With Hogwarts Legacy just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to examine the many Harry Potter games released over the years. Starting with, of course.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Following the popularity of the first Harry Potter book and film, not one, but multiple games were also created, capturing the magic of Hogwarts on Playstation, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, PC, and Mac. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was quite the commercial success, selling over a million copies worldwide. The versions on different platforms are distinct from one another, with wildly different gameplay and story building.
The PS1 Version is among the most popular PS1 games of all time. There’s a lot to say about the PS1 game. For one, it follows the events of the movie and book very closely. The game’s voice acting, story and soundtrack are really good for a 2001 game.. Although The Sorcerer’s Stone was met by generally positive reviews, it’s hard to ignore its shortcomings in gameplay and graphics. But we should be grateful to the dev team. After all, PS1 Hagrid wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for their efforts. And what a sad world it would be without PS1 Hagrid. This version, along with the PC version, also have a Quidditch minigame, forming the basis of Quidditch in future titles. Not exactly the most praise worthy aspect of the game, but an important one nonetheless.
Moving onto the PC version, one thing we can quickly identify is the game’s superior graphics compared to the PS1 version. Hagrid is human now, Hogwarts is larger, and Harry always shouts his spells when cast. It plays like the PS1 version, yet it’s quite different structurally. The graphics of this version actually look really good for the time, all things considered. There isn’t much to say about this version that hasn’t already been covered in the PS1 version.
Game Boy Color
Meanwhile, the Game Boy Color version is a turn-based RPG, similar to Final Fantasy games. Harry’s story is wonderfully captured in the Game Boy Color version. The combat falls short though, as enemies lack proper attack animations and only Harry can be used in battles. It’s a missed opportunity to include Ron and Hermione, but it’s not bad either. With Harry, you can cast spells you’ve learned at enemies and use items to raise your attack, health, and Magic Points. As a big fan of turn-based RPGs, this game piques my interest.
Game Boy Advance
Moving on, even the Game Boy Advance version is a completely different game. In most regards, it plays out like a typical adventure game of that era, with puzzle elements, well animated sprites, and an attention to the source material. There are a number of levels, with each one requiring Harry to defeat enemies and solve puzzles to complete them. You will unlock more spells as you progress through the game, but the five spells you serve only to illuminate surroundings or enable additional more platform mechanics. Every level is quite repetitive and entails exploring mazes while taking great care to avoid falling into pits, which annoyingly brings you back to the beginning of the level. Overall, it’s a pretty good, albeit, frustrating game.
Xbox, Gamecube & PS2
Lastly, we have the Xbox, Gamecube and PS2 versions of The Philosopher’s Stone.
This latest entry clearly had the highest budget, as it includes fully animated and voiced cutscenes with great visuals for the time. This was released after The Chamber of Secrets was already launched on the same platforms. With no other Harry potter games to make for the studio at the time, they decided to adapt the first story and reuse the assets of The Chamber of Secrets, and it worked pretty well. By all respects, this game is pretty much a Zelda clone, with the level progression and puzzles we’re familiar with. Visually is where this game really shines through, mirroring the movie’s iconic charm.
These are all the games that are titled “Philosopher’s Stone” or “Sorcerer’s Stone” for US versions. Even though they tell the same story, each game is unique from one another, offering numerous takes on Harry Potter. Some of these games went on to inspire future releases.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The PS1 version of The Chamber of Secrets is made by the same studio that adapted the first story. As might have guessed, this game reuses a lot of the assets seen in the first game. In fact, Hogwarts is basically identical, barring the new locations and the outdoor section. Quidditch makes a return, and it’s essentially identical to the last game. Of course, everyone’s favorite character, PS1 Hagrid, is back. His clothes have changed a little, but he thankfully still has the face we all know and love. There’s also a Gnome throwing minigame, which Perhaps the weirdest part about this game is where you have to chase Ron as he vomits slug, then play a mini game where you catch his vomit. Nasty stuff! Overall, it plays a lot like the first PS1 game, as if it were a DLC for The Philosopher’s Stone.
And Just like the PS1 version, the PC version for The Chamber of Secrets borrows a lot of assets from its predecessor, and doesn’t really differ in gameplay at all. Explore Howarts and learn spells, which are then used to clear min dungeons. In terms of graphics, the PC version is clearly behind the PS2 version, but still ahead of the PS1 version. Quidditch is back, and it’s better than ever before. Instead of flying through hoops, Harry now has to tackle others while chasing after the Snitch. It also features a memorable Basilisk fight in an unusually small room, with a slow motion cutscene in the end for dramatic flair. All things considered, this game is similar to the first one, with mostly just the story differing from the original.
