Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Potter fends off Transformers

UK Charts: As brains eat the rest.

Harry Potter's latest videogame outing continues to dominate the UK charts - no doubt thanks to the recent launch of the film to which it ties in and last Saturday's release of the final book in JK Rowling's witches and wizards series.

Potter 5 demo on Xbox Live

Hogwarts and all.

Electronic Arts' chart-topping Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix videogame is now up on Xbox Live in downloadable demo form, so if you're into that, accio like a mother-f-.

Potter still top of the pops

Sales rocket as film approaches.

The latest film may not be set for a cinema release until this weekend, but Electronic Arts' Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix is already enjoying a second week at number one, with sales rising by 29 per cent, GamesIndustry.biz is reporting.

Potter spells chart success

Darkness shadowing it.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix magicked its way to the top of the UK all-formats charts this week, as the top forty was shaken up by a batch of high-profile new releases.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

As Potter fans around the world prepare for the Deathly Hallows' release next month, what better time to, er, play the game of the one before last? The point here, of course, is to keep step with the films, not the books - and so with Order of the Phoenix set to apparate down to the multiplex on 13th July, the timing is actually quite right. Can EA's latest capture the magic of the magic?

Where better to start with the answer to that question than in spellcasting itself - and the Order of the Phoenix initially seems an order of magnitude better off than before. The Wii and PS3 versions use motion-sensors, but where it's available the right-analogue-stick option is more precise, acting as a fairly natural interface between your thumb and the swirls and jabs of the on-screen cast. A simple range of motions takes care of all the important stuff: rotate left for reducto (smash things up), right for reparo (repair them); jab twice forward for depulso (push) and twice back for accio (pull). There are only a couple more to remember, but spellcasting is context-sensitive, so the scale of your options actually expands to fit duelling as well as housekeeping.

The same is also true of Hogwarts itself - quite possibly Potter 5's greatest asset. This time the entire castle's at your disposal, and EA's own brand of technical magic means you'll never encounter a load-screen as you trot past the Fat Lady and out of the Griffyndor common room, descend the stairs to the dungeons, pop down to Hagrid's cabin, head over to the boat-house and take in the gorgeous countryside, or even pop up to the owl-house for a snog with Cho. Challengeverythingo!

Read more