Licensed games tend to be the black sheep of the gaming world. Some of them are good, others have interesting premises, but most recreate the experience that made the property interesting, to begin with. This brings us to Hogwarts Legacy. With this being the latest attempt to find success beyond Harry Potter, players were understandably apprehensive. There are few worlds as beloved as Harry Potter, with spin-offs failing to capture the initial charm. Given so much could go wrong, not to mention the usual issues with licensed games, is this a chance to re-experience your childhood, or is it best left forgotten?
The initial premise of Hogwarts Legacy is pretty simple. In addition to being a newly added fifth-year student, you possess the unique ability to sense ancient magic. As a result, players need to navigate through school, complete tasks, and figure out what secrets the past holds. It offers a lot for players to do, with this all starting with creating your character.
Characters Look Like Real People
Unlike a lot of character creators, I appreciate Hogwarts Legacy embracing the things that make us unique. This is accomplished by offering the usual settings, like eye shape, freckles, hairstyle, and so forth, with each having an imperfect splash. So often things appear in the most conventionally attractive way, so seeing a more realistic character is a fantastic choice, especially for this setting. Similar things apply to gender standards as well. This is another element that is slowly changing in gaming, often with it being a straight male, female, or non-binary option, with Hogwarts Legacy simplifying it to Wizard or Witch. It feels natural, in a way many players will probably not even notice.
Early sections also avoid one of the most common pitfalls, pandering. A lot of the universe’s charm shines through the various elements. This ranges from casting spells, to how structures rearrange to reveal new secrets. It feels like fans of the iconic books tried to recreate the same wonder, and mystery, making the whole experience an absolute delight. Even if some parts go against the established rules, these work because they were made with gameplay in mind.
World is Vibrant and Interesting
Unfortunately, the gameplay is in a weird spot. Some elements work really well. For example, tying the introduction of mechanics to lessons, and tutorials to certain tasks is a smart way to handle them. That said, there is a lot of hand-holding.
Most events are scripted in some way, with there being countless ways to take some of the thrills out of the moment. Treasure is marked on the map, and Revelio will show interactive elements/hidden chests, with even objective markers literally showing you the way. Thankfully, some of these elements can be disabled, but even at the lowest amount things are pretty straightforward. That being said, some of the puzzles require a fair amount of effort to solve, so don’t think there is no challenge either.
Combat is a bit better, as Hogwarts Legacy tries to make the most out of the core concepts. You can dodge roll, jump, and use various magic abilities to your advantage. Players are rewarded for making full use of their spells, though most of the time you won’t need to. Sure, lifting someone up, or pulling items to a more advantageous location is helpful, most of the time blocking, and blasting your surroundings is all you need.
Despite Hogwarts Legacy doing a lot right, there are some rough spots. It wasn’t uncommon to see some dropped frames, loading, or graphical glitches. Certain elements also look a lot better than others, making the weaker elements stand out. Sometimes the visual flares also take a bit longer to do certain tasks. They’re cool the first couple of times, but it gets old fast.
Hogwarts Legacy Review Verdict
Hogwarts Legacy: At the end of the day, Hogwarts Legacy has a good idea of what made Harry Potter magical and does a great job of implementing it into a game. It would be nice to see a version with a bit less handholding, or more intense combat, though given the demographic these shortcomings make sense. At the end of the day, it's a take on the world of Harry Potter that you can tell had a lot of love put into it, and as a result, is something fans will likely be overjoyed to experience. – InfiniteStartStaff