Hogwarts Legacy Review
Our Review of Hogwarts Legacy does not reflect our thoughts and opinions shared by the creator of its franchise. We condemn any hate put toward the LGBTQIA+ community, and its allies. Trans Rights are Human Rights.
Oh boy. I want to make something clear, I didn’t grow up with the Harry Potter franchise, regardless of it being shoved in my face for years of my childhood. I didn’t see the allure, the hype, the need to invest my limited time into reading a 500 page manuscript on wizardry. I’m not dismissing the series and its impact on anyone’s upbringing, I just never thought it was that interesting. The only time I was invested in Harry Potter, was the film series, and even then the first film bored me to tears. Trying to separate myself from those pre-conceived notions, Hogwarts Legacy is a well crafted action-adventure RPG that mitigates the prolonged, and ever embellished narrative the Harry Potter books prided itself on, but while it does best to streamline its efforts in story to gameplay, its campaign withers like a spark to a poorly executed spell.
Initially brimming with such promise right in the opening moments, its prologue gives players some insight to what is expected for your protagonist and their journey. It should be noted that regardless of an original tale told, the foundations of Harry Potter’s own destined outcome is heavily influenced, almost like they should have subtitled the game “Hogwarts Legacy: The next Harry Potter“. There are excellent demonstrations of worldly design, but its platforming falls somewhat short in how the game performs and manoeuvres, almost to the point where it was eerily reminiscent of Team ICO’s The Last Guardian, and its unorthodox control scheme. A rocky initiation pre-emptively excited me, that was until its Uncharted inspired opening moments had me completely befuddled as to what Avalanche – under its Portkey Games label – was trying to deliver.
A little less conversation, a little more action, please...
Try to take this review as an outsider coming in. I am familiar with cornerstone characters and their role within the Potter Universe, but with them absent I was almost like a lost child in a complex scrambling to look for a friendly face. Without any connection to any notable characters, I really could not connect on a personal level, and yes this partly my doing due to the fact that I have never really invested that much time into the franchise as some would have. So if you’re looking for a review that serves the purpose of catering a devout Harry Potter fan, then I can’t give you that here. What I can do is give you what I thought of Hogwarts Legacy, as someone who appreciated the franchise for being what it was, and as a gamer peering in to what I wanted. There’s an ongoing slight within cinematic gaming that’s forced narrative flow to become stifled with roadblocks of endless dialogues and cutscenes, one after the other.
Hogwarts Legacy falls into that category, with some aimless cutscenes that are purposed merely for fanservice, but then there’s useful and inquisitive conversation that can be quick and easy to listen to. That being said, with the beginning of the game introducing our nameless protagonist to Professor Fig and George Osric in cinematic fashion, akin to a fully fledged motion picture. While I can say most dialogue is well performed, some of it can drone on without anything imperative to the campaign’s matters. Upon primary consultations, the trio are escorted toward Hogwarts via carriage which manages to crash after an attack by a hostile dragon that rips the vehicle in two halves, not before they discover a key enclosed a locked cylinder which could only be opened by our protagonist after only they seeing a glow coming from its crest embedded on the side.
After Fig and our protagonist survive the dragon’s onslaught, they land safely to shore after jumping out of the opened carriage. Investigating what was inside the cylinder, Fig reveals the item to be a Portkey that allows those handling it to transport to Gringotts – a wizardry bank in Great Britain, founded by goblins in 1474. Using the Portkey, they enter an old vault which holds ancient magic, to which we learn our protagonist can see. Fig and our protagonist narrowly escape the situation, and we’re suddenly taken to Hogwarts where we begin our story at the university. It should be noted that Hogwarts Legacy takes place in the 1800’s, a century before the events of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but the similarities between story events and parallel characters are evident enough for any Potter fanatic to pick up.
Now in Hogwarts Castle, the campaign follows our ambitious wizard in training and their adventure through Hogsmeade and Scotland, hoping to find the meaning behind the existence of the Portkey, and how it could potentially render magic and wizardry extinct. Playing the title in third person, you gauge its fundamentals just after the carriage crash, with Fig guiding you through some basics. The questionable control scheme that has a unique auto-assist in aiming toward an object makes it somewhat jarring before you can even attack or cast a spell. Leaping across cavernous pits while trying to maintain steady balance aside a tall cliffside was text book Nathan Drake, but somehow felt unrefined. Upon orientation through Hogwarts itself, with the sorting hat choosing your house to represent while staying.
