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LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7

First Hour Review

Lego Harry Potter Years 5 7 CoverI love the LEGO videogames. I’ve said this before, and I’ll probably keep on saying it, especially if the folks over at Traveller’s Tales use their magical powers to read my mind and make LEGO Lord of the Rings or LEGO Men in Black next. My favorite of the bunch so far has been LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4, which managed to follow both the films and books while also giving fans a ton of love with their attention to details. It seemed perfect for LEGO-izing, with magic and a wide cast of characters, but I was disappointed that it only covered half of Harry’s legacy; the developers padded out the experience by giving players Hogwarts, a huge hub to explore that revealed more and more in a Metroidvania style after certain spells and classmates were acquired.

J.K. Rowling finished up all the books way back in 2007, and the money-making films now dead and done until some fool tries to remake them all in like ten years. I’ve never played any of the movie tie-in videogames—though I did have fun flying on brooms and catching Golden Snitches with Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup for the PlayStation 2—but from what I can gather, many of them are not great. Especially the Kinect ones, which tries to turn Harry into a new recruit for Gears of War. LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 could very well be the last greatest game for the franchise, simply because there’s probably not much else coming out for it afterwards.

My favorite thing about the LEGO videogames are that they are perfect for playing co-op. There’s a challenge, sure, but exploring the levels and piecing everything together is more fun with a partner. Like my wife, Tara Abbamondi. Comments from her are in red!

Okay, let’s see if the first hour of LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 is just as magical as the previous game’s.

LEGO Rock Band DS

Full Review

Lego Rock Band ds CoverRock Band 3 is due out very soon and I just read that there will be a Nintendo DS port of the game. Unlike Guitar Hero: On Tour, there will be no bonus peripherals used to control the game, just the regular buttons. If this sounds odd to you, well, the experience is already available! Harkening all the way back to Harmonix's first game, Frequency, released in 2001.

After Frequency and Ampltude grew a cult following, the rhythm music game world exploded with Guitar Hero and Rock Band. No more would we press mere buttons on a controller, but now we will press buttons on a plastic guitar (not hating, I love the Rock Band series)! I thought we would never see the classic button pressing gameplay ever again, but gaming history likes to repeat itself, and I recently discovered that Harmonix has brought it back with Rock Band: Unplugged and LEGO Rock Band DS.

Seeing as I don't own a PSP, I sat down to the odd combination of LEGO and Rock Band. Released about a year ago alongside its PS3/Wii/Xbox 360 big brothers, the DS version was hampered with a smaller soundtrack and no downloadable content, but it is available on the go. And of course, if you're a fan of Frequency and Amplitude, then it might be time to return home.

LEGO Rock Band DS is the longtime sequel I've been waiting for

Blog Post

Lego Rock Band ds CoverNo, I'm not really excited that it's another Rock Band game or even yet another LEGO game, but that LEGO Rock Band DS is essentially the direct sequel to Harmonix's original rhythm games: Frequency and Amplitude.  For the unfamiliar, Harmonix's first two games were essentially the precursor to Rock Band where you played multiple instruments, but the catch was you had to flip between instruments after successfully playing a few measures of another.  The gameplay was quite a bit more complex than Harmonix's original Guitar Hero games as there were multiple sets of scrolling notes that you had to keep an eye on to efficiently keep your streak going.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

First Hour Review

Lego Harry Potter Years 1 4 CoverI’ve played every LEGO videogame made so far. Of all my videogames on the Xbox 360, only the LEGO games have the esteemed honor of having all their Achievements unlocked. I played them to completion as fast as possible, almost as if in a fever. If they made LEGO Schindler’s List, I’d probably play it. Same goes for LEGO Requiem for a Dream. The point I’m making here is that I love these games, and I’m twenty-six, and I’m not afraid to admit that they are just my cup of OCD tea.

Conversely, I’m also a huge Harry Potter fan. I’m one of those rare folks that actually read the first three books before the first movie came out and became a worldwide sensation. I had the sixth book spoiled for me on a Lord of the Rings TCG forum. I read the last book in less than 24 hours, locked up in my parents’ basement, only coming up once to eat dinner and not talk to anyone. The movies are hit or miss in my mind, but the world and characters and magic of it all is something I can’t get enough of. Neither can my fiancée. We’re getting married this October and heading to Universal Studios on our honeymoon to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I’ve been excited about this merging of two great entities since I first read about it. I always expected the next universe to be LEGO-ized to be Spider-Man’s. My expectations are high, and after having played the demo that was recently released I have no fears that the first hour for LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 will be anything but spectacular.

The Intriguing Games of E3 2010

Editorial

e3 LogoAfter Nate’s excellent and complete wrap-up of the five big conferences, I’m going to cover some of the games that caught my attention over the last few days.  While we knew the existence of some of these games before this week, our knowledge of them was pretty thin.  Hopefully you’ll be seeing these games on the First Hour in the coming year (and hopefully we’ll recommend you keep playing them!).

This list is nowhere near complete, neither as a list of great E3 2010 games or even with games I was impressed with.  Hope you enjoyed the show, I sure did.

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

First Hour Review

Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures CoverLego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures is a new adventure game in the same vein as Lego Star Wars. I've had great fun with the recent series of Lego games and since I've always been a fan of Indiana Jones, this is one game I'm excited to play. I've only played one other Indiana Jones game before and that was Desktop Adventures, a fun, randomly generated top-down computer game. Lego Indiana Jones supposedly does not include any content from the newest movie, which doesn't bother me, I thought it was pretty bad honestly. I will be playing the Nintendo DS version of Lego Indiana Jones.

This is my last review for Day 2 of The First Hour. Another 24 hours of video gaming has passed and another 24 will begin soon. All reviews here on old domain will be moving to firsthour.net and all new reviews will be posted there. That site will consolidate my full review site into it also. I'm really excited for it and I plan to launch it this summer. It will probably be a few weeks though as I have just closed on a house and also have a baby on the way, so it's going to be a busy summer! I'm excited for the future though and still plan to review just the first hour of video games. Heck, that's all I have time for anyway.

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

Full Review

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga CoverLego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is the combination of the first two Lego Star Wars games (The Video Game and Original Trilogy) in what is an obvious attempt to sell more copies of the games and reach that same Star Wars audience that will only buy the DVDs when they're all available in one, giant box set. So basically we have all the levels from the first game, plus all the levels from the second game, plus some more (minor) stuff in case you already own the first two. I received this game for the Nintendo DS, which is essentially my platform of choice of late, and played the heck out of it for the last week and a half. And surprisingly, I loved every minute of it.

I'm not sure why it took so long for someone to realize that Legos are awesome, Star Wars is awesome, and video games are awesome, so why not put them all together. But it finally happened a few years ago and it was like my childhood fantasies were coming together for one last amazing adventure. Somehow though, I never played the first one (Episodes I-III) but got the chance to play The Original Trilogy (Episodes IV-VI). I thought the game was fun but short. The Complete Saga has allowed me to play the first game and replay the second, giving me a much more satisfying experience. It took me a solid 21.5 hours to achieve 100% completion and I'm a little sad to say goodbye. Thankfully though, Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman are only a few months away... Now let's get to the review!

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