To say that Hogwarts Legacy was eagerly anticipated would be an understatement. From the very first announcements and from the first game images, the enthusiasm and expectations for the Avalanche Software release were flying. Fortunately, the expectations have thankfully not been disappointed.
The American video game developer, based in Salt Lake City and a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Games, created this thrilling action role-playing game and released it in 2023 for PlayStation 5, Windows, and Xbox Series X/S first, and soon after for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In November 2023, it is slated for a Nintendo Switch release. Hogwarts Legacy’s early-access phase saw unprecedented attention on the streaming service Twitch, making it the most-watched single-player game ever.
The plot was designed to take place during a time when no classic Wizarding World characters existed, giving players the chance to fully immerse themselves in their own unique environment. The game has been meticulously developed to maintain a sense of familiarity and recognition, despite the fact that Avalanche Software undoubtedly brings its own take.
Hogwarts Legacy takes place in numerous Wizarding World places, including Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade, and the Scottish Highlands, and is set in the late 1800s, specifically in 1890, 90 years before the birth of the renowned Harry Potter. Due to the late magical world detection, the player, who assumes the character of a student (voiced by Sebastian Croft or Amelia Gething), enrolls at Hogwarts only in the fifth year. The player character holds the key to an “ancient secret” that jeopardizes the stability of the wizarding world and has the capacity to control a mysterious ancient magic. The main goal is to figure out why this lost magic is reappearing and who is attempting to use it for his own ends.
After a brief prologue, the young student will be welcomed inside Hogwarts and will be assigned a house and wand based on the results of a test that can be completed on the game’s official website. However, you will certainly be free to choose your own path and “weapon” without being under any limitations. Once the urgent matters have been taken care of, you can start exploring the castle and the area around it, which includes Hogsmeade, the main settlement where you can make purchases and complete a number of quests, as well as the forests, mountain ranges, and lovely lakes.
Professor Eleazar Fig, who serves as the player’s mentor and is encountered at the beginning of the game, is significant. He is a wizard who teaches at Hogwarts and looks into a persistent goblin uprising. Amit Thakkar (Asif Ali), Everett Clopton (Luke Youngblood), Professors Onai (Kandace Caine), and Shah (Sohm Kapila), as well as headmaster Phineas Nigellus Black (Simon Pegg) and Professor Matilda Weasley (Lesley Nicol), are more individuals the protagonist encounters. As companion characters on the protagonist’s trip, Natsai Onai, Poppy Sweeting, and Sebastian Sallow, the protagonist is also able to forge connections with these fellow students. The game’s antagonists include Victor Rookwood, the head of a group of Dark Wizards, and Ranrok, the leader of the goblin revolt.
The game begins with a letter from Professor Weasley, in which the protagonist is informed that he is a fifth-year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and that Professor Fig will be his mentor. The protagonist is escorted by Fig on a flying coach from London to Hogwarts. When a dragon approaches them as they are looking at an unidentified artifact, the two grab for a Portkey that is concealed inside the object and use it to teleport themselves to Gringotts. The main character discovers he can see signs of ancient magic after using the Portkey to access an old vault. Before making their way to Hogwarts, where the protagonist is assigned to one of the four houses, the group is ambushed by a nasty goblin named Ranrok.
When the protagonist and companion travel to Hogsmeade, where a troll sent by Ranrok confronts them and is vanquished by them, he has already learned several spells in class. The protagonist discovers some missing pages from a book while Professor Fig examines it in the library. He also discovers the Map Chamber, a hidden chamber beneath Hogwarts that he later visits several times with Fig and speaks to the portraits of four deceased Hogwarts professors who identify themselves as the “Keepers” and whose mission it is to keep the secrets of ancient magic hidden from the wizarding community.
The main character must pass four challenges set by the Keepers in order to learn the secrets of ancient magic. The trials lead to a Pensieve, a magical instrument used to record and review memories, and each one includes challenging puzzles and hazardous challenges that demand the skills the protagonist has learned. The protagonist discovers from the memories that Isidora Morganach, a former professor and student at Hogwarts with talents similar to the protagonist’s, engaged in conflict with the Keepers and abandoned a secret repository of ancient magic after using it to wrest negative emotions, particularly from her suffering father. The Keepers eventually used the Killing Curse to kill Isidora after realizing that she was using the emotions she had removed to boost her own power.
The protagonist discovers via their earlier adventures that Ranrok, the head of an ongoing goblin uprising against wizards, wants to locate the repository and use it for his own purposes. He works with a team of dark wizards commanded by Victor Rookwood, a lineal descendant of one of the Keepers, to find it.
At this point, the protagonist must construct a certain kind of magic wand using the artifacts discovered at the Pensieves after completing all of the trials. In order to create the magical wand, Professor Fig sends the main character to Gerbold Ollivander, the wandmaker. Victor ambushes the protagonist as he leaves Ollivander’s and offers an alliance against the goblins. The protagonist battles the antagonist after refusing, ultimately winning the fight.
