Review: Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

In today's content-driven entertainment industry, a new videogame outing of the popular scorcher's apprentice hardly comes as a surprise, but perhaps EA should take another look at the possibilities of the medium…

Two principles lay at the foundation of EA's third Zelda-esque Harry Potter adventure: firstly it's mainly aimed at a young audience and secondly it wants to stay as close as possible to its source material, which is the third Harry Potter film. These principles don't necessarily result in a bad product, but they do limit the potential a 'Harry Potter does Zelda' game has.


Hogwarts would make a perfect hub-world for an adventure with multiple paths, much like the castle in Super Mario 64. A unique aspect of games is the freedom to explore an environment by yourself. Unfortunately many parts are restricted during a large part of the game due to a linear game structure. Parts that are not required for your current objectives are often inaccessible, which is a missed opportunity considering the great atmosphere of the game world.

The lack of freedom is perhaps a result of the youth of the target audience. However it does seem EA is a little over concerned with youngsters finding there way through the game. The constant whining of game characters when not walking directly to your destinations is very annoying. The difficulty level of the battles has not really been tuned down, but the intellectual challenge of the puzzles is often minimal, that is, if Ron or Hermainy haven't prompted the solution yet.


Despite these two principles, Harry Potter's third adventure is an enjoyable game. Besides some half-hearted stealth sections and some overly scripted parts, it's an engaging adventure. The game conveys the atmosphere of the Harry Potter universe with great detail in graphics, characters, locales and music in particular.

The game mechanics have been deepened compared to previous games. By giving the characters (Harry, Ron and Hermainy) different abilities – and different spells later in the game – the player has to switch between them to tackle the game. Best are the puzzles that require the three friends to work together.


Zelda hasn't been much of a role model in terms of controls, which are not always fluid and logical. The menus could be better as well: they are a bit slow and changing a spell requires too many acts. Options are rather scarce and the game is only in one language. Translating the game into many languages is a favourable trend, but shouldn't rob (older) players of the possibility to play the game in the original language.

The game is of average length, with some GBA-link up options and collecting objectives to add some replay value though this is mainly a one-time experience. It's a pleasant experience, though. Not as good as Zelda, but the Harry Potter-sauce surely lifts it above average.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Enjoyable adventure for Harry Potter fans.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Harry Potter atmosphere


Little freedom
Few options

© Copyright 2024 - Independent Nintendo Coverage Back to the Top