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Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup Package Art
†GENRE
††Sports
†DEVELOPER
††EA Games
†PUBLISHER
††EA Games
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1-2
†CONNECTIVITY
††yes
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Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup

Electronic Arts has a reputation for making sports games. Somewhere along the line, though, they ran out of real mainstream sports out of which to make videogames. Fortunately, there are an almost infinite number of fantasy, make-believe, and niche sports to harvest. EA presents The Westminster Dog Show anyone? Okay, so weíre not there yet, but with Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup we do have a sports style game based on a fantasy license.

Quidditch is the most popular sport in the wizarding world. The game is played on brooms and involves seven players on two different teams: three chasers, one keeper, two beaters, and a seeker. The chasers try to get the quaffle, the football of the game, through one of three hoops guarded by the keeper. Every time a quaffle is tossed through a hoop, the chasers earn ten points for the team. The beaters, meanwhile, carry two cricket style bats and knock around the two bludgers. The final member of the team, the seeker, is the only player who has the potential to end the game. The seekerís job is to search for the golden snitch, a tiny winged ball which flies quickly around the pitch. When a seeker catches the golden snitch, he or she earns 150 for the team and the game ends; usually the team that catches the golden snitch wins the game, but not always.

So does this game have what it takes to live up to the heritage of EA sports games based on reality? Read on to find out where it flies and where it falls.

visuals

Although the game doesnít run in a progressive scan mode, Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup does support a widescreen mode. The graphics arenít spectacular in their detail. All the characters look indistinct due to the static distance the camera holds during every game. Thus, the character models are interchangeable. Youíd have a hard time telling whether you are playing as Harry Potter or a random person from a random country without knowing in advance. Despite this, some of the Quidditch pitches look amazing. Each country has a pitch designed to fit that unique culture. I was surprised at the depth of the design for the stadiums. Not only do the pitches fit the different regions, but they donít stick to the stereotypes of the countries and instead incorporate real world architecture.

audio

There is some music, but I honestly had to go back and play the game with the music specifically in mind to notice it. A classical song plays over the menus, though Iím ashamed to admit I canít remember the name of the piece, and pure background music plays during the game. It serves its purpose; I donít know whether the musicís invisibility is a positive or negative, but it is not surprising given the volume level of the sound effects. I donít want to imply the music is bad; the music is simply overwhelmed by the sound effects and play-by-play. The play-by-play, done by Ludo Bagman at the world cup and Lee Jordan at Hogwarts, is quick and fits the action perfectly. It doesnít have enough character to get irritating. The best thing is that it doesnít fall behind the action of the game, which is useful here where the game is fictional and doesnít play in a way that makes logical sense.

gameplay

The key word for the gameplay in Harry Potter: Quidditch Cup is slow. Maybe even Slow with a capital ďSĒ. If you want a videogame which replicates the super fast, frenetic feel from the books you will be sorely disappointed. Every time you feel like you want to zoom away on your broom or make a bullet pass to the chaser down the pitch, you will be disappointed. When a game is lagging and you want to take over the Seeker, grab the golden snitch, and end the game, you will be disappointed.

The game was clearly designed for children so it moves slow and is one of the easiest games you can play. I didnít give up a goal until halfway through the world cup. The game takes everything you would expect from the Quidditch chapters in the Harry Potter book, dumbs it down, fragments it, and makes it move in slow motion. Instead of treating the game as a true sports title where you can hop to different players in order to get the best positions, you have to take turns being a chaser, controlling the bludgers, or chasing the golden snitch as the seeker, and the keeper is never under you control. Not being able to control the keeper is the biggest problem; the keeper will never block a shot on his or her own. This setup makes the game easy to pick up, but adds the slow feel of the game. You start controlling the chasers, flying up and down the pitch trying to score points. The beaters come in on defense; you push ďYĒ and then control a bludgers trying to guide it into a chaser on the other team. Itís almost impossible for you to hit the computer with the bludgers and equally impossible to avoid the bludgers when they are under the computers control. At an arbitrary point in the game, when a meter between the two scores connects, you control the seeker and try to fly in line with a golden path and grab the snitch. Then the match is over. Period.

Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup was frustrating for me because I felt like I was just a spectator to the game. You donít have enough power to really influence the game and at the same time itís so easy you donít really have to try. The only other game I have played that made me feel more useless with my controller was Kirby Air Ride.

multiplayer

The two player game is the same as the one player game, except much more tedious. The slow pace of the game really shines in the multiplayer mode as anyone can reach a skill level where you can keep the other team scoreless. This means long games without a lot of action. It might have been a fun mode if you could decide which character to control, but, like the one player mode, you cannot and end up with two people watching the game and participating intermittently.

overall

All in all, Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup is dissatisfying and a pale comparison to how good this game could have been if it were designed to play like a fantasy sports simulation. Granted, there is an oxymoron inherent to a fantasy simulation, but as it stands Quidditch World Cup merely feels like a semi-responsive movie. A slow, semi-responsive movie.

final score 5.4/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Mark Martinez
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"Unless you're being ironic, turn that off."


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