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It's quite interesting watching the people who have created the Harry Potter machine labour on with a touch of discernible fatigue. It's well publicised that even the boy wizard's creator has tired a little of her magical child - now J.K. Rowling is already set up for life she might be wishing she'd planned for a four book series rather than a seven book one. Then there's Warner Brothers, painfully aware that there's a risk that their movie tie ins might not all get made before their star either loses interest or gets too stubbly. As for the people at Electronic Arts towers, while the publishing arm may well relish the yearly re-surfacing of their annual cash cow in time for Chrimbo, we can't help but wonder if Hogwarts isn't getting a little bit old for the developers.
This year we're up to number four, and it may well prove to be the last big year for the conjuring kiddo, though a bumper one all the same, with the bulk of reports from press screenings remarking that the latest effort, directed by Mike Newell, is 'actually quite good' and even 'the best Potter film yet'.
The book sees the sorcerous sprog participate in an international competition amongst three centres of wizarding excellence, of which Hogwarts is of course one. The Triwizard Tournament requires you defeat a fire breathing dragon, rescue friends from the terrifying Black Lake, and find your way through a mysterious maze. All in a day's work for your average pimply, parlour trick performing pipsqueak, you might say, but it's never simple is it and the tiresome Lord Voldemort is back from the dead yet again, hell bent on Harry's destruction.
The varied environments make a welcome change from the yearly reconstruction of Hogwarts and this adds some fresh magical herbs to the EA recipe. And the character swapping seen in the last Potter game evolves even more, with the generous provision of co-operative play for up to three chums, as Harry, Ron and Hermione. The pals are ever more proficient, so spells are far more impressive than anything you'll have yet seen in a Potter game, and a levelling up system allows the talented trio to become even more mighty as play progresses. The film is the best yet. Does the game live up to its silver screen senior sibling?