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The best Harry Potter game of all time

In recent weeks I've been playing pretty much one game and I've come to the conclusion that it's the best Wizarding World game of all time. That game is Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup.

For those who don't know, Quidditch World Cup is a Quidditch sports sim made by EA Sports and released in 2003, think Madden on Broomsticks. It came out it came out on PlayStation 2, the Gameboy Advance, Xbox, PC and the Gamecube. I played the Gamecube version but all versions are the same.

Surprisingly it's actually a really good game. It's very clunky at points, some of the training levels border on being unbelievably painful to the point of actually wanting to turn it off. It's very easy, you'll almost always find yourself winning by a stupidly large margin. It's also extremely lovable though, especially when playing with other people. By the second game of the World Cup I was fully invested.

What makes it the best Harry Potter game though? For a start there aren't many genuinely great Harry Potter games. Movie tie-ins have always been a very difficult thing to get right. The direct movie games were all on the slightly poorer side of the spectrum with the exception of the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone game which interstingly uses the same character model for Harry Potter. The Lego Harry Potter games are great and to be honest probably better games but that wouldn't be interesting to argue as that's a popular opinion. There's a reason though that for the sake of the article I will argue that Quidditch World Cup is better, it's originality. We've seen Lego games before, they're all great but we've seen it before, Quidditch World Cup is something we had never seen before and probably never will again. Quidditch World Cup is to Harry Potter what Star Wars Racer is to Star Wars.

Quidditch World Cup is a surprisingly well designed, good looking game too. It feels weird to say but I actively liked all of the different arenas that each Quidditch nation had. Obviously it looks very dated but when you're just playing it and not analysing every pixel it actually looks surprisingly good. There's cool little cut scenes of characters like Hermione and Ron celebrating goals (is that what they're called) and other moments which is a very cool little touch. It might be nice if there were more nations to play as and more arenas to visit, it's very much a case of it being primarily Northern Hemisphere Western countries (you know, the nations that J.K Rowling has nothing against), but the places that do feature all have impecably well designed home grounds.

I don't know exactly who the target audience was for Quidditch World Cup, the Wizrding World and FIFA fanbase crossover probably isn't the biggest, I know I wouldn't have rushed out to buy it. Despite this, it's a tonne of fun. It's not the kind of game that would win any awards and as far as I can tell it didn't but it's the sort of game that you would probably get for christmas, let it sit around for months before finally putting it on and having a great time with it.

I do have a couple complaints though, but these aren't so much about the game and are more about the general Harry Potter universe. I hate the names quaffle, bludger, beater, and snitch. They're silly, no other sport has names like this. The fact that Quidditch is called Quidditch because it's from Quidditch Marsh is silly, it's like Golf being from Golf Creek. The concept makes no sense, it could all so easily be manipulated with magic by any of the players or anyone in the crowd, just like in the movies. It's also odd that a world cup has no African or South American participants, most world cups have an emphasis on the world part. Finally, why is the Nordic team a thing, are there players from every Nordic nation, could they not have had separate teams?

There's a trailer for you if you're interested. Looks pretty fun right? Sure, it looks a bit stupid and it absolutely is but Harry Potter Quidditch World Cup is more fun than any Harry Potter content (aside from the Lego games) that has come out since and I'm saying that one hundred percent honestly. I'm not suggesting that you rush out and buy a console and play Quidditch World Cup, I don't know what I'm suggesting really, but what I am saying is that the (second) best bit of Harry Potter non book media is something you never would have expected. If you're interested in checking it out and are able to work an emulator I'd highly recommend it, it's well worth a look.

If you want to hear more about Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup you can download episode 2 of the Cloven Hoof podcast where we talk about why we loved it and give our thoughts on the new Fantastic Beasts movie. We'll also be recording our playthrough of the Quidditch World Cup final at some point if gameplay is what you're interested in (although there's no rigid timeframe on that one).

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