Hogwarts Legacy is a new open-world RPG game set in the Harry Potter universe, set in the 1800s and centuries before the events of the books. While a unique story, there are plenty of familiar locations and faces, such as Nearly Headless Nick, alongside its cadre of new heroes and villains.
As you enter the game, you arrive at Hogwarts as a late fifth-year student but slowly get sucked into an emerging plot about a goblin named Ranrok, who is amassing an army and harassing witches and wizards all over Britain. This leads you to explore ancient magic and the reasons behind Ranrok’s interest in it.
The game starts with the Sorting Hat ceremony, where you are placed in a house that fits your personality. You receive a journal called the Wizard’s Field Guide that tracks your quests and contains a map of the school, Hogsmeade, and the wider world. The lessons in Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Herbology appear as missions to complete and reward you with new spells to use in the world.
The only way to gain experience points in the game is to complete quests and challenges logged in the Field Guide, which are plentiful and scattered around Hogwarts and the surrounding world. Some of the pages are ghostly outlines that you will see in front of landmarks and statues, while others fly around the vaulted ceilings of the school like pigeons. You can collect them by casting spells such as Revelio and Accio.
In the first hours of Hogwarts Legacy, I was fully immersed in the story of Ranrok’s rebellion and exploring the corridors of Hogwarts. I enjoyed completing quests, helping students with puzzles, and discovering new pages in the Field Guide. The world is full of life and detail, with suits of armor humming to themselves, portraits of musicians playing, and Peeves the Poltergeist surprising students.
However, the game’s open-world structure falls short compared to its setting. The story is thin and uninteresting, and the player character lacks depth and personality. The friendships developed in the game are not meaningful or believable, and the characters serving as quest givers lack the charm and charisma of the original cast. The open world is impressive, with the outline of Hogwarts against the mountains, but it lacks the intimacy and character-driven elements that many fans crave.
The gameplay is competent but unspectacular, with spellcasting becoming increasingly fiddly as players accumulate more enchantments. The game also has several quirks that detract from the overall experience, such as twee set-dressing and inconsistent accents. While the game offers a nostalgic journey back to Hogwarts, it falls short in its gameplay and story.
Overall, “Hogwarts Legacy” is a mixed bag, offering fans a nostalgic journey back to the magical world of Harry Potter but failing to deliver in terms of gameplay and story. While the game’s setting is captivating, it ultimately relies too heavily on nostalgia and falls short compared to other open-world games. While it may still be enjoyable for fans of the franchise, “Hogwarts Legacy” needs more to be a truly immersive and engaging experience… but players can experience it for themselves when it releases on February 10th for PlayStation 5, PC, and Xbox Series S/X, April 4th on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and July 25th for Nintendo Switch.
RATING: 3.0 out of 5.0
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