Lastly, we have the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube versions. All three of these versions aren’t identical. Rather, the Xbox and Gamecube version were made by British developer Eurocom, while the PS2 version is actually a port of these games done by EA UK. EA took some liberties to differentiate their release. The lighting is different in both versions and cutscenes aren’t always the same. They’re almost identical gameplay-wise, although there is one core aspect about the PS2 version that makes it the definitely better version: free roaming. Unlike the other versions, which teleports Harry across areas and only allows him to fly in certain areas, the PS2 version gives players more liberties, to the extent where Harry can fly pretty much anywhere around Hogwarts.
Just like the Philosopher’s Stone game for the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube, this game adopts the Zelda formula to a T. With platforming, annoying boss fights, puzzle elements and dungeon crawling, if you’re a Zelda fan, then this is definitely the game for you.
All in all, the PS2 version isn’t just a good Harry Potter adaptation; it’s also a great game as a whole. It was built from the ground up for these consoles and set the standard for Harry Potter games at the time.
Game Boy Color
Next is the Game Boy Color version., wasn’t just the last Harry Potter game for the Game Boy Color, it’s also the last Game Boy Color game to ever be published. After all, 2002 was an unusual time to be released for the console. Its successor, the Game Boy Advance, was already well established, but I ironically prefer this version of the game than the Game Boy Advance version. Just like its predecessor, this version uses a turn based battle system, similar to Final Fantasy games. They addressed most of the issues of the first game, such as the lack of a party system and solid enemy attack animations. In this version, Harry isn’t alone. Ron and Hermione join the fight and have their own distinct abilities. Like the previous game, this version is extremely faithful to the book and movie, adapting just about every memorable moment of the story. The Game Boy Color version is a really good game overall, and serves as an excellent send off for this beloved device.
Game Boy Advance
Meanwhile, The Game Boy Advance version is actually a little different from its predecessor. For one, the camera perspective has changed from top down to isometric. It still has the dungeon puzzle elements from the first game, but with more depth and complexity. There honestly isn’t a lot to say about this version, but if you’re a fan of the previous game, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one.
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
PlayStation 2/Game Boy Advance/GameCube/PlayStation 2/Xbox/PC
Next is the only title to deviate from the main story, other than the upcoming Hogwarts Legacy. J. K. Rowling’s Quidditch is one of the most iconic aspects of The Wizarding World. And so they made a game for Quidditch based on the PS2 release. Your Quidditch career begins in Hogwarts. You not only get to fly as Harry, tons of other characters from all four houses also make their appearance in various positions. After winning the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup, you’ll then be able to tackle the Quidditch World Cup between Spain, France, Japan, Bulgaria, England, Scandinavia, Australia, Germany, and the United States. Overall, it’s a pretty good Quidditch game and can even be played with friends. Electronic Arts definitely know a thing or two about sports video games.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
By the time Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube, the Harry Potter series was already a well-established video game franchise. You can tell the developers went out of their way to create this game. Unlike its predecessors, players can control Harry, Ron and Hermione, all of whom have their own separate abilities. In addition, players can freely switch between characters, just like in GTA 5, which obviously came out much later. Guess now we know where Rockstar Games may have gotten the idea. The game’s graphics have been updated from the last one quite a bit, with much more expressive animations and improved visuals.
Hogwarts still looks pretty similar compared to the second game, but its outdoor section is very different to reflect the movie. The Prisoner of Azkaban adopts a darker tone, and so the game’s overall aesthetic was noticeably adjusted to be consistent with this change. Some assets were reused, and various features have been removed, like the Quidditch mini games and Broomstick Flying in general. Instead, all three characters can fly atop Buckbeak, taking you across the map to take on more Zelda-esque dungeons. This is a really good Harry Potter game overall and is a straight up improvement over the previous two, save for Hagrid’s human appearance and the lack of Broomstick flying.
On the PC version, Ron and Hermione are playable, just like in the flagship games. Although it lacks the GTA 5-esque character swapping mechanics, complicated puzzles, great graphics, free roaming with Buckbeak and Quidditch, for whatever reason. It’s also strange how Snape is entirely absent from the game. In spite of all this, the PC version is pretty well reviewed overall. Although it’s received a fair bit of criticism for not posing much of a challenge, with its only obstacles being trvial puzzles and weak enemies. If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter universe though (and if you’re reading this, then you probably are,) then you can expect to have at least some fun reliving the events of this chapter in the PC version.
