Review: Hogwarts Legacy Is Everything You Could Ask For, Almost

In recent years, Hogwarts Legacy, a role-playing game set in the Harry Potter universe, has become one of the most watched and curious games. It has been leaked in 2018, revealed in 2020, and rejected several times. After the ups and downs of the main game series and two other beloved Lego Harry Potter games, does Hogwarts Legacy have what it takes to satisfy fans’ appetites?

Magic from ancient times

Hogwarts Legacy starts with an obvious choice: select the character that you wish to take control of. You can construct your avatar, selecting between a wizard or witch who arrives at Hogwarts in their fifth year. The character creator is basic and restricts the number of details that can be changed. Once arriving at the grounds of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Propros Eleazar Figg will be waiting to greet them, acting as a mentor who will supply information about what they have missed in previous years.

The protagonist discovers they can detect an unseen form of ancient magic not many wizards possess. This unveils a riveting tale with the chief scoundrel being a mutinous goblin, Ranrok, who aims to misuse this power. Quite a straightforward narrative surrounding a malefactor desiring boundless strength, yet it’s made more striking through the cast of characters – instructors and their acquaintances at school. Even if some are not directly tangled in the overarching plot, they bring much more to the experience with their individual quests.

Simulator for Hogwarts students

Hogwarts Legacy does an exceptional job of recreating the atmosphere of being at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rather than drab tasks, you are given assignments by professors that you can complete in your spare time. The game brilliantly incorporates RPG content into the Harry Potter universe: such as taking care of magical creatures, growing plants, brewing potions, and even flying on broomsticks – all familiar elements from the books and films. Upon arriving at Hogwarts, players take part in the traditional sorting ceremony before being assigned to their chosen house (or overruling the sorting bonnet!)

Old dragons shouldn’t be tickled

Hogwarts Legacy is an open-world offering; the castle, grounds, and iconic locations from the movies are all accessible. On paper, this may seem confined, but that is not so: the design of the castle allows for lots of places to be discovered. Its sheer size surpasses expectations, and this holds true for its content too – expect surprises with moving stairs in a desert painting, vast dining halls and living rooms to explore, as well as the different houses’ clubs. Unlike the cinematic rendition of Hogwarts, you can freely wander around at your leisure.

Aside from Hogwarts, the magical world includes Hogsmeade, a quaint village that boasts all sorts of items for wizards–from wands and brooms to plants, potions, critters, and more. Players can also explore other wizarding towns and take a trek through the Forbidden Forest. Roaming across the map is possible by flying on a broom or hopping onto an animal-like hippogriff for larger distances. As you soar higher, the majestic beauty of the castle and its lake come into view; it’s a stunning experience one must witness firsthand.

Abracadabra, anyone?

The battle system in Hogwarts Legacy is primarily based on the wand. Players can customize their fighting style by selecting from three main magical categories. By clicking on the ‘shoot’ button, a simple shot is released; holding it provides access to four pre-selected magical abilities. As seen in other games, a yellow indicator denotes an attack that can be blocked and red for one that needs to be dodged. The design of the battle area is somewhat reminiscent of the Batman Arkham trilogy as it allows players to remain surrounded by enemies as they aim their cameras at targets and press buttons to block incoming attacks. Furthermore, magics can be combined to create maximum damage and not all involve using force – Accio can attract, Leviosa levitate, Depulso repels and Expelliarmus neutralize opponents; allowing Diffindo to then strike them down. As you progress through school you’ll learn a wealth of magics but carefully choosing the four spells you enter combat with could make all the difference!

Lifelong friends

In addition to the school staff whom you mainly come across in lessons and assignments, the game introduces many other students, each with their own story. For instance, Oni is a Gryffindor student who takes a personal interest in dark magic; Sebastian is a Slytherin student determined to do whatever it takes to cure his sick sister; Poppy is an Applepup pupil who has an intense passion for weird creatures. All these are amongst the many acquaintances that you can make in school and their challenges are as gripping as those of the core plotline. Each character featured in the narrative – professors and friends, villainous characters, and secondary protagonists – have been crafted with attention to detail and they all contribute heavily to this exciting world.

Roles should be assigned properly

Hogwarts Legacy isn’t just a Harry Potter game; it’s also an RPG through and through. As you level up and take on story missions, there are plenty of side activities to keep you busy in the open world. To improve your equipment, rather than simply purchasing items, you can grow plants – which is taught in Plant Theory class – or care for magical creatures, differentiating itself from other RPGs. Not only does the game merge content associated with role-playing games into its world effectively, but it offers a unique way to upgrade equipment as well.

Pop-culture obsessive girl. She worked professionally in the entertainment and media industry in Los Angeles. Edited many prime-time TV shows and award-winning documentaries. Worked for companies such as HBO, CBS, NBC, FOX, RESHET.