Hogwarts Legacy is a title that many fans of the Harry Potter series have been waiting on. This game features more in-depth systems and a more realized world than was ever possible. The game serves to fulfill fantasies and is certainly up to the task given by the player's imagination. So if you, like us, are fans of the series. And wanted to see the worlds covered in the books and other games realized. You were most definitely not disappointed by this title. This title has been a passionate love letter to the series and its wide array of fans. This game does a fantastic job of breathing life into a world that contains the childlike whimsy we have always wanted. So if you would, allow us to express the magic of Hogwarts Legacy in this review.
A Spellbinding Start
To begin this review of Hogwarts Legacy. The beginning of the game really does an excellent job of gripping the player, as well as engaging them in the world. Players will quickly have to contend with a layer of mystery and intrigue early on. The game also features a robust character creator, allowing players to immerse themselves in the world and its characters. This is wonderful, and the options available are abundant and offer many different options to suit players' tastes. However, if players choose to do so, they could quickly eat up quite a bit of time customizing their witch or wizard. However, as the customization options are abundant, they can do so to their liking. This is very important because a critical selling point for this title is the player's fantasy of being a student at Hogwarts.
The game allows players to see the intricacies of Gringotts Bank, an often visited and referenced location from the series. Here, we get our first taste of how dedicated to fleshing out the game's world. The developers at Portkey Games are genuinely fans of the series and have chosen to cram even the most minute details into the game. For example, players aren't simply sent to the bank. Instead, they are whisked away to this location by the story's events. This does a fantastic job of establishing the world. Because it ensures that the player is invested and thrown into the wizarding world in a way that makes players want to know more. It is here that the game truly begins, and the magical elements envelop the players like a warm blanket.
Witch's and Wizard's Whimsy
If there is one aspect of this game that stands out more than almost any other. It is the amount of whimsical fun to be had. This can be seen in everything from how classes are presented to various social interactions and adventures you have throughout your time in Hogwarts Legacy. For example, players don't simply go to their classes. Instead, they are engrossed in the world and have to interact with the classes' teachings themselves. This is great as it takes the formula found in Rockstar's Bully game and applies it to the wizarding world. In its incorporation of this idea, I, for one, believe that it even surpasses that title. The classes in Hogwarts Legacy feel less like a chore and more like an adventure in and of themselves.
Players can go to class in a way that is not intrusive and allows the player to explore the world freely. In contrast, the level requirements to progress can be somewhat of a hindrance. This is done to incentivize the player to interact in the open world itself. The way in which players learn spells is also exciting and engaging with each of the classes. As well as respective progressors being fleshed out wonderfully. For example, many professors will reference lore tidbits or hint at a practical use for their knowledge. This gives the classroom sections of the game an immersive feel and allows players actually to learn many things throughout their playtime.
A Stupifying Amount of Content
The amount of content in Hogwarts Legacy is immense. There are so many activities to participate in and little bits of story to engage with that the player hardly ever feels bored. Whether you enjoy engaging with your respective House and the characters in it, helping side characters along their way, or you'd instead engage with the main story itself, there is so much to do that even downtime in the game feels rewarding. The developers at Portkey Games ensured that the players would have plenty to keep their hands full. Classes and side content of various types, including beast capturing, exploration, and more, all keep the player engaged. The world within this game is truly the star of the show, and it is rather evident from the beginning of the game itself.
It is within this plethora of systems that the game both shines, as well as shows its flaws. Completing hardly any activity in the game feels like a chore. That being said, there are times when the sheer amount of content and things to do at once retract from what would otherwise be strong narrative beats. In contrast, it can be argued that the main plot of the game, as well as its narrative, is not the game's primary focus. These elements too often fall by the wayside in favor of simply existing in the world itself. It is here that the presentation that the game offers can have mixed results. For some, a world to get lost in is far more important than any story that could be told here.
Marvelous Magic Meets Muddled Mess
Let me start this section of the review by saying that the story itself, for Hogwarts Legacy, isn't bad. In fact, compared to other offerings on the market, it has been received rather warmly. The story is certainly serviceable. However, even as I, a once diehard fan of the series, watched the main narrative unfold, I couldn't help but think, I feel like this should be better. That isn't to say that what is on offer here regarding the main story is terrible, either. More than it is to say that, the main story, when compared to the side content and overall immersive world. It cannot hold a candle to it. To express precisely what I mean, I intend to use this section of the review as a way to showcase how the main plot of Hogwarts Legacy may have fallen to the wayside along the way.
Before I do this, however, I want to reiterate my point. The writing in this game is actually relatively solid. While it may not be the pinnacle of storytelling. When compared to the source material, it might sometimes fall short. This isn't entirely the game's fault, either. I believe that with the plethora of systems, things to do, as well as more minor character interactions and interactions with the world.
Simply put, the main narrative couldn't keep up. How could it? With a world that people have been waiting to properly explore for years, as well as the characters used to fill it. This problem is further compounded when you combine the amount of beasts, lore, and references in the game. In comparison, the game's gear system is one area that feels tacked on and an arbitrary inclusion rather than an inspired decision.
Goblets of Gaudy Gear
Hands down, the most frustrating element of this otherwise fantastic game is its gearing system. Rather than being something inherently magical, as one would assume, it appears to be an insipid industry implementation. In my opinion, this aspect of the game falls the furthest from its potential heights. Imagine it, going out into the world itself and gathering the materials needed to craft your own wand. Perhaps you can even unlock various embellishments to add to it. Instead, what we are greeted by in Hogwarts Legacy is the same stock standard inventory system, with rarities as well as loot mechanics that appear to be plucked directly out of games such as the Destiny series or Assassin's Creed.
While there are glimmers of light in this system, such as the wand customization options and a few other things. The fact that you are once again going to constantly be replacing and upgrading gear of different rarities, frankly, is disheartening. What should feel like an extension of the witch or wizard themselves. Instead becomes an arbitrary and temporary number rather than a part of their in-game identity. I remember being so excited in my playthrough of the game when I visited Ollivander's. Being able to customize a wand has always been a dream of mine in a Harry Potter game. What started out as childlike wonderment quickly faded, however, when I realized the rest of my gear would not have this amount of personality to it. This element of the game feels tacked on managing only in making the magical mundane.
Conjuration of Conclusions
To close, Hogwarts Legacy is a magical, mystical world to get lost in. What is on offer here is nothing short of amazing. The love and care poured into this game's world are palpable. And while it may fall short in some aspects, one thing is for sure. Hogwarts Legacy offers, as of writing this review, the definitive Hogwarts experience. The care for detail, the polish on the finer details of this expansive universe. All these game elements combine and congeal to conjure in our cauldrons a potent potion that leaves the player positively petrified.
Hogwarts Legacy Review (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC)
Hogwarts Legacy: A Magical Masterpiece
Hogwarts Legacy is a game that effortlessly encapsulates many aspects people want from a Harry Potter game. With its mulling over even the most minute details, the commitment to quality in this game is marvelous. While there are elements of the game to criticize, the worthwhile experience of existing in this game’s world is enough to keep me returning again and again.