Hogwarts Legacy Review

Hogwarts Legacy game
Hogwarts Legacy – awesome open-world RPG based on Harry Potter story

Everyone who loves fantasy has a gateway. A film, book, or game that kicks the door open to new universes where anything can happen. My Gateway was a book series depicting a classic coming-of-age story, good versus evil, which I completely devoured in middle school. My grandfather gave me the books he had stolen from the library over a decade ago.

In the margins and covers, others who had borrowed the books had written what they thought and felt about them. I remember the dizzying sense of belonging with those scrambling people who, by then, must have grown up and had more important things to do than swoon over a fantasy world. Few things unite as much as fantasy. Around recognized authors and their works, communities are created where everyone is welcome to sit around campfires, write fan-fictions, meet at meet-ups, and so on. Fantasy touches people.

I returned to the author at regular intervals throughout my childhood. It felt safe and very homely, somehow. Until one day quite recently – long after his death – a horrific story from his hitherto unknown past came to light, and I decided never to open his books again. I was absolutely devastated.

Similarly, the sparkle in the eyes of many Harry Potter fans was probably extinguished when the author of the books, J.K. Rowling, suddenly started making increasingly controversial statements about gender identity and transgender people on the free speech arena of Twitter. You can read her manifesto about it here.

Instead of plinking music, wands, and cozy Christmas holidays at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, J.K. Rowling’s online presence now seems to consist mainly of acrimonious Twitter duels with activists and a hurtful discourse about and against transgender people that has long divided fans, far from the magical world of fairy tales. Harry Potter actors have distanced themselves. Books have been burned. The influential gaming forum Reset Era has banned all discussions about Hogwarts Legacy – the game this review is about.

DeveloperAvalanche Software
PlatformPS4, PS5, Steam
GenreRPG
Price59,99 USD
Special FeatureOpen-world RPG
Hogwarts Legacy details

With this puke in its mouth, Avalanche Software has been tasked with chiseling a role-playing adventure that takes place long before the events of the Harry Potter books. J.K Rowling has not been directly involved in Hogwarts Legacy but will inevitably become even more wealthy because of its existence. I won’t go into the dreary question of whether it is possible to distinguish between work and person. How much do you do right or wrong in acquiring the game with the above problems in mind? That is for you, the player, to decide. Everything ready? Good – here we go.

Welcome to Hogwarts!

After years of delays, it’s finally here. Hogwarts Legacy is here – and among Harry Potter fans in particular, the game has been hailed as something of a gaming Magnum Opus for the entire franchise. A huge role-playing game set in J.K. Rowling’s magical universe, a title that will take revenge on the dubious creations of the early 2000s.

Hogwarts Legacy is filled with content and things to see and do. However, it needs more depth, and most aspects of the game could have been expanded more. I would have liked to see more quality over quantity, but regardless, this is an action adventure that will keep you entertained for a long time.

Avalanche Software is in charge of this adventure, which takes place more than 150 years before the events of the Harry Potter books. Set in the 1890s, the game is about fighting a form of hidden ancient magic while malevolent forces do everything they can to use it to create chaos and destruction. The events coincide with one of the goblin rebellions mentioned here and there in the books.
Hogwarts Legacy is – as the name suggests – set in the same castle school for witches and wizards where Harry Potter will later deal with his own fate and adventures. But not only that, the whole valley where the school is located opens up to me immediately after the adventure starts. And it is historical events even further back in time that forms the basis of the plot and the many hardships I will experience.

Lots of fan service

Hogwarts Legacy release date is set to 10th Februarry 2023. Initially, there is much fan service to hook book readers and film fans into a familiar environment. Sorting ceremonies with hats, conversations with the ancestors of the characters we all know and love by now, hilarious ghosts chasing first years down the winding corridorsā€¦ Hogwarts feels like home right away.

I choose to play Billy Oakflower, who goes straight into the fifth year and chooses to represent the Gryffindor house. The character creator is reasonably detailed and stands out because the player is not forced to choose a gender. Instead, you choose whether you want to live in the witches’ or wizards’ dormitory and choose the pitch and tone of your character’s voice instead of being presented with established “male” and “female” voices.

I spend the first few hours trying to find my way around Hogwarts. There are many quick travel points, room markers, secret passageways, treasures, and other exciting things to explore and collect. I attend classes, learn spells from the friendly teachers and make a few friends who become my companions on the many different quests. These are complemented by many side characters who also want my help in various ways.

Building broad – not deep

It all moves along at a reasonably leisurely pace. I replant a screaming Mandragora, learn to mix potions, and sneak past snooty prefects to look for torn book pages that can tell me more about the still rather abstract mission. Every nook and cranny of the game is permeated with familiar winks and events that make you feel good.

The red thread of the game is followed to the extent the player wants – there is never a rush to move on, and many side quests constantly lure you into new adventures. Some feel like filler, such as delivering item x to character y for little money and experience points. Other quests are instead well-written little adventures that reward you with non-obligatory but often much-needed tricks and spells.

Hogwarts Legacy manages to keep expanding. I find the legendary on-demand room, unlock the ability to upgrade my magic, improve equipment, etc. Hogwarts Legacy is jam-packed with content that will take many hours to complete for those who like to “100 percent” their games. There are generous rewards, often cosmetic items, that allow me to customize my character’s clothes. More fun than it sounds, actually.

