The Order of the Phoenix follows Harry Potter through his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The game takes place throughout the school — which is very large. At the beginning of the game, as in the movie, Harry is supposed to go before the Ministry of Magic to cast a spell to protect himself and his cousin.
The game mirrors the movie’s depiction of rooms in the Hogwart’s. The paintings and stairs move; players sometimes have to wait for the latter to be in the right position to continue.
The game uses the Marauder’s Map to help the player navigate the large school. When the map is opened, the player selects an area or a person to find. A star on the map points out the location. When the map is put away, footmarks in the ground lead towards the area that was marked on the map, making it easy for the player to find.
The game uses locations and other characters to create quests and levels. When players find a character, the character will often have a task that must be completed, using the spells Harry already knows. One task involves Harry cleaning a trophy room before the Filch returns.
At times, the game seems disconnected. The scenes sometimes cut from one area to another, suddenly changing time and space. The game skips large amounts of time, particularly when characters are in class, and often doesn’t seem to flow. The game does use the Daily Prophet to speed up getting information to the players.
The game doesn’t really seem to have any perception of time. When Harry cleans the trophy room, there is no timer to say how long the player have left, and the Filch appears just after the cases are repaired.
There are minor differences between the Wii and the PS3 version. The more fun Wii version has the player moving the remote like a wand to cast the spells, the PS3 has the player moving the analog controller, in similar motions. Unfortunately, EA doesn’t have the Wii sensing down as well as Nintendo, probably because the Wii is still a relatively new system. Often it takes a few tries for the game to realize what spell is being cast. Casting spells by simply moving the controller in the PS3 is easier and less aggravating. That version also has better graphics than the Wii, but not always as many as it should. Some of the characters look like block figures, but he backgrounds in the PS3 version are clearer. The game otherwise plays the same with both versions.
The game is designed to allow players to beat it at their own speed and in their own order. The simple models for the characters make it easy to get multiple platforms released simultaneously. While the game could be better, it’s still fun and Harry Potter fans will likely enjoy it.
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts
Platform: All major platforms
Launch Date: June 2007
Rating: E – Everyone