Hogwarts Legacy – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Avalanche Software
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platform: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PS5

Hogwarts Legacy – Review

Site Score
9.5
Good: Atmosphere, Visuals, So much side content
Bad: Combat sometimes feels a bit bland, Spell swapping is tedious
User Score
10.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Hogwarts Legacy has probably overshadowed the release or announcements of many other big titles that were slated to be released around this period. The game has garnered a lot of attention thanks to the fandom of Harry Potter but also due to the backlash surrounding J.K. Rowling’s statements in the past. That being said, we are going to leave the politically loaded feelings far away from the following review and we’ll just look at Hogwarts Legacy as a game for those wanting to explore the Harry Potter universe further. We dived in with high expectations and we were not disappointed at all.

Story

The story of Hogwarts Legacy takes place a hundred years before the events of the Harry Potter books, but it takes us to a very familiar-looking Hogwarts. You’ll enroll in the school as a fifth-year student, which is already quite uncommon. Due to this, you’ll have your work cut out for you to catch up to other students, and this will also be a key element of the story. That being said, however, you soon discover that you can see traces of ancient magic, and this puts you on the radar of the goblin criminal Ranrok. Ranrok wishes to harness the old magical powers for his evildoings. The story is, of course, more complex than this, but it’s basically a story of a prodigy having to quickly learn all the skills to fight off the villains.

We found the overall story presentation very much in sync with the presentation of the movies, and this made us feel right at home. While you will get distracted by a lot of the side objectives, the main story does motivate you to press onwards.

Graphics

For our review, we tried out the PlayStation 5 version of the game and we have to say that the game is absolutely gorgeous. It’s clear that Hogwarts Legacy was a labor of love and this can be seen all throughout the game’s world. You’ll constantly encounter small little details that will make you smile. There is always something to see around every corner, and at times it’s even overwhelming how much there is actually to see and explore. The decors for all the small buildings all feel unique, and while some assets are reused here and there, almost every location and scenery has its own unique set pieces. This alone is extremely impressive as so much work must have gone into designing all the different assets.

The textures are also extremely beautiful and the NPCs are also designed with care. Your own character will also constantly change appearance as they equip new gear and items. We loved some of the sillier outfit designs and the many different options kept things fresh. If you don’t like the look of your new items, the game also offers you to swap the appearance of equipped items with those you have already found earlier. We did notice a few more wonky facial animations and a few clipping errors here and there, but these were never too noticeable. Luckily, when someone runs through a building you can always chalk it up to magic.

Sound

The sound design is absolutely phenomenal. The game has a certain cinematic quality from start to finish thanks to its amazing soundtrack, but also thanks to the many audio cues and great sound effects. The voice acting is what truly drives the experience home as dialogues feel very natural and it was one of the few games where we truly exhausted all dialogue options before heading on our way again.

Gameplay

Hogwarts Legacy is an Action RPG in which you’ll be able to explore Hogwarts and its surrounding areas to tackle your main quests, a plethora of side quests and just to discover more about the wizarding world we came to love over the years since Harry Potter’s inception. The game proves to be very straightforward, as you can just go from one quest to another, progress the story, level up your character, and so on. The game, however, throws so much to do at you that you might find yourself exploring for huge portions of the game, eventually noticing that you were enveloped by the world and have neglected your main quest(s). This is, of course, just one of the many ways to play the game. We found exploring a lot of fun, while sometimes throwing in a few main quests to ensure we unlocked a few new spells and other options here and there.

As you progress through the game, you’ll become a more powerful witch (or wizard) and you’ll learn new spells, gain new abilities, collect better gear, unlock new secret areas, and so on. This adds a lot to the game’s charm, and there is absolutely no wrong way to do things. You can make choices to be a goody-two-shoes all the way, or you can opt to be a bit eviler in how you deal with things. This also adds quite a bit of replay value, as you can always do things a bit differently during each playthrough. That being said, if you’re into side quests and exploring, we reckon that you’ll already have a meaty adventure laid out in front of you for your first playthrough.

Overwhelming exploration options aside, the game also features combat, as you’re on a quest to battle villainous goblins after all. During combat, you’ll be able to use all the spells you have learned, be it to levitate your opponents, freeze them, set them ablaze, outright destroy them or just fling them through the air. This makes combat a bit more interesting but we sometimes struggled with the somewhat basic controls and the tedious process of constantly having to swap spells on a four-option wheel. Eventually, we were able to equip 12 spells that we could easily choose from, but even so, things felt a bit rougher around the edges. When looking back at Forspoken, which we recently reviewed, we have to say that the spell-casting segment there was handled a lot better. You could easily swap magic spells on the fly and you had all of them at your disposal at all times. This is something we missed in Hogwarts Legacy. Even so, after a while, you’ll get more proficient at combat, and things will start to feel a bit more natural.

Navigating the world is quite simple and the game offers a lot of fast travel points, which also makes things easier if you have to go back and forth for some of your quests. The map is perhaps a bit more annoying to work with when you want to quick-travel in Hogwarts, but that is only a minor gripe. When you can also take to the skies with your broom or magical beast, exploring becomes even easier. The flight controls do take some time to get used to, but when you get the hang of things, it’s quite satisfying to fly around this beautiful digital universe.

Conclusion

Hogwarts Legacy¬†is an absolutely gorgeous game that offers so much content it can be a bit overwhelming at times. We perhaps felt that the story took the backseat from time to time, but we never encountered a dull moment when playing through the game and we hope that some more content will be added in the future. For now, however, you’ll be treated to a great Harry Potter-inspired adventure that offers a fun story, a lot of content to discover, interesting characters to get to know, and most importantly, a beautifully crafted version of Hogwarts to explore every nook and cranny. Even though the game did still have a few rough edges, mainly in its combat and spell selection systems, we are secretly hoping a sequel will follow in the future.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Hogwarts Legacy - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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