Harry Potter Game EA Games

The Power Up gaming blog focuses on superheroes and superpowers this week, with Harry Potter and Captain America in the firing line. Michael Phelps, DiRT3 and Lara Croft also feature.

What’s the story with Harry Potter and Captain America?
Now that we’re slap-bang in the middle of blockbuster season, those inevitable movie tie-in games are coming in thick and fast. We’ve talked about this particular cash-in phenomenon before, but thus far we’ve failed to ask if said digital money-spinners ever actually enhance the viewer experience.

Clearly the appeal of this sort of thing is for fans to be given the opportunity to walk in their heroes’ shoes, but far too often they fail to do little more than replay scenes from the film. And when a new game costs upwards of £35 (roughly €40), we really feel they should give you a lot more bang for your buck.

Take Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for example. A third-person over-the-shoulder game in the vein of Gears Of War, it follows on from Part One in the hunt for those pesky horcruxes and leads to the ultimate showdown with the snake-faced bastard that is Lord Voldemort.

It’s a decent enough game and the Kinect/Move capabilities gives players the chance to dispel Stupify and Confundus charms in an amusingly wand-like fashion, but in terms of expanding the Potter experience it’s a bit of a letdown simply because all it does is recreate some of the more action-centric scenes from the movie.

That’s fair enough if all you want from a game is the chance to zap Death Eaters over and over again but not so great if you don’t get turned on the feeling of déjà vu.

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A less technically impressive game but better value for diehard fans is Captain America: Super Soldier. Sega’s tie-in to the upcoming Avengers prologue may suffer from repetitive gameplay and oversimplified action but it does stand out from the crowd because it gives fans of the star-spangled superhero not only the chance to chuck a shield around and choose from three different costumes (the film version, the Ultimates incarnation and the classic comic-book outfit) but it also introduces an all-new storyline that runs alongside the plot of the film – and in glorious 3D too (if you’ve got the right sort of television!)

Following one of Cap’s Second World War missions after he’s transformed from eight-stone weakling to buffed-up pinnacle of human perfection, the game chucks you right over the shoulder of a nicely-rendered Steve Rogers (he really does look a lot like actor Chris Evans) into a war zone populated by Hydra soldiers, femme fatales and evil scientists. While it doesn’t exactly push the gaming envelope, in terms of fan sating, it’s a very satisfying experience.

When it comes to giving story-hungry fans what they want then, it’s gold stars-a-go-go for Captain America and a few measly points for Gryffindor. Mr Potter really must try harder.

Let’s Get DiRT3
When he’s not busy preparing himself for WRC Rally Finland and getting massively dissed by Travis Pastrana (check out an awesome X Games face slap here) it seems that rally driver Ken Block likes nothing more than crashing through cardboard boxes at London’s Battersea Power Station – different strokes for different folks, we guess.

Block, you see, is one of many renowned rally drivers – numerous Red Bull-affiliated ones among them – who have stamped their seal of approval on the mud-flecked masterpiece that is DiRT3.

Codemasters’ instant classic (which is available to buy now) is one of the most authentic digital off-road driving experiences we’ve ever played. Taking the innovations of the US-centric DiRT2 and going on a huge worldwide journey, it gives you the chance to test your mettle in every possible driving condition. Check out Block’s box-bashing escapade below and then get yourself a copy tout suite.

Get Wet With Michael Phelps
If there’s one activity we never expected to be seen trying out on Kinect, it’s swimming. Fighting, dancing – hell – even cooking, but swimming? Not so much. That’s all about to change, however, as we don digital Speedos to join pool superstar Michael Phelps for Push The Limit, a family game that aims to prove that wetter is better.

Exclusive to Kinect for Xbox 360, the game allows players to crawl their way through a career mode where they race against either Michael himself or friends and family members. Clearly water wings won’t be needed but we are a little concerned about the possible sharp rise in flailing-arm-related injuries in the home.

Tomb Raider: The Early Years
This year’s E3 was awash with all manner of exciting gameplay and trailer revelations, but few were quite as astonishing as the big reveal for Crystal Dynamics’ audacious Lara Croft series reboot. A violent, bloody, back-to-absolute-basics retelling of everyone’s favourite Tomb Raider’s early years, it is quite simply gorgeous.

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it now dammit; if you have, then you should delve into the all-new extensive making-of video to gleam some tidbits about what is sure to be the game of 2012.

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