The protagonist then must decide whether to keep the magic shut away or to use the power for himself after discovering the repository intact with Professor Fig not long after. Then, Ranrok finds Isidora’s reservoir and takes in the ancient power, becoming a dragon. The protagonist fights the dragon, puts an end to the goblin uprising by destroying Ranrok, and follows through on his prior decision as Fig is fatally wounded. Whatever decision he makes, Fig passes away, and Headmaster Black and Professor Weasley give a eulogy in his memory.
The main character returns to finish up regular schoolwork as the O.W.L. exams approach the end of the academic year. In addition, if he hasn’t previously, he continues to explore the area around the castle and engages in adventures with friends Natsai Onai, Poppy Sweeting, and Sebastian Sallow. Professor Weasley rewards the protagonist with 100 house points at the end of the tour for his exceptional journey, which ultimately results in his house winning the House Cup.
A third-person action role-playing game, Hogwarts Legacy is based on the Wizarding World movie series and is set in and around Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Players can choose their character’s appearance, gender, voice, and body type throughout the character creation process. The four Hogwarts Houses are also options for them. As they go through the game, the characters acquire the skills necessary to cast spells, create potions, and perfect combat maneuvers, finally coming up with their own unique fighting style.
The character can gain levels through in-game challenges, which give the player access to and the ability to improve a variety of spells, talents, and abilities. These difficulties manifest themselves through combat, quests, and exploration. Non-player characters (NPCs) that can be interacted with by player characters can also become friends with them. School friends can follow players on their adventures, help them develop their abilities, and provide special companion missions as they learn about their stories as these relationships develop.
Additionally, every one of the four Hogwarts Houses – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin – offers a special common area that can only be accessed by the player’s current house as determined by the Sorting Hat. The player receives various distinct tasks depending on the residence he chooses. The four Hogwarts houses’ house points have an impact on the game’s plot, although player choices have no bearing on them.
Along with the Hogwarts Castle adventures, the player can visit well-known places like the Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade, and the Room of Requirement. The Three Broomsticks Inn, a popular gathering spot for locals and students, the Hog’s Head, an inn with a less favorable reputation, and Zonko’s, a shop selling humorous goods are just a few of the establishments found in Hogsmeade. Environment customization is a notable part of The Room of Requirement. As players advance through the game, they can change the room with a variety of objects. Its architecture can be altered, and it can be completely customized. Utility objects like brewing equipment and planting pots, which can also be customized, are placed and maintained in the space.
Some of the magical creatures in the game can be cared for in a player-selected “Vivarium,” a separate location. Different magical animals, such as hippogriffs and thestrals, will be available for players to tame, take care of, and ride. There are also dragons, unicorns, kneazles, and puffskeins that can be interacted with. Plants that have been produced or obtained can be employed in battle, such as mandrakes, which can shock foes.
Players are free to explore the map at their leisure because the game has open-world gameplay. The many sections offer a variety of adversaries and activities, some of which are locked behind story milestones. Players have the ability to find stuff by looking for treasure chests while exploring. The Revelio spell helps players find mysteries while they are exploring by acting as a scan tool. The player has a variety of choices for getting about the map. After taking a flying class, players can fly across the map with a broom or utilize Floo Powder as a rapid travel alternative. One of the key aspects of the game is going to class. The tale will include attending classes, which will advance gaming mechanics.
The castle’s interior and exterior visually vary as the game progresses to reflect the seasons. The music in the game also changes depending on where the player character is in the open world, with noticeable variations in the particular common areas that can only be accessed by players who choose each respective schoolhouse.
Hogwarts Legacy’s creators added an arachnophobia option to the game’s PlayStation 4 and Xbox One releases, which takes the place of the game’s standard spider design. The new spider design is more cartoonish, does away with the legs, and incorporates rollerskates on the feet as a nod to the Harry Potter books.
Peter Murray, J. Scott Rakozy, and Chuck Myers wrote the soundtrack, which also features extra songs by Alexander Horowitz. While drawing inspiration from composer John Williams‘ earlier Harry Potter-related work, audio production coordinator Nathan Ayuobi highlighted that they focused on developing their own style. The original composition was mixed with the already-existing music from the Wizarding World movies.
Hogwarts Legacy (Original Video Game Soundtrack) and Hogwarts Legacy (Study Themes from the Original Video Game Soundtrack), two digital double albums with a combined 75 tracks, were made available with the main game release.
It is almost pointless to emphasize the extent to which the entire setting is a loving letter to fans of the series, starting with Hogwarts Castle, which Avalanche Software maniacally rebuilt with its many secrets, environmental puzzles, and side quests that allow players to explore every meander or hidden room. In the same way, the various side missions in general blatantly wink at saga-related events.