Game Boy Advance
There were two handheld versions of The Chamber of Secrets and The Philosopher’s Stone. Among them, the Game Boy Color versions were the real stand out, offering players an engaging turn-based RPG adventure. Well, Griptonite Games, the developer for the Game Boy Color versions, were chosen to make the Game Boy Advance version. And this is easily the best portable Harry Potter game yet. In fact, this version is extremely well animated, follows the story and aesthetic faithfully, and is a huge leap above the Game Boy color games. Like its predecessor, player control Harry, Hermione and Ron in. The battle perspective has changed to an over the shoulder view, similar to the early Pokemon games. In addition, each of the characters have unique spells used to navigate through obstacles. This is probably one of the better turn-based RPGs you can play on the Game Boy Advance, and If you’re a fan of the genre, then you should definitely give the game a try.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
EA finally decided to port the console version into the PC. The only downside is… this is probably the worst Harry Potter game yet. Instead of free roaming, you’ll have to take on repetitive levels to collect Shields and progress into the story. And to this end, you’ll need to complete the same levels several times. Ron and Hermione move alongside Harry, although they were given a barely functioning AI. All they do is assist Harry with spells, using the same exact spell to move objects, extinguish fires and whatnot. They can do a bit more using the game’s co-op feature, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone to use their precious time on this game. If you’re a fan of its predecessors, then I don’t recommend playing this version of The Goblet of Fire at all.
Game Boy Advance/DS
If you were expecting the turn-based combat from the last chapter, then you’d be sorely mistaken. The Game Boy Advance and DS versions are more similar to the Game Boy Advance version of The Chamber of Secrets. It features various levels with puzzle elements to keep players at their toes, but fails to engage the player like its turn-based predecessor. Still, this isn’t exactly a bad game. Although it’s a little weird at times, featuring dance minigames for the Yule Ball celebration, with similar mechanics being used across the adventure. In fact, you’ll be doing the exact same thing during the final showdown against You Know Who. This was definitely the low point for Harry Potter, not just for this version, but for the console and PC versions as well. But it gets worse. A DS version was also made for the game, and instead of giving players a different experience using updated hardware, they just ported the Game Boy Advance version with minor differences to the mechanics and some added mini games. Overall, it’s a little disappointing to see they didn’t continue their well-established turn-based system.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Remember how The Goblet of Fire lacked free roaming, which resulted in a fair amount of criticism? Well, free roaming is back again in The Order of the Phoenix, and Hogwarts is better than it’s ever been before and mirrors the movie with great accuracy. That’s where the good news ends, though. The Order of The Phoenix’s gameplay is as lacking as Hogwarts is detailed, which makes the game feel more like a walking simulator. Like the previous games, Harry can use spells to defeat enemies and clear obstacles, but it’s definitely no Zelda clone like the original trilogy. It’s like the developers spent all their budget on designing Hogwarts, while failing in regards to its gameplay. Harry can talk to NPCs around Hogwarts, who generally only have bad things to say about him. There are version differences, of course. The PS2, PSP and Wii releases are just a scaled down version of the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, with the Wii version utilizing motion controls to cast spells. Don’t get me wrong, this is a step above Harry Potter and The Dumpster of Fire, yet it’s worse than The Prisoner of Azkaban and the games before it.
Game Boy Advance/DS
For better or worse, these games act like the younger sibling of of the console version. Perhaps they all sat down and said “Let’s take a game riddled with gameplay issues and down scale it for the GBA and DS version. What a genius idea! You’re promoted!” I’m trying to be serious, but this is such a huge downgrade from the Griptonite turn-based trilogy that you can’t help but be disappointed. There are version differences, of course, and most of them are visual. They both play out in kind of the same way, so it’s not worth going into great detail, though. While it does try to faithfully follow the events of the book and movie, like its elder sibling, it’s a flop in terms of gameplay. Too bad they lacked the novelty of the PS3 and Xbox 360 version’s visuals. Like many games adapted from movies, this version’s only redeeming factor is that it’s a Harry Potter game.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
In Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, you can clearly, tell the developers learned their mistakes from the last two games, focusing a lot more on the gameplay while making full use of the highly detailed Hogwarts from The Order of the Phoenix. Character models were also reworked, especially for the main cast, mirroring their movie counterparts. Like the last game, you’ll be walking from point a to point b a lot in fetch quests to progress in the story, but this time, you’ll also be doing a lot of wizard dueling. Wizard dueling looks good at first glance, although one can just throw spells at enemies like machine gun rounds. It becomes even more broken once you learn the Levicorpus spell, effectively incapacitating enemies, leaving them open to attacks. And traversing through Hogwarts isn’t as tiresome anymore, now that Harry can run around the campus like an athlete. Seriously, look at him go. Overall, this game is definitely a huge improvement over The Order of The Phoenix.
