PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
Hogwarts Legacy is an action role-playing video game set in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, developed by Avalanche Software and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Although the game takes place in the late 1800s, several decades before the events of the Harry Potter series, for fans, the game allows players to fulfill their childhood fantasy of receiving their acceptance letter to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Hogwarts Legacy offers a captivating opportunity for fans and newcomers alike to step into a magical world full of exciting adventures. Unlike any other Harry Potter game in the past, this game allows players to create their own character. You play as a student at Hogwarts, explore not just the castle but the vast and immersive open world outside, which includes iconic locations such as Hogsmeade, and the Forbidden Forest, where you can spend countless hours not limited to just attending lessons, but even engage in magical combat.
In Hogwarts Legacy, players are sure to be absorbed for hours admiring the stunning open-world game before diving into its story. The game’s story centers around uncovering an ancient secret that could threaten the wizarding world, where you, the player, hold the key and possess the ability to manipulate a mysterious and forgotten form of magic. As this ancient magic resurfaces, you must help unravel why it has returned and stop those who seek to harness its power.
But players can take their time to enjoy the various puzzles, make friends by doing relationship quests, and attend classes. I love how the game encourages players to participate in side quests and rewards them with experience for almost every task they complete, where with each level-up, you gain new skills and powers.
Exploring the castle and its grounds is a delightful experience, with familiar sights like the grand staircase and dining hall and the ability to overhear other students’ conversations. The secrets of Hogwarts are endless, with new discoveries waiting to be uncovered even after many hours of play.
However, the absence of a few things that would have been key to a holistic experience makes it a tad bit disappointing. For example, the absence of Quidditch and the ability to romance other characters seems like a missed opportunity. And for an open-world game, you’d never think beds are useless in Hogwarts Legacy. Your starting area is a whole dorm room full of bunk beds. Soon enough, however, you will realize that there is simply no way to engage with it, then be dismayed to learn that sleeping is not an option either. Weird right?
Then there are cats. We all know that cats are the next most popular pet in this wizarding world, next to owls. On your first visit to Hogsmeade, you’d be delighted to know that you can interact with stray cats. Just press the corresponding button and enjoy a heartwarming cutscene where you kneel down to pet a cat in Hogwarts Legacy. However, after petting a lot, you’d soon realize that there are no tangible rewards for this action. Unlike other games where petting animals may be necessary to complete certain quests or missions, and players can interact with animal companions, to increase relationship levels or other stats which in turn, may improve performance in battles, etc., in Hogwarts Legacy petting cats will only, in consolation, give you a delightful moment in the game’s otherwise dark narrative.
The magic system in the game is well-designed and intuitive, allowing players to cast spells and perform magic in a variety of ways. The lesson system is also well-implemented, offering players the opportunity to learn new spells and improve their skills. The battles in the game are challenging, but not frustrating, and the variety of enemies and creatures keeps things interesting.
Combat is a key aspect of the RPG game, and players can unleash their spells on opponents, with the option to upgrade and chain spells together for maximum damage. The game’s combat can be messy, especially on higher difficulty levels, but with a wide range of skills, it can also be exhilarating. In addition to combat, there is plenty of loot to be collected, including clothing with varying rarity levels and stats.
Visually, Hogwarts Legacy is breathtaking, particularly when playing in a graphics-optimized mode on a 144Hz-enabled monitor. The textures and environments are rich with detail, from the lush greenery and forests to the intricate details inside the castle. The game’s graphics are impressive, with detailed environments, character models, and spell effects. The game’s graphics are optimized for a smooth and stunning experience, making it one of the best-looking games available in 2023.
The attention to detail in the design of Hogwarts Castle and its surrounding areas is particularly noteworthy, with intricate architecture and lush landscapes that truly bring the wizarding world to life. The game’s open-world environment is vast, allowing players to explore every nook and cranny of Hogwarts and its surrounding areas. The character customization options are also extensive, allowing players to create a unique character that truly represents them.
While Hogwarts Legacy offers a fantastic and immersive experience for fans of the Harry Potter franchise, it’s not without its flaws. I have encountered a few bugs and glitches, one time when my character got out of bounds stuck in between the floor and the wall, or saw a few things that were floating in mid-air (and not because of a spell), and when my companion started walking upside down like an anti-gravity curse was cast upon him. These things are not really game-breaking, funny in the least, and if one can dismiss them as “magic”, then I guess we’re still doing fine in that aspect. But don’t get me started on flying with a broomstick. This is probably the reason why Quidditch was removed from the game, because the controls are clunky, too clunky that riding a broom feels like driving a bike for the first time without training wheels.
Another issue with the game is the lack of choice and agency in the player’s story. While players have the opportunity to make decisions that affect their character’s progression and relationships, these choices are often limited and have little impact on the overall story. This lack of choice and agency can make the game feel repetitive and dull after a while.
I also wanted to touch on some controversies that the game has been involved in. Hogwarts Legacy’s inclusion of a transgender character has sparked both positive and negative reactions from fans of the wizarding world. On one hand, many have praised the game for promoting diversity and representation in Hogwarts Legacy. However, there are those who are concerned about the way this character has been portrayed in the game, and whether the developers will handle this representation sensitively.
Regardless of personal opinions, I think the inclusion of transgender characters in Hogwarts Legacy is a step forward in the gaming industry toward greater representation and inclusivity. It is important that the game’s developers are handling this with care and sensitivity, to ensure that the character is portrayed accurately and respectfully, especially since this game has been met with criticism from people who feel that Rowling’s past comments and actions on transgender issues make her an unsuitable figurehead for the franchise.
Some argue that her association with the game is a potential barrier to its success, as it could alienate fans who are supportive of the transgender community. The controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling and Hogwarts Legacy highlights the challenges faced by creators who must balance the legacy of a beloved franchise with the need to create inclusive and respectful content.
It’s safe to say that representation and inclusivity are crucial issues that need to be addressed in the gaming industry and all forms of media, but they should not be the sole reason to boycott a game entirely. The controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling and Hogwarts Legacy serves as a reminder of the power of media to shape attitudes and beliefs, and the responsibility of creators to create content that is inclusive and respectful of all people.
Despite these issues and some flaws, the game’s developers, Avalanche Software and Portkey Games, have done an impressive job of creating a unique and original experience within the beloved franchise. Its stunning graphics, well-designed magic system, and immersive open-world environment make it a must-play for fans of the Harry Potter franchise and action role-playing games. While there is room for improvement in areas such as character development and story, the game still offers a magical and enjoyable experience for players. Hogwarts Legacy offers players the closest they will ever get to attending Hogwarts, and the love and attention to detail put into the game is phenomenal. Although there are some drawbacks, they do not significantly impact the overall experience, which is beautiful to look at and enjoyable to play, allowing players to fulfill their dream of being a witch or wizard in the wizarding world.
Almost perfect if not for the nitty-gritty. If it’s quite there but not enough to push the boundaries, it’s still an awesome game.
Stunning graphics and rich environments that truly bring the wizarding world to life.
A well-designed and intuitive magic system with challenging battles.
The vast and immersive open-world environment offers countless hours of exploration.
The attention to detail in design and character customization options is impressive.
The absence of Quidditch and inability to romance other characters are missed opportunities.
Lack of choice and agency in the player's story can make the game feel repetitive.
Bugs and glitches can be encountered in the game, and the flying controls can be clunky.
The controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling's involvement may alienate some fans.