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Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban, the Dementors are tracking him down and the executioner is coming for Buckbeak. Yes, Harry Potter is in deep again, so he's bringing back-up. While Prisoner of Azkaban has a similar game design to Chamber of Secrets and Sorcerer's Stone, but makes Harry's solo adventure a trio. Ron and Hermoine tag along this time around and the results are a mixed bag. First, let's talk about the advantages of a party. Having several characters allows for more complex puzzles and larger battles. Each of the three characters have specific abilities and learn different spells. So, you'll use Hermoine to crawl under a door and repair a statue or have Harry jump a gap and pull open a bridge. It seems odd, however, that Hermoine seems to learn the majority of the spells. And now, for the problem. Having three characters with these controls can make for frustrating puzzles, as you try to get everyone where they need to be. Often, the other two will get in the way when you're backtracking down a corridor. And finally, when you get into battles, don't rely on your team mates AI to help you much. The graphics are much improved over the previous games. The grounds of Hogwarts are vast and fully explorable. Although, the actual school has less to explore than before. More notable is the amount of load screens you run into and their noticeable length Although the game has plenty of collection quests, a few mini-games and plenty of house points to collect, it's actually quite short. I finished the game in a day. Sure, I didn't collect everything, which would likely take a little longer, but I had enough points to win the house cup (which is the main reason you do the extra stuff). There's a bunch of ideas that went into Prisoner of Azkaban and it's an enjoyable experience. But with it's short length, multitude of load screens and mediocre mini-games, the series is still looking for it's perfect formula.
When I first got this game I was twelve and I sucked at video games (I still suck at video games). This was the first game that I ever beat and I've beaten it several times, but the reason I love it is because I'm a huge Zelda fan (OoT especially) and the gameplay is similar to modern Zelda gameplay (gen. 5+). This game is perfect for beginners and less skilled gamers. The puzzles are complicated and you'll feel proud when you solve them, but you don't really have to be worried about dying too much if you're not particularly skilled at combat gaming.