However, there needs to be more depth to the various systems and mechanisms. You will be disappointed if you expect a traditional RPG experience with different builds and advanced talent trees. Hogwarts Legacy is a game that, in most respects, fills in with content across the board. Good, even if I sometimes wish that my choices had more significant consequences.

Battles and atmosphere at their best

After a while, it’s time to broaden your horizons and look beyond Hogwarts. It is mainly outside the walls of the school that the real evil seems to be brewing. I’m initially shocked at how big the game world is; it feels unnecessary, but soon I’m running around in the forests and casting spells against monsters and evil wizards and goblins.

The battles are definitely one of the highlights of Hogwarts Legacy. Different spells can be thrown together to create genuinely deadly combinations, and powerful potions and items add a different flavor to the battles. The control scheme is tight and fun to master – it’s all about timing and reaction – and if there’s one complaint here, the battles feel pretty easy. Billy Oakflower is far more potent than the baddies he duels with.

Avalanche usually does an excellent job of preserving the strange atmosphere evident in the books, a mixture of matinee and grave goods. The number of characters in Hogwarts Legacy is vast, and most are well-played. Sometimes the dialogue is a bit wooden and distant, sometimes overplayed, but that’s usually the case in a game of this magnitude.

Hogwarts Legacy tells a new story but finds solid ground in the familiar. The game is at its best when I’m sneaking around in some dark alleyway, whizzing along on a broomstick high above the spires and towers of Hogwarts, or undergoing one of the bombastic fire tests that, at well-chosen points in the main quest, move the plot forward. Plenty of engaging little puzzles and other challenges require me to think and use specific magic in a certain way to succeed.

Quite familiar

There are also some not-so-good aspects to this kind of meaty adventure. The world map outside Hogwarts and the neighboring village of Hogsmeade is mainly generic. Unnecessarily large, bloated with uninteresting places and boring enemy camps that are best cleared with a stealth spell and a petrification spell in the back of the sentries. In some places, the game feels uninspired and doesn’t really grab you.

It’s also hard to feel like a student at Hogwarts. This is definitely not a school simulator – I feel like I need to feel more affinity with my dormitory as I wander around looking for the next assignment. Instead, schooling is more of a backdrop that brings a creative atmosphere to a familiar role-playing formula.

I play on a PlayStation 4. There are four different performance modes to choose from, and I’m running “balanced,” which is supposed to provide a good balance between graphics and image refresh. It looks great, especially since the environments stand out positively. I try switching to the highest image quality with ray tracing, but it neither looks good nor delivers an acceptable image update rate.

Then something about the lighting bothers me, especially during dialogues; it switches in a strange and disturbing way. Warm light becomes cold and then warm again. But technically, there’s not much to complain about otherwise. The sound is also top-notch in sound effects and background music and helps create that special magical feeling a Harry Potter game deserves. However, something is “off” with Billy Oakflower’s voice – sometimes it sounds extremely tinny and like he’s in a submarine. Slightly disturbing.

The adventure continues unabated. Hogwarts Legacy is a tremendous experience that takes many hours to complete. The game does many things well without being particularly original in any aspect beyond its unique source material. That would be the combat, then. The main thing is that I’m having fun – and I really am! Finally, the Harry Potter saga has a worthy gaming experience to latch onto, one that I always want more of.

Hogwarts Legacy Verdict

Hogwarts Legacy Verdict
90 100 0 1
Hogwarts Legacy is a tremendous experience that takes many hours to complete. The game does many things well without being particularly original in any aspect beyond its unique source material.
Hogwarts Legacy is a tremendous experience that takes many hours to complete. The game does many things well without being particularly original in any aspect beyond its unique source material.
90/100
Total Score iAll criterias combined
  • Storyline
    100/100 The best
    The storyline of Hogwarts Legacy is an immersive and engaging experience that follows the player's character as they explore the magical world of Hogwarts. Players will be able to make choices that will shape their character's story and ultimately determine their fate. The game also features a variety of characters and creatures to interact with, as well as a variety of spells and magical items to discover.
  • Graphics / Design
    90/100 Amazing
    Hogwarts Legacy has stunning graphics and design that bring the magical world of Harry Potter to life. The game features detailed environments, characters, and creatures that are all beautifully rendered and look great. The game also has a great soundtrack that adds to the atmosphere and makes the game even more immersive.
  • In-app Purchases
    70/100 Good
    Hogwarts Legacy offers a variety of in-app purchases that can help players customize their experience. Players can purchase additional spells, potions, and other items to enhance their gameplay. In-app purchases also allow players to unlock exclusive content, such as new characters, locations, and more.
  • Controls
    100/100 The best
    The controls in Hogwarts Legacy are intuitive and easy to use. Players can use the controller to move their character around the world, cast spells, and interact with the environment. The game also features a variety of control options, allowing players to customize their experience to their own preferences.

Pros

  • Immersive Storyline
  • Variety of Gameplay
  • Customization

Cons

  • Limited Character Customization
  • Lack of Online Multiplayer
  • Limited Replayability
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