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Are LEGO Harry Potter and Star Wars Battlefront good games for someone who has never really played video games before? As it turns out, yes!
This is part 2 of the chronicles of introducing my girlfriend to video games. You can read part 1 here.
I am an avid gamer, but my girlfriend is not. Since gaming has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, I wanted to share my hobby with my significant other. And, much to my delight, she reluctantly agreed!
For the purpose of these stories, I will be calling my girlfriend Sophie.
I initially tried to get Sophie to play 'The Last of Us,' but it was too complicated for her. So I chose 'LEGO Harry Potter' instead. This is what happened.
I feel like this statement could be true for any of the LEGO games, but LEGO Harry Potter is a fantastic starting game for people who are new to gaming. That was especially true for my girlfriend Sophie. She already loved the Harry Potter universe, and the controls were easy enough that she could pick up and play in minutes. She also likes the LEGO Movie, so convincing her to play LEGO Harry Potter was pretty easy.
If you’ve read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies then you know the story. Young boy is told he’s a wizard, goes to wizard school, and happens to save the world from evil along the way. Classic stuff.
The game follows the books (and movies) relatively closely, but instead of reading the events as they unfold, Sophie and I were able to participate in them. I think that is one of the main reasons she enjoyed this game in particular, and it's the reason why I picked it over a different LEGO game like Star Wars. There would be multiple times where Sophie was excited to move on in the game to see a favorite part in the story. It also gave her a sense of accomplishment and pride whenever we were able to get past a major part of the game.
“Ohhh this is where we go to the basilisk, I wonder what that’ll be like,” she said after we completed the puzzles in the girl’s bathroom during year two.
Being able to participate in the story while also taking breaks to learn spells, complete puzzles, and explore Hogwarts was lots of fun. It also helps that the characters never actually say any words. They just make weird noises and gesture, which when added to the usual LEGO humor made the game even funnier.
Speaking of puzzles, the LEGO puzzles are easy enough to understand quickly, while not being so easy to complete that Sophie felt like they were more annoying than fun. She also enjoyed the platforming parts, thanks to her background in Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong on the SNES.
If there was a section that was too difficult, she could just destroy everything around her while I finished up the hard parts. And man, she loved to destroy things.
To be fair, it’s incredibly satisfying to shoot a spell at the environment and watch everything explode around you. Plus, pretty much everything had a lego piece we could collect to count towards our “True Wizard” rating.
The game was so much fun that eventually Sophie would ask me if we could play it instead of the usual suggestion from me. I think that’s the mark of a good game for beginners.
'Star Wars Battlefront' (2015)
The other game I introduced Sophie to around this time was Star Wars Battlefront. Not the one on the PS2/Xbox/PC from 10+ years ago, but the new one from EA and Dice that came out in 2015. Sure, it’s light on features, but I’m a huge fan of the original SWBF2 that even this barebones game was enough to satisfy me for a while.
Plus, it has couch co-op, something that’s been sorely lacking from modern shooters.
Now, I probably shouldn’t have suggested that Sophie and I play this game, especially since she didn’t really enjoy controlling the camera in The Last of Us. But I had an old tradition with my best friend from home where we would play a split-screen shooter involving waves of enemies and take a sip of whiskey after each enemy wave. It was really fun and I was feeling nostalgic, so I convinced Sophie to give it a try. I figured at worst I could carry us through the easy level on Tatooine, and it would still be pretty enjoyable. I was very surprised to find that it went much better than that.
There are a few different ways to play co-op in SWBF. The one we played, as you may have guessed, was the survival mode on Tatooine. This involves 15 different waves of enemies that slowly get harder and harder. First, it starts with just a few stormtroopers, but eventually you’re battling AT-STs, shielded troopers, and even invisible shadow troopers.
We were playing on easy of course, but even then the later waves got my blood racing.
I know Sophie was getting excited because she would be yelling and cheering whenever she faced down an enemy. She struggled with aiming at first, but the good thing about this Battlefront is that your lasers essentially go exactly where you point your crosshairs, so she was able to get the hang of it after a while.
Our basic strategy was to hide behind a pile of rocks on the northern edge of the map and pick people off from afar. If an AT-ST showed up, I would kite it around the map while Sophie took potshots with a grenade launcher or missiles.
We managed to get through all 15 waves on our first try, and when I asked Sophie if she liked the game she told me “Yes, but it was way too exciting.”
I’ll take it.
We’ve played a few more times since then, always on Tatooine, and each time went the same. Lots of yelling and swearing as we fought through the enemies, but lots of cheering when we finished a wave. After her very first time though, I took a picture of the end stats. Here’s the breakdown:
Waves completed: 15
Enemies defeated: Her - 38, Me - 90
Headshots: Her - 11, Me - 18
Lives used: Both - 1
Lives picked up: Her - 3, Me - 1
Sure, I defeated nearly three times as many enemies as she did, but her headshot-to-kills ratio is crazy good. I think I better watch out.
Next time I’ll talk about playing our first game together on the Nintendo Switch -- Shovel Knight!