Wonderbook: Book of Spells PS3 User Review
Super Gamer Dude
PS3 has brought us what is clearly meant to be an experiment for Move. Wonderbook: Book of Spells for PS3 looked great when it was presented at E3. It was something new, learning spells as they game off of the page. The problem came about when the actual game started to show through. The biggest flaw seen is the lack of an over-arching plot holding all of this together. Its not really enough of a "book" to hold the story together the way that anyone who is excited to be back in the world of Harry Potter wanted it to be.
The game itself takes place in augmented reality. Your living room becomes a seat inside of Hogwarts and you're going to sit down and learn spells like any student wants to. The way the book is presented it casts itself as required reading for the students and the rich world that J.K Rowling made for all of us is only presented in a lackluster way at best. The game, for the most part, follows its own formula, exactly. Without any deviation you're going to be learning four or five spells per chapter and that's it. You'll get a little introduction to the spell and then your goal is to master the incantation and the flick of the wand you'll need to perform this feat of magic.
In actuality, the spoken word part of each spell is well, awkward. You have to literally scream at the PlayStation Eye and for as exacting as the movement portion of the spell is the words don't really seem to matter. You can say whatever it is that you want and the mic will probably accept it. Shooting water from the tip of your wand with whatever made-up doggerel you decided only stays fun for so long.
As a game, it simply fails to deliver. The build up is intense. As you're learning all of this magic, blasting imps and Dementers with all of the tricks you're picking up you'd really think there would be some point to all of it. Perhaps this new student is going on an adventure of his or her own when all of this is said and done. No, to put it simply, no. The learning process is all of the whole of this game. Once you've picked up all of the spells and mastered all of the tests the game is over.
Mastering all of the spells and learning all of these things takes at most about two hours. It feels more like an extended tutorial than an actual game and the feeling left by the end is one of disappointment. The concept had a lot of potential but the actual product of that concept came up feeling hollow. With such a rich source material to draw from there's not really a good reason why the game did nothing but teach spells and have a half-hearted plot on rails.
It wasn't all bad, just not great.