Tag Archives: LEGO Harry Potter

LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 is done casting Crucio on me

It took the whole weekend, but it’s done. All characters and character variants unlocked and bought; all Hogwarts House crests grabbed; all students in peril saved from peril, whether that peril was a man-eating plant or them just being lazy and oversleeping in a hammock; all gold bricks found; all Achievements acquired. LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 is now completed as a whole, and I’m happy to be moving on from it finally.

Unfortunately, the grinding these LEGO videogames demand is detrimental to their overall quality. I’ve written about this before, and will most likely continue to write about it for the next half-dozen of forthcoming LEGO videogames. I mean, it took how many iterations to get Traveller’s Tales to add a new camera system and voices to their LEGO beings? Yeah, change does not come fast to those developers. So expect the obtuse and exhausting collectathon to continue on for a good while. But since I’ve already gone on at length about that annoying aspect, let’s talk about something else pertaining to LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7: glitches and unforgiving level design!

For a game series constantly billed as co-op friendly, it’s strange that some goals can only be completed solo. Meaning you have to look directly at the person next to you, take their hand gingerly, and say, “Sorry, but you‘re the problem; I need you to drop out.” That’s a pretty cruddy thing to do–to anyone, really–but if you want to unlock the following Achievements, you gotta bite the magic bullet and kick them to the curb:


O Children (20G): Complete the scene where Hermione and Harry dance in the tent


Weasley Does It (25G): Use a Weasley box with every Weasley


What If? (20G): Defeat every Harry freeplay variant as Lord Voldemort

Tara and I tried unlocking all of these as we played the game. We did everything we thought we were supposed to do, and yet nothing seemed to work. I even began thinking outside of the box, using Hermione as a Weasley. For a time there, I thought we were losing our minds, but no, all we had to do was kick my wife out of the game and have me do everything all over again by myself to get them to ping. Boo to that. I mean, all the other Achievements were not like this, and so it has to be labeled as strange. Wonky, even.

More frustrating than the above is the bad level design on Magic is Might from Year 7. In this level, players must make their way through the Ministry of Magic in hopes of stealing a plot-vital item from Dolores Umbridge. After dueling with her, you are chased down a narrow corridor by a swarm of Dementors; this level is set up in the “Indiana Jones and the rolling boulder” sense, with you running towards the screen as danger follows behind. A Hogwarts House crest is hidden behind a golden statue off to the side, and for me, this was the last crest I needed to get; however, time is an issue, and you have to be quick to grab it. If you touch the statue or wall near it, you die, and the Dementors attack your respawned body immediately, pushing you forward. You cannot go back to get the crest without replaying the whole level again, which means you get one chance, and one chance only. Also, if you try to walk past the statue and then go behind it, you die. You can only acquire it by being Fang or Griphook–someone small or fast–and going behind the statue without touching it or the wall. I replayed this level four times before I learned the errors of my way and figured out what to do. Ugh.

Thinking back, LEGO Batman had something just like this, and the proof is in the post. Here’s what I wrote about it way back in the day in October 2009:

LEGO Batman. Sure, I “beat” it months ago, but every now and then I pop back into it to grab some missed items and trying and unlock everything. And I’ve gotten just about everything…that is, but three collectibles. Now, one of them is painstakingly annoying to obtain. Trust me, I tried three times in a row last night. In one of the Penguin’s villain levels, you have to guide your characters down an icy slope, going through five specific flags to unlock the hidden canister. Sounds simple enough, yes? The problem is that if you miss even one flag you are then dropped into the level’s final boss battle room and cannot return to try again. Meaning you must replay the level again and again and…again. I’ve had zero luck so far. Insert heavy sigh.

Gee, that’s the exact same sort of level design used years later for LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7. Whoever comes up with these parts, please stop. I don’t care if you think they are a barrel of fun or there for a reason. Just stop. No one likes replaying levels again and again for a single collectible.

So that’s it. I’m done…until LEGO Lord of the Rings, that is.

Harry Potter and the LEGO videogame logjam

Let’s start with a quote from one wise and mysterious Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore:

Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

We’re there, evidently. The dark and difficult times in particular. That not-so-sweet spot in every LEGO videogame where one must grin and bear it to collect everything that remains because OCD demands it, as well as the fact that a straightforward playthrough unlocks a minimal amount of the game’s actual content. For LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7, we’re talking about red bricks, gold bricks, unlocked characters, Hogwarts house crest pieces, and students in peril.

Since completing the main part of the game earlier this month, Tara and I have been diving back into the world of magic and magical mayhem to chip away at the tower that is a 100% completion rank. It’s a slow process. Unimaginably slow. Like Dumbledore falling off the Astronomy Tower slow. Thankfully, we finally unlocked enough red bricks to turn on numerous stud multipliers and rack up the LEGO-based cash, quickly earning this zinger:


Knuts and Vaults (50G): Collect 1 billion studs (Single Player only)

So, we’re rich. Just like Harry Potter was in the beginning of his school career. Which is great, as now purchasing all the characters we’ve unlocked isn’t even a concern. But the problem is mainly finding the characters to unlock. Let me tell you this–there is nothing more tiring and/or disappointing than replaying a level via the free play format and then complete it without finding all the hidden secrets in it. Your mind immediately brings the hard truth to the front: you will have to play this level again. Possibly a fourth time if you are not diligent enough or paying attention to the level design, because sometimes building a specific LEGO piece completes the level, and you might not have been ready to do that yet. Whoops.

