by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
Starting in 1997 or 2001 respectively depending on if fans originally read the books or saw the films, the Harry Potter series was a massive cultural movement. It managed to create a shared experience for a vast majority that ended up picking up interest in the series - namely, the desire to receive a letter accepting them into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Finally, with the release of Hogwarts Legacy, gamers will finally be able to experience exactly that in a whole new story that takes place about a century before the events that star Harry Potter and his friends.
Players are tasked with creating a character surrounded by special circumstances - being welcomed into Hogwarts as a fifth-year at the age of 15 rather than 11 like the vast majority of students. This is just the start of the odd circumstances that surround Hogwarts Legacy, with a Goblin Rebellion on the horizon and the protagonist having a strange ability to see and interact with what is only called 'ancient magic'. The adventure begins with a trip to Hogwarts going absolutely awry, setting the tone for a journey that will take the protagonist both within and outside the castle walls in an attempt to uncover historical secrets that could have lasting effects on the Wizarding World as a whole.
A Sprawling Campus
From the Scottish Highlands to the caverns beneath Gringotts Wizarding Bank and the lively halls of the school itself, Hogwarts Legacy has quite a large world to explore that is filled with charm (both figuratively and literally) as well as plenty of puzzles to solve. Odd doors involving Arithmetic codes, flying keys that need to be smacked into their keyholes, suits of armour that bicker or salute as you pass by, the Wizarding World is lively and makes exploration a delight.
As you progress in the story players learn more spells that can be used both in combat and exploration, and while spell slots are limited at first more can be unlocked for easy access along with other upgrades that can alter the way the player prefers to tackle situations, from stocking up on potions and weaponizing fauna to sneaking around and trying to take out enemies without being noticed, or approaching dramatically ready to counter or dodge everything that your foes can throw at you.
Initially, players of Hogwarts Legacy are limited to walking along the trails scattered along the Highlands, but there are options for speedier travel. Fast travel points dot the castle as well as the landscape around it, and after some time brooms will be unlocked which allow for an even more convenient way to traverse the environment, finding side quests, shops, or even more puzzles that require a magical solution.
Unforgivable Curses, Forgivable Flaws?
Tragically, Hogwarts Legacy is not a perfect game, but the issues this reviewer encountered weren't enough to ruin the fun. The first issue that should be noted is the slow beginning, it takes about an hour or so to even reach Hogwarts, with another length of time before your character is able to wander around and begin exploring. This does a good job of setting the scene and giving players a chance to learn the controls, but for replayability or people that are just eager for an opportunity to explore it can make for hesitance to start a new character.
Another of the main issues within Hogwarts Legacy is the way to learn new spells - the Professors at Hogwarts are willing to help your character catch up - but often you'll need to complete some tasks first, depending on the teacher that is planning on teaching you a spell. For example, Professor Garlick - the appropriately named Herbology Professor - will require your character to grow and interact with certain types of magical plants, while the DADA instructor Professor Hecat will suggest that you get some practice from an unsanctioned duelling competition students have started.
These are required to expand your repertoire of spells that allow for further puzzle solving or boosting your combat options - but at times main quests will be locked behind spells, meaning players are forced into these chore-like assignments. They can help by causing players to learn things that may have been outside of their playstyles such as weaponizing cabbage of all things, but it does make it seem like the Professors at Hogwarts may not actually want to teach people. This could be partially explained as trying to streamline your education, since your character has a lot of catching up to do, but it doesn’t always seem that way.
In all, Hogwarts Legacy is exactly the game that Harry Potter fans have been craving since they first experienced the Wizarding World, with a wonderful presentation and a world full of life and magic that encourages exploration. Learn spells, travel the open world, solve puzzles, and perhaps help decide the destiny of the Wizarding World with your peculiar abilities. For anyone that knows and loves the series, Hogwarts Legacy is a dream come true - and even if you aren't as much of a fan the game has plenty to offer and may even make a fan of you yet!
As always, follow us on Instagram for news updates, reviews, competitions and more.
Exploration Friendly World, Enjoyable Puzzles and Combat
Slow Beginning, Errand Style Quests