Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, 9¾ Weeks Later…

28 Aug

After more than a month of playing Niantic/Port Key Game’s Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the addiction is real. Searching for missing fragments of various foundables makes me feel like I’m going through the Deathly Hallows experience. I’m reminded of when Potter, Granger and Weasley were looking for the horcruxes containing parts of Voldemort’s soul. The only difference is these people and objects are not intentionally splitting themselves apart. Paywall problems aside, I want my fantastic beasts whole.

This game is essentially about collecting pieces to a jigsaw puzzle where players have little control of finding the final segment. Unless a radar is put into the game, finding that last deoxy will be difficult. Alternatively, players can use Discord to report where Ron Weasley’s right ear went. This game is all about exploring and hoping that final fragment is nearby–either in the wild or hidden in a fortress.

When I’ve saved the Wizarding world from everything that’s lost or trapped, I’ll consider the game finished. I have zero interest in restarting building the fragments of a lost Gryffindor student (version two) for more experience points. Replay value is defined by finding secret levels than grinding. As I said in my first impressions article, partnership with theme parks are going to be required to keep this game fresh where players can truly gather to defeat hard to defeat foes.

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For a game called Wizards Unite, the only time players help each other put is only with tower battles. With this product, players cannot team up to defeat severe or emergency level random trace encounters. I feel this idea is better than guzzling more power up potions to take that elusive Golden Snitch down. Getting drunk on elixirs is not a good idea. Thankfully in AR, player avatars do not need to go to the loo.

When considering the word amongst fellow players is that Wizards Unite is simply Pokémon GO with different window dressing, I agree. The only difference, code-wise, is with how players can develop skills in all three professions to alter the outcome of battles or help each other out at the towers. Until more skills unlock, once the occupation is all levelled up, players are simply racking up books and scrolls to use in another job’s skill tree.

Sorry Niantic, but I feel this game is a fail in the long run. Having officially sanctioned organized Fan Festivals is a good one, but when will Universal’s theme park get involved? Congregating there makes more sense in a revenue standpoint (all parties earn money) and for fellow fans than a host city to which not everyone can get to. I eventually will stop playing for the simple reason there’s no big challenge to keep me glued. If there’s any innovation to the AR front—to which this company wants to be at the forefront of—this game has very little to offer. With people turning that option off to conserve battery power, it’s time to switch off and play the far more engaging Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs instead.

 

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