I was hopeful and granted Gryffindor for my playthrough, but a part of me did want to try Slytherin – maybe if I ever pick this one up again. This is all comprised through how you may design your character’s appearance, given quite a number of choices, but nothing extraordinary to shuffle through. From gender, appearance, accessories (yes, I started with a pair of Potter-like specs until I was sick of them), there’s quite the suite to choose from. You appearance, along with Hogwarts interior and exterior will change to suit the seasonal changes throughout your stay in Hogwarts, with a nice mellow overture to accompany the type of surroundings you may encounter. I’m unsure whether this changes depending on which house you’re assigned, but one can only assume with a more devious outlook within Slytherin, it would seem appropriate to do so.
✔️ Beyond gorgeous. A magical world to explore and experience.
✔️ Seamless exploration makes for some great traversing.
➖ Some fun gameplay mechanics, but its control scheme is terrible at times.
❌ If not completely enamoured with Potter, it may be cumbersome.
The main attraction of Hogwarts Legacy is its touted bountiful exploration, and there’s no shortage in terrain to explore. The game is incredibly large, and carries a great weight of objectives to follow out. With the campaign itself lasting around 13 hours, there’s an abundance of sidequests to uptake, along with classes to attend and hone new skills. The title’s levelling system is carried through experience points which are earned by learning spells, abilities and talents. This is all cultivated through certain tasks like fetch quests, and combats to which allow the player to pick up new offensive styles.
Brewing potions and studying new spells are all a part of the scholastics at Hogwarts, but the big adventure mandates more character development and plot progression like meeting and befriending other students, discourse with jealous rivals and finding little trinkets and collectables along your way. Personalising your Room of Requirement is a nice touch, that also gives some purpose to prolonging the experience, but for players that are primarily in it for the campaign alone, won’t pay much attention to this.
Altercations with unidentified creatures and magical beasts can be a little cumbersome, but in fairness can be fun depending on which type you try to tame. Dragons, trolls, mooncalves and thestrals are just a few examples of such that can be made to aid you in any encounters. Keeping up with you furry or scaly friends can be fun, but there is so much to do and see that you may forget or the mountains of dialogue you have to scroll through may take up any spare time you have to actually do anything casual during your campaign. The Vivarium farms them, and gives them a place to stay while you continue your adventure. As much as I wanted to invest my time in anything other than the campaign itself, I found its tedious experience was almost pushing me to finish the game at the 12 hours mark. The dialogue was way too overwhelming to follow and as much as I appreciate the detail placed, and the easter that are surely evident through conversation, I can’t say that I was enamoured by it.
What I can say was bedazzling about the game was its stunning visuals, and excellent traversal style. Boarding your broom and zooming through lush valleys is truly liberating, especially when trying to get a good view on specific areas of the game. While character models may be questionable in detail, the world surrounding you is awe inspiring. Depending on the time of day, you’re sure to take some incredible snaps to share on social media, with lighting, shading, particle effects and just general architectural and aesthetic value that left me jaw-jacked. This was emphatically my highlight of Hogwarts legacy, the few hours I could escape reality and dive into this gorgeous world. Brilliantly designed, it manages to really present a magical aura surrounding the vicinity of Hogwarts Castle.
Hogwarts Legacy is an admirable effort in creating a universe for those in love with the Potterverse, but for casuals such as myself, you will find it to be somewhat bare in relatable colloquy, or recognisable dialogue to appreciate that side of the title. On the other hand, a beyond majestic environment, fun quests and some questionable quirks will have you engaged enough to want to complete the campaign to its end, after that its up to the player whether its important enough to re-visit a second time around or be a completionist. As for me, it’s a one and done deal – not that I would classify it as a bad experience, rather just not an experience for me. The crux of this relatability and again, it’s almost none. Without any familiarity toward the subculture that is enveloped in Hogwarts Legacy, it will be a divisive experience – and of course the other thing too… you know what I’m talking about.
Hogwarts Legacy - WB Games
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Hogwarts Legacy is an upcoming action role-playing game developed by Avalanche Software and published by Warner Bros. Games under its Portkey Games label. The game is set in the Wizarding World universe, based on the Harry Potter novels.