Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4
|Lego Harry Potter:
Cover art for Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4
|Series||Lego Harry Potter|
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1–4 is a Lego-themed action-adventure video game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Warner Bros. The game is based on the Lego Harry Potter line and its storyline covers the first four films in the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The game is available on the Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Microsoft Windows, OS X and iOS. The OS X version of the game was released on 22 February 2011 by Feral Interactive.
Lego Harry Potter's gameplay is similar to that of most previous Lego games, with an emphasis on collecting, exploring, and solving puzzles. Casting spells is an integral part of the gameplay, with a wide range of spells available for unlocking as the player progresses. As there are many spells available in the game, the player can use the spell wheel to select the spell. Potion-making is another integral feature; potions can help the player complete levels or, if created incorrectly, have adverse side effects such as turning the player into a frog.
Changes to the mechanics of previous games include 'Student in Peril' missions, which are a group of challenges to help a student, and Polyjuice Potion, which allows players to temporarily change one of the player's characters into any other mini-figure unlocked. A major change is to the hub system. The Leaky Cauldron works as a central hub for purchasing unlockable extras and returning to previous levels, while Hogwarts acts as a constantly evolving massive hub with the unlockable characters found by picking up their hidden portraits. 
The bigger areas in Hogwarts have led developer Traveller's Tales to improve the overall level design. Also included is another bonus level that allows players to customize the level similar to Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues. If the player is lost in-game, they can follow a trail of Ghost Studs to the next level. These do not count towards the stud total, but will guide the player to the next section of the level. However one of the collectible 'red bricks', found in the courtyard next to Herbology, gets the player an 'extra' that makes the ghost studs worth 1,000 each. 
The central hub is Diagon Alley and its entrance through the Leaky Cauldron. Players can access a room at the second floor of the building to watch videos from the game, as well as using a notice board with pictures from where the player can play completed levels again. Diagon Alley serves as a series of stores where the player is able to buy characters or change a number of customizable ones, spells, and bricks that have a varying range of uses, such as changing the player's wand to a carrot, or making the player invincible. Players are also able to visit Gringotts or Borgin and Burkes in order to play extra levels. There are 167 characters purchasable in the game.
The game covers a wide range of characters of the first four parts, from notable ones like Albus Dumbledore, and Severus Snape, to others like Viktor Krum in shark form or the Trolley Witch from the Hogwarts Express.
The storyline is substantially unaltered from the movies, with slight changes to allow consistent two-player mode throughout the game.
The game employs the two player split-screen technique introduced in Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues. There is also online support for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The plotline of the game differs from that of the books and films several times in order to have at least two characters in each level. For example, Hermione (accidentally) joins Harry during the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, which was unlike both the book and the film, where Harry fights the dragon alone. Another example is in the final boss fight with Voldemort, Cedric is there to help and dies when trying to escape in the last cutscene, despite that in the book and movie, Cedric was killed before Voldemort's reincarnation.
Changes for the Nintendo DS, PSP, and iOS versions
In the Nintendo DS, PSP, and iOS versions, several changes were made from the versions of the other formats. There is only one hub, the Room of Requirement, but the explorable Hogwarts and Diagon Alley hubs of the other versions were removed and both boss battles and spellcasting were simplified. Also, unlike all previous Travelers Tales Lego Games, the Nintendo DS, PSP and iOS versions have written sentences. In other Lego games before 2012, the Lego figures only grunted to each other. The DS version uses touchscreen controls to perform spells, and is a downscaled port of the PSP version.
News of the game's existence was leaked in March 2009, although rumours had been circulating since late 2008. Warner Bros. officially confirmed the game in June 2009 with an estimated release of 2010.
A teaser trailer was released on the day of the game's official announcement followed by four individually released vignettes, beginning in December 2009. Each vignette focussed on one of the first four years featured in the game. A new trailer was released to coincide with the game's launch. All six trailers are available on the official website. A demo of the game was made available to download from PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and PC in June 2010.
The game received generally positive reviews. Official Nintendo Magazine gave the Wii and DS version 80%. Saying that it was "one of the best Harry Potter games ever", but that it lacked originality compared to previous Lego games. GameSpot gave the console versions an 8/10, complementing the large amount of secrets and charm. IGN praised the game giving it an 8.5, complementing the new additions to the game, while the PSP version of the game received a 7.0. IGN editor Nicole Tanner awarded it "Best Mindless Fun".
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