A particular word goes to the Hogwarts Legacy’s open world. Everything that the eye can see in the game can be freely explored while riding a broom or a hippogriff, sometimes even if you have the necessary wizardry to reach it. The enormous map showing the Scottish valleys is far from desolate and lifeless, on the contrary, it is bustling with activity. There are many things to do, such as little caverns to explore, Merlin’s puzzles to solve, poacher camps to demolish, and sources of old magic to absorb. It is difficult to go 100 meters without coming across a subject of interest.
The first stages in preparing to tackle Hogwarts’ frequently dangerous and hostile environment include attending lessons to learn the spells necessary for carrying on the journey and discovering the mysteries of the Scottish villages. The 16 attack and control spells can be combined in a variety of exciting ways, such as using a Levioso to lift an enemy off the ground and blast him with a Confringo or an Accio toss to crash him to the ground at our feet with a Descendo. The pool of spells is essentially divided into three colors and in order to break the enemy’s Protego we will need the magic of the color corresponding to the barrier in order to start damaging it. As a result, we must carefully consider what to bring into battle, even though thanks to our talents we will be able to unlock further quick assassination spells.
The rest of the game plays out as expected. Foes will either have weak attacks that may be parried or ducked by launching a Protego at the proper time, or they will have strong strikes that must be avoided in order to prevent being damaged. We must not overlook the element – ancient magic – around which the entire work organically revolves. When the proper indicators have been loaded, it will be possible to shoot a type of ultimate strike that, unless you are fighting an opponent with a lot of life points, like a boss or troll, will eliminate our adversary in one fell swoop. Ancient magic also allows for the throwing of objects scattered across the battlefield at enemies. We have a huge arsenal and the enemy spells are little in comparison, so a few well-placed attacks will be usually enough to knock us into the checkpoint. On the other hand, the foes won’t give in easily, and the battles won’t be frustrating or even that forgiving.
Once unlocked, the Room of Requirement and the Vivarium allow you to take a relaxing vacation from the job of saving the magical world in between an adventure and a lesson. The Room of Requirement is where Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts collide. It can be decorated however you like with the help of the furnishings you can summon through the magic formulas you have learned during your lessons and has a door that opens to a magical outdoor area where you can take care of the animals you’ve saved from all over the game’s world thanks to the well-known bag that Newt Scamander fans are familiar with. The animals will provide precious elements to enhance the armor in the workbench in exchange for tender care.
Despite the many merits, a few drawbacks must be mentioned. So, if Hogwarts Legacy is situated at the very top of an ideal staircase in terms of mood and exploration, when you get to the RPG you have to move down a few steps. In fact, there are no actual builds to choose from, so as you find new clothing, you will have to stick to wearing the items that have the most offensive or defensive worth. The skill points can be used to improve spells, and the workbench lets you add effects to equipment. Although the absence of equipment variables – aside from socketable jewels – might seem like a minor issue, this is far from the case in an RPG’s economics. Moreover, it is not uncommon for the same piece of equipment to be placed within a dungeon even twice or three times.
Thus, in the absence of a recycling system, which is not the sale, items simply occupy slots in the inventory, which is already small but can be expanded through the trials of Merlin dotted throughout the game map. In other words, every old item has to be sold to the first roadside vendor that is found. This vendor, however, sells recipes, potions, and brooms in addition to the fundamental materials for quite expensive prices compared to our return in terms of resold items. You won’t easily find yourself in financial trouble, thus it is a flaw that has no impact on the experience at all, but it is something to keep in mind anyway.
However, it is in terms of graphics that the real problems become apparent. Hogwarts Legacy must put together PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch in the near future. Obviously, something had to be sacrificed. The Hogwarts Castle’s construction quality is outstanding, yet as you leave its walls and look outdoors, you can start to feel drained. Although the views provided by the panoramas are admirable and genuinely evocative, approaching and engaging with the outside elements may result in interpenetrations and visual hiccups.
Also, the Hogwarts Legacy story lacks a true moral code, which is another significant weakness. If the ability to treat people poorly at the end of quests, possibly to increase the reward, even going so far as to offer real and proper blackmail makes one turn their nose up a little, using the Phantom 3 Unforgivable Curses without any repercussions raises the feeling to a slightly higher level. In other words, it will be possible to misuse the well-known Avada Kedavra in public without eliciting a response.
Beyond some graphic flaws and moral reflections, we are undoubtedly dealing with the best game set in the Harry Potter universe, free from competition or comparison. Hogwards Legacy is not only the long-awaited love letter to the Wizarding World that fans have been yearning for, but it also gave birth to a game that may amuse players who are unfamiliar with the Harry Potter universe, thus creating a completely new generation of digital fans.