As one of the most anticipated video games of 2023, Portkey Games’ Hogwarts Legacy has a lot to live up to. If modern games have taught us anything, it’s that gamers are quick to build something up – but if it fails, it will be crucified at the altar of Cyberpunk 2077. So, let’s summon the Lumos spell, cast a closer eye on Hogwarts Legacy, and see if it’s points to the Wizarding World or if it should be buried along with Dobby.
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What is Hogwarts Legacy about?
Hogwarts Legacy takes place before the events of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts – like way before. Set in the 1800s, the story allows the player to create a character that will be enrolled in Hogwarts as a fifth year. Starting so late at the wizarding school, the character needs a serious crash course in magic and, of course, to be sorted into a house. Fortunately, there are many helpful faces around, such as Nearly Headless Nick, The Headless Hunt, and Peeves – as well as ancestors of familiar families like the Weasleys. At the same time, the player gets sucked into a wider overall plot, as a Dark Wizard and goblin leader hunt down this character – and they aren’t looking to share Butterbeer.
As an action RPG, the player learns, participates, and grows within the Wizarding World’s, well, world. While Hogwarts is the main homebase, there is a much bigger map to explore here, such as Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, and much more. With every completed quest (or side quest), the character gains new abilities, experience points, and skills, such as magic spells and potion abilities. In addition, there’s the possibility to buy, sell, and discover gear that adds to the character’s abilities. Look, it’s possible that a character looks like a total fool at a point, but when the robe ups the Offense by 15 points, is anyone really going to complain?
Good looks with a few blemishes
As shown in the promo footage and trailers, Hogwarts Legacy boasts a massive, interactive world. Yet, what’s remarkable is the level of detail dedicated to every section of the game. It’s easy to get lost in exploration as the environments are captivating and alluring, letting a player wander around for ages while being able to pick up new, unexpected details every time they visit a location. There’s a serenity to this type of experience, as one can simply unwind by taking a walk to Hogsmeade from Hogwarts and enjoying the scenery featuring beautiful lakes, stony paths, and flora and fauna.
The character models are equally fantastic and in the traditional style of the Wizarding World adaptations. Even the NPCs that serve no other purpose beyond being in the background and passing a comment or two are designed to perfection and enrich the world with a believability.
That being said, it isn’t all magic in Hogwarts Legacy, as there are a few noticeable graphic glitches. For example, the collision detection could be better, as a character racing down a path can often go right through the NPC as if they’re a ghost (hint: they’re not). It doesn’t happen all the time, but it still occurs on occasion and can be jarring for a player. Also, there are glitches where NPCs may be eating a meal at the Three Broomsticks and their meal suddenly vanishes and reappears. Reviewers were advised there would be a day one patch to address ray tracing performance, so it is possible that these graphical issues could be addressed by this update as well.
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Boredom is not an option in Hogwarts Legacy
Hogwarts Legacy has an abundance of activities to do. Since the character is learning all about magic, there are classes to attend to learn about potions and spells. Simultaneously, the students are a wealth of information, too – in fact, some of them might teach the player something the teachers don’t. The players also have the ability to make choices in their responses and if they do something or not, allowing one to shape the perfect goody-goody for Gryffindor or to break bad and be Slytherin to the core.
The game also doesn’t get boring, as it affords different types of gameplay options, such as minigames that let spells and potions to be practiced. With each spell in the Wizarding World holding different qualities, there’s the potential to do a multitude of things, such as repair items or even sneak around invisibly.
Now, to the battle mechanics. At first, the magic duels feel tedious and uninspiring, as there aren’t many options beyond hitting the R2 button and zapping an opponent or blocking their attack. However, this changes as the character progresses, learns new spells, and becomes more confident with their environment. Before long, the player will be able to combine the use of Accio, Leviosa, and Incendio to create a fun fighting mechanic. In the end, the choice of the type of spells utilised in combat will shape the combos that can be formulated.
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Hogwarts Legacy delivers the immersive experience it promised. It sucks the player into the Wizarding World and provides the ultimate escape, with an endless stream of quests, learnings, and exploration. Even when the main story is completed, a player will want to spend more time with these characters and environment. In short, it’s a bewitching game that will appeal to Potterheads and casuals alike.
- Truly immersive, vast, and interactive world
- Never a dull moment
Sound and Music