casting spells like a real Harry Potter.


If you stick to the storyline tasks, Philosopher's Stone can keep you busy for quite some time. If you try to complete your Wizard card collection and take other sidequests it'll take you even longer to complete the game. No matter how long the game lasts though, it's far too lineair to play it again from the beginning without getting bored a lot. The story's nice enough, but you probably already read it and seen it at least once if you're considering to buy this game, so that also won't encourage you to play the game more than once.

Final Say:

Philosopher's Stone is obviously aimed at younger gamers, it's very lineair and never too difficult. For Harry Potter fans it's a good buy, it's filled with good voicework and little details from the books and movies. If you're a casual fan and you're looking for a solid action adventure game though, you're better off playing the previous Harry Potter game and the one Eurocom are making right now. If Harry Potter means nothing to you but you want to play something untill the next Zelda comes out, don't even bother trying this one, look out for Beyond Good and Evil or Eurocom's Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy instead.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Nice game, it all feels a little rushed though.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Hogwarts is huge
Lots of voicework


Less than the previous game in almost every way

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