Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has just released, much to the delight of many Harry Potter fans. The game is made by Niantic, the same people who made Pokémon GO. The two games function in similar ways in that they both use mostly the same locations to gather supplies and participate in battles. They both also encourage collecting items and exploring the world around you through walking.
While both games have their advantages and disadvantages, fans of Pokémon GO and Harry Potter now have the chance to enjoy and play both. We’ve put together a list of things Wizards Unite does better than Pokémon GO, and other areas in which it falls short.
10 BETTER: ADDS ONTO EXISTING LORE OF ITS FRANCHISE
One of the great things about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is that it allows fans to participate in the world in a way that adds to the lore. Characters like Harry and Hermione are there to give tips and information about what is going on, and the story combines aspects of both the original series and the newer Fantastic Beasts movies.
This allows players to feel like they are part of a new and continuing story in the world they’re familiar with.
9 WORSE: LESS DIRECTLY TIED INTO THE LORE
While Wizards Unite definitely features a continuation of the lore, it does take a while to get acclimatised to what's going on. You’re not a student at Hogwarts or anything directly from the series. In Pokémon Go, however, it’s very clear how you’re a part of the universe.
You’re a Pokémon trainer who is going around the world collecting Pokémon and participating in battles, just like in the anime. This makes it very simple to feel immersed right away.
8 BETTER: MUCH DEEPER GAMEPLAY
In many ways, Wizards Unite was able to take the things that made Pokémon GO great and then improve upon them. This is definitely an advantage to having a second game that uses the existing maps and structures.
The game has a lot more going on. There are skill trees, potions to make, battles, and items to collect. This means you can invest a bit more in the game, as it requires you to be more attentive which encourages longer gameplay. There's often a throwaway sort of feeling with mobile games, but Wizards Unite is surprisingly deep.
7 WORSE: TAKES LONGER TO FIGURE EVERYTHING OUT
On the other hand, all of the many complexities of Wizards Unite can make it a less straightforward and friendly to some players. Pokémon GO definitely encourages new players, even those who have never played any other game in the franchise before, because it’s so simple to understand.
Casual players can get the hang of it pretty quickly. There is definitely a steeper learning curve to Wizards Unite, as a result of its deeper gameplay and more complex mechanics.
6 BETTER: HAS MORE INTERACTIVE GRAPHICS
The overall look and presentation of Wizards Unite is more involved and advanced than Pokémon GO. This makes the game feel a lot more immersive at times.
Pokémon Go has a cute feel, but Wizards Unite has gone for a more realistic aesthetic. Not only that, but there's so much more going on, even in the simple encounters that pop up while you're out and about. The scenes feature a variety of magical creatures and witches and wizards in lots of different scenarios. Production values are darn high here.
5 WORSE: IT CAN SEEM A BIT DISJOINTED AND UNFOCUSED
One of the great things about Pokémon GO is that the objectives feel fairly simple. The main point is to walk around and catch as many Pokémon as you can and gather supplies at Pokéstops along the way. You can also participate in battles, but you don’t really have to in order to play the game and level up.
Wizards Unite has many more aspects to it and can feel a bit harder to understand. While, overall, it’s still about collecting supplies and items, the story is more complex which can make it seem like less of a straight line to an end goal. It's lacking a bit of that pick-up-and-play factor in comparison.
4 BETTER: YOU’RE NOT AS LIKELY TO GET BORED
However, because Wizards Unite is more complex and has more objectives involved, which makes for more involved and engrossing gameplay.
Pokémon GO can be really fun, but unless you’re in a place where you can spend a lot of time walking around, you’re likely not going to be super active daily. It can also get a bit monotonous. Because Wizards Unite is more complex and varied, there are always little things going on that you can do, even while just sitting in your own house.
3 WORSE: COLLECTING ITEMS DOESN’T FEEL AS FUN
There’s something so compelling about collecting different kinds of Pokémon. Since Pokémon GO keeps adding new Pokémon as it goes along, it’s impossible to really catch them all, which makes you want to keep going. The creatures are cute and exciting, and you really feel like a Pokémon trainer.
With Wizards Unite, however, the items you collect don’t seem as relevant. These items are anything from magical creatures to artifacts and more, so it just feels a little more random and less cohesive. There's a bit less of a push to get out there and nab everything, as a result.
2 BETTER: MORE TAILORED TO EXISTING FANS
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, this game will absolutely feel like it was made for you. In many ways, Wizards Unite seems to expect that people playing will have some awareness of Harry Potter and the world. There are countless references, links and nods to the franchise's expansive world.
This is nice for fans, as it feels like the story is made for you. Pokémon GO is definitely easier for new people to join in, but if you want a game that lets you into an already existing franchise, Wizards Unite does a better job. Series newcomers are sure to have all kind of questions, though.
1 WORSE: YOU CAN’T CUSTOMIZE YOUR AVATAR
While this doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal, it does take some of the personal aspect out of things. The avatar you move around the map as is just a general, gender-neutral witch or wizard with a hat and robes on. They fly on a broomstick, and the Hogwarts House you pick will change their color.
In Pokémon GO, you get to choose your appearance and your outfit, which makes it feel more like it’s you in the game. This is something that Wizards Unite is bound to improve on as time goes by, but for now, fans of Niantic's other outing are likely to feel a little disappointed by that.