I was lucky enough to spend about a half hour with LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 earlier today at E3 and I had a blast (er an Expelliarmus!). I've been a fan of both the movies and books, so I was super excited With the help of a booth babe, I played through the end of the 1st year and through a bit of the beginning of year 2. The booth babe also informed me that we were playing a retail copy, and if we wanted could play all the way through the game! Sadly, I had to make time for Super Scribblenauts and had to leave, even though I could have played the entire game. Here are my impressions.
First of all, the graphics are colorful, crisp, and everything you would expect from LEGO title. I played through the PS3 version and the game ran beautifully. The visual staples of the Harry Potter world were intact: the characters, special items, and places. Harry's scar, Dudley's pudgey belly, The Weasley's red hair, Professor Quirrell, Hagrid and his beard, and a almost cute Voldemort were all present in their LEGO glory. I saw the living chess game, the flying key room, the Dursley's house, Hogwards, and Knockturn Alley. One of the funniest parts of what I played was when Harry floo powdered into Knockturn Alley and was being curious (oh you'll see what I mean).
Harry, Hermoine, and Ron are the playable characters and you could have a friend playing along side you while the computer controlled the 3rd character. You can switch your spells from Wingardium Leviosa to levitate things and people, to a vine killing spell (I don't recall what the name of this one is). Aside from those, Harry could don his trusty cloak of invisibility (I never had to use it), and Ron can call his rat Scabbers (which I also didn't use). In keeping with the story, Harry is the only one that could fly a broom (well).
When I picked up the controller, we were in the room with the attacking vines. Next we had to figure out how to grab that pesky flying key. After that we somehow cleared the living chess room, where Ron of course ends up staying behind. Finally, Hermoine and Harry take on a possessed Professor Quirrell in a room full of flames and fiery pits. Since I hadn't played too much of the game before, it took some time to figure out how to defeat Quirrell. Voldemort makes a guest appearance and the game concludes after some more story, leading to the second year.
Just like the movies, you start out at the Dursley's in the introductory movie, and afterwards you pop into the outside of the Weasley's. This is the area to get you accustomed to the spells and whatnot, flipping carrots that turn into rockets and spinning gnomes into basketball hoops (seriously). After playing around inside of the house, you floo powder to Knockturn Alley and have a little fun figuring out puzzles with Hagrid. The puzzles that were in the second game's beginning took some thinking and paying attention to detail in order to conquer them. After you work your way through the alley, you cutscene to Hogwarts, and that is where my time with this game ended.
As a fan, I would totally tell y'all to get this game. It was a fun take on the Harry Potter franchise, and I enjoyed travelling back into that world. The multiplayer aspect was fun, and if the other person leaves, you can drop them out and let the computer take over. I also liked the expressions of the characters and how the games have a sense of humor about them, usually without saying any words. All in all, I can't wait for this game, and lucky for me (and you!) it releases June 29th!