Next are the PSP and DS versions. You might be wondering how both the PSP and DS versions are basically the same, when the PSP system was barely capable of running Order of the Phoenix. Well, it seems EA’s goal was to incorporate the same game in these two consoles, regardless of the consequences. The end result is a PSP game that looks as if it was made for the DS. Gameplay-wise, it’s a lot like its predecessor. Which means A LOT of walking and A LOT of fetch quests, and none of the fun stuff you’d expect from a Harry Potter game. Clearly, unlike the developers for The Half Blood Prince, the team for the PSP and DS versions didn’t learn from their past failure. There are version differences, of course, mostly with the DS’s touch screen feature and the PSP’s superior graphics, but both games are almost entirely identical. Needless to say, these versions of the game didn’t garner a lot of positive reviews.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
The flagship Deathly Hallows Part 1 games change the formula up a bit to one akin to a Third Person shooter. You get to use various spells that function in ways that are similar to actual fire-arms. If you still can’t accept this as a third person shooter, Harry can hide behind cover, throw potion grenades, and there’s even a weapon wheel to shift between spells. The idea for a third person shooter isn’t bad per se. I mean, it’s a fact that wizards do cast projectile spells in battle, as seen in many of the movies. The premise isn’t the issue here, it’s the poor execution. For a third person shooter, this isn’t a very good one. Visually, the characters look worse than their Half Blood Prince counterparts, for whatever reason. They definitely had their work cut out for them, mimicking the numerous unique locations presented in the movie. There’s also a lot of filler content where you shoot a bunch of bad guys. You know, I totally understand the need for these filler missions. After all, the Deathly Hollows chapter book was thinly spread out between two films, which have also impacted the flow of the games quite a bit. Oh, and the Wii version is a graphical downgrade from the others, with some added motion controls, but is otherwise the exact same game. While The Deathly Hollows part 1 is not a terrible game, it didn’t receive a lot of rave reviews either, and it’s easy to understand why.
This time, they’ve skipped releasing it for the PSP entirely, allowing the developers to solely focus their efforts on optimizing a game for the DS. And you can tell this worked out well for them. The DS version includes improved visuals compared to its predecessor and gameplay similar to the flagship title. Ironically, they managed to incorporate the shooting aspect a lot better in the hand-held version. I also like how they put in the effort to animate cutscenes, as opposed to simply using speech bubbles. In summary, it’s pretty good for an adventure game on the DS overall, but definitely not the highest point for the Harry Potter franchise.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Deathly Hallows Part 2 is where the story really takes it up a notch, which honestly works extremely well with the third person shooting elements taken from the first game. Except this time, they improved on these elements a lot by enhancing the movement, animations, spells and AI.
If you like the GTA and Gears of War franchises, then this is the game for you. Perhaps the best part about part 2 is the overall aesthetic and direction of the game. There’s a lot less filler content and they’ve improved the lighting and graphics in such a way where every event in the story looks exactly like their movie counterpart. With a great attention to detail, improved gameplay, and less filler content,
We can give EA a little credit for closing this beloved franchise with a decent game. The game ends with Harry Potter dipping his face in the pensieve, where a thoughtful nod to past Harry Potter games is presented to the players. It’s a great farewell to the saga in an otherwise above average finale.
The Deathly Hallows Part 2 was made around the end of the DS’s life-cycle. In fact, the 3DS was already for sale; a huge leap in technology in comparison, to be sure. Unfortunately, no 3DS version was made, which leaves us with the DS version and its PS1-like graphics. And no, PS1 Hagrid isn’t here. A real shame, I know. You can tell part 2 took a lot of inspiration from The Legend of Zelda, you’ll encounter a number of dungeons with puzzle elements across the story. Overall, it’s better than part 1, which was already one of the better handheld Harry Potter games.
And these are all the Harry Potter games spanning from 2001 all the way to 2011. I didn’t cover the Lego Harry Potter franchise, which would deserve its own article. In this article, I’ve covered over 20 Harry Potter games on various platforms. It’s clear that Hogwarts Legacy has had more than enough reference material leading up to its development, into what will hopefully be the best Harry Potter game to date.
As a Harry Potter fan who grew up reading the books, watching the movies, and playing some of the Harry Potter games, I had quite a lot of fun writing this article. What do you guys think? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section down below. Welcome to a affordable gaming with Electronic First’s collection! Dive into a diverse array of PC games, including standout titles like Hogwarts Legacy. Enhance your gaming adventure without breaking the bank, with authentic game keys, a wide range of options, and swift accessibility for PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo subscriptions. Experience gaming magic at Electronic First, your ultimate destination for fantastic deals and boundless gaming opportunities.