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Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Sports

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PS2 Review - 'Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup'

by Hank on Dec. 10, 2003 @ 1:21 a.m. PST

Genre: Sport
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Games
Release Date: October 28, 2003

Buy 'HARRY POTTER: Quidditch World Cup':
Xbox | GameCube | GBA | PC | PlayStation 2

If you are a Harry Potter fan, you already know what I'm talking about the instant you hear the word "Quidditch." For those of you not in the know, Quidditch is the famous broomstick sport game in Harry Potter which I believe was very appealing to the audiences, prompting EA to bring out a console game for the players to enjoy.

The game almost feels like soccer, with a few extra touches, most notably flying around on a broom. The main objective in Quidditch is to outscore the opponent. Rather than scoring in a goal, you must throw a Quidditch ball - a Quaffle - into one of the opponents' three hoops. Each time the Quaffle goes through, the team achieves 10 points. You would think this is the main point of the game, but in actuality, it resides in catching the golden snitch, the fastest and nimblest of Quidditch balls. Once you capture the Golden Snitch, the game is over and the captor is awarded 150 points, the equivalent of 15 goals. Now that the general rules have been explained, let's begin the Quidditch World Cup.

Let's go over the formation for Quidditch. Each team has a total of seven players: three chasers, two beaters, one seeker, and one keeper. The job of the chasers is to move the Quaffle into scoring range by passing it between each player and eventually scoring. The chasers must, at all times, watch out for bludgers and tackles. Bludgers are rocks launched from the beaters which, if hit, cause the opponent to drop and give up the Quaffle. Guiding these bludgers are not a very easy task and takes some getting used to, but if you get good at it, your defense can be an unstoppable force. Beaters not only launch bludgers but also help your teammates bat away the opponent's bludgers, giving your team much-needed support. Beaters do not score or ever handle the Quaffle; only the chasers do. The last and most crucial position would be the Seeker, who can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. They are the fastest, lightest, and most nimble of broomstick flyers who must keep their eyes open for the Golden Snitch. Once it appears, you must beat the opponent to the snitch, and this is by no means an easy task. The snitch constantly moves and changes directions, and you must follow it closely, or you will never catch it. Rumor has it that there is one Golden Snitch that took 6 months to catch. I sure hope it doesn't take you that long.

Once you know all these of basics, you are now ready to take a try at Quidditch. The first task at hand is that you must complete all the Hogwarts Cup, basically a training level where you learn the basic and advanced controls for the game. There are four teams you can choose from: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. Whichever team you choose, you must take them through the cup and win, or else you will not be able to unlock or play in the Quidditch World Cup. The matches are fairly easy so this should be a breeze for all players.

The basic controls of the game are easy to pick up. The game uses only six buttons for the game. Depending on the position player you are using at the moment, the buttons will have a different meaning. The X button is used to pass on offense and tackle on defense, the O button is used to shoot, triangle for dodging, square to launch a bludger attack with your beaters, L1 or R1 and any of the buttons mentioned to launch a special or combo move. With all these moves down, you are now ready to hit the World Cup level.

Once Quidditch World Cup is open, you will have to choose which team you wish to take all the way. There are a total of nine teams, and only the last team requires a crazy amount of cards to unlock. The teams available would be: England, USA, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, The Nordic Team, Spain, and Bulgaria. I do not really know how the teams differ from one another other than that fact that they may have different costumes and special moves. When I play, the teams seem relatively even, giving both sides a fair chance at winning. The structure of the world cup is very similar to how World Cup Soccer is played. Unlike baseball where you are given several chances, in World Cup, you are only given one chance, so you must either shine or lose.

While it may be similar to soccer, you are playing on some of the most magnificently detailed backgrounds available. The weather effects also give the game a big plus, and I love the snow level because it's just so pretty. The players are also extremely detailed, and Harry Potter looks like the actor from the movie. They also have it so that these 3D characters move their lips, blink, and move their eyebrows, taking the game a step closer to true realism. The last thing that really impressed me about the graphics is the opening movie, which really piqued my interest.

The voice acting is very well done, and the characters' mouth movements are exactly synched to the audio track, but the voices start to become a hindrance after a while. After doing just five of the challenges in Hogwarts Cup, I found that this novelty wore off really quickly. To make up for this, however, the game has extremely soothing background music that is also very well suited to the game.

Overall, this game was well done for being the first of Harry Potter sports-themed games. EA has always been known for making good to magnificent games, and they surely have done the same for this one. With great graphics and background music, most Harry Potter fans will truly enjoy this game. The game is really easy to pick up and understand, and the only downside is that the controls may not be as advanced for the older players. Because of the experience I have gained from playing several EA sports games, I am used to having an incredible amount of control over the character. In this game, you don't ever choose the character you control but rather the AI gives you the closest character to the Quaffle. The game also doesn't give you true 3D control of the character and allow you easy access to go up or down in the XYZ plane.

After long hours of play, the game will also start getting repetitive because you will be doing the same things over and over again. This repetition isn't that bad because all sports games at one time or another may repeat themselves, but the feeling may never be the same. Unlike other EA sports games, there is no player progression, but there is the ability to unlock more brooms and specials.

The game's only multiplayer capability is two-player support, which, although it is not of the online multiplayer variety, gives the game an extra edge because you'll be able to play against one of your friends.

This game definitely personifies the magnificence of the sport, but it is lacking because it's not as advanced as I had hoped it would be. This game is a definite must-have for all of the Harry Potter fans out there. For those that are looking for another sport game to pick up, I would suggest trying this out first or waiting for the next entry in the EA sports line. In the meantime, enjoy and conquer the world of Quidditch World Cup.

Score: 8.4/10


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