But we’ll keep on keeping on. Two more red bricks to go, about 35 gold bricks, and maybe 60ish more characters/character variants left to find. Oh boy.

The LEGO logjam has also been heavily present in LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. For a long, long time. I only have three Achievements left to unlock for that game, but they also require me finding everything. Which I’ve tried time and time again. But like I previously wrote, there is nothing more fun-sucking than replaying a level to not find everything and then knowing you’ll have to do all that again. Ugh.

At some point, I’m going to have to play these levels with a step-by-step guide open next to me on my laptop. And really, that isn’t how it should be done. But it’s the best guarantee at breaking down this dam.

2012 Game Review Haiku, #19 – LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7

Complete Harry’s run
Through magic school, love, and war
Be a Super Wiz

For all the games I complete in 2012, instead of wasting time writing a review made up of points and thoughts I’ve probably already expressed here in various posts at Grinding Down, I’m instead just going to write a haiku about it. So there.

Achievements of the Week – The Wanted Ghost Buster Saving My Quarters Edition

Hey, long time, no Achievements talk! Yeah, my bad. The last iteration of Achievements of the Week was back on December 9, 2011, and I totally planned to continue doing it all through the month, but then a drunk driver hit me as I was driving home and the holidays were in full swing and my depression surfaced with extreme tenacity. But I’m back, yo. I swears it. And I have plenty to report. Again, I’m not listing all the Achievements I unlocked over the last, um, three to four weeks, but some of the ones I liked the most.

And we’re off!

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim…


Wanted (10G): Escape from jail

Well, to be honest, this wasn’t as amazing as I thought it might be. I stole something in public, did not resist the guards, was taken to jail, picked the lock with ease, grabbed my gear, and left the Whiterun prison without a single soul aware I was even on the loose. And that’s it.


Darkness Returns (10G): Complete “Darkness Returns”

Finished the Thieves Guild questline…sort of. Seems like to return it to its former glory, I have to do an inane number of miscellaneous quests, which involve a lot of fast traveling, which also means a lot of loading screens. It’s on my to-do list, but not a priority just yet.

From LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7…


Shedding Skin (10): Complete “In Grave Danger”

Tara was able to wrap some Scotch tape around my second Xbox 360 controller’s faulty wire, and that seems to have solved the problem of it cutting in and out…for now. This has allowed us to play some co-op again.

From Rage…


Ghost Buster (10G): Complete Ghost Hideout in the Campaign


Waste Management (10G): Complete Wasted Garage in the Campaign

I haven’t played too much of Rage yet, but it’s not bad. Very pretty at times, and very ugly at times in terms of textures not loading. And no, I’m not going to instal 157 gigs onto my hard drive to make the game run better. But yeah, it’s okay. I do hope to play more of it, but I gotta remember to stock up on ammo like woah. Always running out of bullets because I’m terrible at aiming. Also, John Goodman for the win.

From Saints Row: The Third…

I previously shared some Achievements earlier this week, but here’s a another I got just the other day that makes me smile. It sure makes hijacking cars fun and fast.


Bo-Duke-En (10G): 50 quick vehicle hijacks, the Dukes would be proud.

From Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds…


Need a Healing Factor (10G): Win a match without blocking. (Arcade/Xbox LIVE only)


Saving My Quarters (20G): Beat Arcade mode without using any continues.


Female Flyers (15G): Make a team composed of women who can fly, and win a match. (Arcade/Xbox LIVE only)

In total, I’ve pinged 16 out of 47 Achievements already in MVC3, and while there’s a handful of others that are attainable, the majority are not. Just like in Street Fighter IV, most of the Achievements require skill, endurance, and grinding. Not really for me, but it’s a nice edition to the collection for those times when Tara and I want to just mash buttons and have seizure-inducing images flash on screen.

Whew. Told you there would be a lot of ’em. But how about you? What cool Achievements have you pinged since last we met here? Share ’em below in the comments section, folks.

Achievements of the Week – The Chair-ismatic Expert from Tethyamar Edition

So yeah, I forgot to do Achievements of the Week last week, but I doubt any of y’all noticed. It was Black Friday, after all. The day after one eats too much food and drinks too much wine and sleeps a little too well. Or not at all if you’re into that crazy shopping craziness. But fear no more, for I have recovered and am back to bring you up to speed. Naturally, I’m slipping in Achievements from both that week and this one.

And here we go!

From Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale…


Welcome to Tethyamar (10G): Complete Tutorial – Descent into Darkness

That’s actually all I’ve done so far with this one. Seems like a by-the-books hack-and-slasher, which is fine, really, if a little bland. The cutscenes are nicely animated in that “motion comics” kind of way. The only strangeness is that nobody speaks in the game. Not a soul. All dialogue is written, but accompanied by LEGO-esque grunts and mumbling. It cracks Tara up.

From LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7…


He’s Back! (10G): Complete “A Veiled Threat”


Chair-ismatic (10G): Complete “Out of Retirement”

Just some story-related Achievements. Nothing terribly special, but I like their names nonetheless. For the really not special ones, see my thoughts on Idling and Avid Reader.

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim…


Expert (25G): Reach Level 25


Taking Care of Business (10G): Join the Thieves Guild

I’ve joined, but I’m barely accepted yet. Seems like I need to do a lot of miscellaneous jobs, such as shilling nice folk and breaking and entering locked buildings, before Lohgahn can be loved.


Dragonslayer (50G): Complete “Dragonslayer”

Hey, I just wrote about this bad boy!

That’s it, more or less. I already showed off the two I got so far in Beyond Good & Evil HD, and while I did download two more DLC case files for L.A. Noire, I’ve not yet found a moment to play ’em. Kicking the World-Eater’s ass took priority. This weekend is looking good though for some more crime scene investigating.

What have you unlocked recently?

Avid reader and avid button-masher in LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7

Tara, as LEGO Hermione, was running around Fred and George’s newly opened joke shop Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, blasting things apart for studs and solving yet another extremely cryptic puzzle. It took her at least five minutes to realize that I wasn’t with her, let alone moving LEGO Harry around the map.

Where was I? On the store’s ground floor, right in front of a Quibbler dispenser, reading. Laughing and reading. Well, LEGO Harry was doing that–in truth, I was just mindlessly mashing the B button to earn this little zinger:


Avid Reader (25G): Use a Quibbler dispenser 25 times

The Achievement’s description is displayed just above, but it could totally say “Press the B button 25 times” and call it a day. Because that’s all I did. You press B, LEGO Harry pulls an issue of The Quibbler out of the dispenser, glances at it, chuckles, and tosses it into some invisible void where it disappears completely. Then you press B and start it again. Do that 25 times total, and you “earn” an Achievement.

I dunno.

The Quibbler, for those that don’t know, is a tabloid within the Harry Potter universe. It’s published and edited by Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna’s father, and is often considered odd and full of rubbish. Many don’t take it seriously. However, I’m now imagining an alternate time and place where, like in L.A. Noire, picking up a newspaper/The Quibbler kicks off a mini cutscene that fills in some plot exposition without slowing the pace down during the main missions. Given The Quibbler‘s love of strange, random stuff, which is in line with the LEGO videogames, the developers could have done something similar to this. Maybe not 25 times, but 10 or less, and it would make picking up The Quibbler so much more special. Alas…

The LEGO videogames do have moments of genius when it comes to their Achievements, but more or less, they fall into generic tropes of do X action Y times. Those are never exciting. I loved hiding in a barrel as Professor Snape and unlocking Solid Snape in the previous title. Doing five backflips in a row in LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is a feat worthy of Try Wearing a Corset. The Achievement Shot to the Goon (defeat 8 goons in 8 seconds) from LEGO Batman at least makes doing X a test of skill and not simply a test of mindless endurance.

I guess the thing that bothers me so much about this Achievement is that it takes the place of the what-could-have-been. Like, give us something for falling to our deaths a lot when navigating the moving staircases within Hogwarts. Or how about a slice of Gamerscore for enlarging Hermione’s head with the Engorgio Skullus spell? See, it’s really not that hard, and unaware gamers can earn just plenty from playing the story levels and so on. That said, if you are reading this and work for Traveller’s Tales and need helping designing the Achievements for LEGO Harry Potter 3: Out of Retirement, I’m available for hire.

Waiting and wondering in LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7

Currently, I’m waiting. I’m sitting idle, I’m swaying idly. I’m waiting to hear back from my insurance company about whether they will cover my car after I hit a roadkilled deer head-on. I’m waiting to be disappointed. I’m waiting to be angry at myself, for being a failure and a coward and worser words than that. I’m waiting for today and tomorrow to be over with, and I’m waiting for better days.

And I’m also waiting in LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7, this time for an Achievement to pop:


Idling (20G): Stand still with no controller input for 5 minutes

Tara and I played some LEGO Harry Potter last night in an attempt to keep me distracted and smiling. The opposite of that involves me staring and sinking deeper into a mental hole. Anyways, it worked for the entirety of the time that we played. Got through some more levels, learned how to duel, discovered a crazy secret about Snape (more on that later), and unsuccessfully tried to find some shops to visit in Diagon Alley. After our play session was over, Tara went to tinkle, and I started to read through the game’s Achievements list, where I discovered one could be rewarded for doing absolutely nothing. For waiting. So I put the controller down, and listened to the trio make many mmm sounds as other LEGO wizards passed by. Tara joined me soon after, and we sat on our cold couch, huddled beneath a blanket, saying little and waiting a lot.

Alas, this type of Achievement is a perfect example of wasted design space. Unless my theory rings true. And I posit this, that the idling in the Achievement’s title is in reference to the time period where the trio were camping and unsure of where to go next. Otherwise, I can’t make a connection between the source material and the game.

To keep this waiting theme going strong, too, please wait for more posts on Grinding Down. Hopefully there will be some content that isn’t just me crying with words…