Hogwarts Legacy Reviews

  • LifeExpectancyLifeExpectancy1,747,735
    17 Feb 2023 18 Feb 2023
    24 1 16
    **********SPOILER FREE**********
    Well well well, what do we have here. Quite an unexpected and pleasant surprise from a universe of which I'm not a huge fan. I don't dislike the Harry Potter universe mind you, but I've always just had a "well that was a pretty good movie" attitude, and have never read the books.

    That said, this game is quite the spectacle, and well worth your time. Bear with me folks, as it's been a LONG time since I reviewed a game other than my beloved Ori and the Blind Forest. (And Potter fans bear with me if I don't get the intricacies of what is or isn't happening in this game).

    Hogwarts Legacy will have you following the path of a young wizard at the titular school of Wizarding, as well as roaming out into the wider world to expand on the central story line. You'll use spells, potions, magic items like a meat-eating cabbage, and 'basic magic' (aka unlimited zaps from your wand, similar to magic missiles in the D&D universe) to fend off animals, magical creatures, the undead, and evil wizards as you gain experience more powerful magic. You can grow your own plants and brew your own potions in the Room of Requirement early-on, but I dont find it super useful for my play style.

    What struck me first and foremost about this game is just how incredibly detailed Hogwarts is. After the opening sequence, I wound up spending several hours just wandering around the school. I'm playing on Xbox Series X with the hi-rez texture pack downloaded, and even in performance mode I was absolutely in awe of the developers' attention to even the tiniest detail in the castle. There is a fidelity mode option (aka better graphics but at the risk of frame-rate drops), and a fidelity mode with ray-tracing (peak graphics, on Series X at least, but with noticeable performance issues even for someone not that picky like myself).

    The easiest place to see the difference in fidelity mode with ray-tracing is in front of a mirror. In performance mode on Series X, the mirror would reflect my character admirably. I was even able to make out the difference when I switched hats, and the feather in my cap (literally) was noticeable in the mirror. But the room behind me was just a blur, and my character was a 'shadow of herself'.

    With fidelity and ray-tracing, the mirror recreated the room behind me in stunning detail, and I could do my character's make-up using the mirror (if that were an option - it isn't). I highly recommend sticking to performance mode. The differences are extremely minor anywhere else in the game without a mirror to gaze upon. The lip movements for the massive amount of spoken dialogue are the best, most realistic I've ever seen in any game.

    Even in performance mode, the lighting shines above and beyond most games (pun intended). Shadows dance and waver based on the source direction of the light, and some of the more explosive combat spells can light up a dark cavern in a real feast for the eyes. I'm not surprised, and thankful, the OG Xb1 and PS4 versions were abandoned as they would have hamstrung the devs' work on the visuals. An odd graphical glitch such as clipping, and the lower half of an NPCs cloak rotating around to the front like an apron, mars the near perfection of the visuals, but they're superbly polished 99.5% of the time.

    Speaking of combat, once I pulled myself away from exploring Hogwarts to get to the meat of the game's story, I found the combat mechanics equally satisfying. The combat is what you make of it, however. If all you do is spam cn_RT for the 'basic magic' zaps and roll around with cn_B to dodge, you'll quickly get bored. If, however, you set up your quick-casting options appropriately, there is something immensely satisfying about a Glacius->Leviosa->Repulso combo to levitate a frozen enemy and throw them into a wall or another foe to explode on impact. The light show of a confringo-ending combat combo is dazzling if done in a confined chamber.

    Don't shy away from upgrading your talent tree in the 'dark arts' section either, as this will open up even more combat options, allowing you to mix things up further with your spell combos. You'll quickly find yourself becoming more of a walking nuclear weapon than a lowly little wizardling child. The game has no difficulty-related achievements, so I expect many folks will play on story or easy mode, and that's totally fine if it's your cup of tea. For true enjoyment of your character's weapon-of-mass-destruction spell combo abilities however, I'd suggest one of the higher difficulties as you become accustomed to the game's flow. You can start off on a lower difficulty then bump it up as you go.

    Another very pleasant surprise is the gear system. Although you'll want to upgrade to the latest-greatest gear for better offensive and defensive stats, especially if playing on higher difficulties, the game allows you to press cn_X when hovering over a particular gear slot and change its appearance to any piece of gear you've found previously. With so much of this game's enjoyment being how much of a visual spectacle it has, it's quite nice to keep your character looking how you see fit without sacrificing combat stats to do it.

    Inventory space is quite lacking early on, so make sure you are selling any and every extra piece of gear you have on your person at every opportunity. Being able to use their visual appearance on your higher-stat gear removes any sting from doing so, and until you complete Merlin Trials to upgrade your max gear quantity that you can carry, you'll need the slots for additional loot you find.

    Collectibles... oh how I normally loath thee. Collectibles are a hallmark of modern RPGs, for better or worse, and Hogwarts is no exception. Between field guide pages aplenty, Merlin trials to complete, Demiguise statues to hunt down, and butterfly mirrors for which you track down their corresponding Lepidoptera (just to get another field guide page, mind you), the collectibles in this game could quickly become annoying. Somehow though, despite having already found over half the collectibles in the game, I haven't gotten super annoyed.

    Perhaps it is because I am not going out of my way to sit and grind them out, hunting hither thither and yon, and doing it all in one go. I tend to find myself just hunting for the occasional one if I cast Revelio and hear the characteristic 'ping' of a page nearby. I have vibration turned off (never cared for it, even a little, on any game), so I have to rely on the nearness of the sound and its directionality. But it hasn't become a bother.

    You'll be hunting down treasure chests frequently for better gear (hopefully) anyway, so you tend to find quite a lot of the pages by shear happenstance, which is a true saving grace. Added to that, the mini-map does a fantastic job of pointing out nearby items to find (chests, Merlin challenges, and pages), so it really isn't as much of a bother as it could otherwise be.

    As for the story, I won't get into it in detail because I'd rather not spoil anything for anyone. Suffice to say that much as Potter discovers himself in a way in the movies, so too will you learn about your character as you progress through the game. With that will come twists and turns in the plot, and although I'm not even halfway through the main story, the portents and foreshadowing are pulling me in well, in many ways better than the Potter movies ever did. Perhaps it's just easier to see myself vicariously in a character I'm controlling than one on the silver screen.

    I have one gripe with Hogwarts. There are several points in the game where you're following along behind an NPC as they talk about this or that. I get that it's to expand on the plot, and perhaps it's a way to mask the loading of larger areas behind the scenes so as not to take you out of the experience, but the walking speed is excruciatingly slow. For whatever reason, these follow-the-leader sequences annoyed the living bejeesus out of me. But that really is my only gripe with an otherwise masterpiece of a game.

    All-in-all this is one of the best RPGs I've ever played, and I don't say that lightly. I've been trying to play The Witcher 3 lately, and have struggled to maintain any desire to play it. Yet I can't put Hogwarts down, except when I absolutely must to spend time with my wife, or get some sleep so I'm not dead at work. I'm surprised and pleased to see such an incredible game come out of a big-budget studio. That feels like more of a rarity these days than ever, with so many AAA big-budget games falling into the same tired routines and half-arsed bug-filled releases. Hogwarts is a polished, fresh twist on a pretty routine formula for Action-RPGs, and I'm loving every bewitching minute of it. Play this game, whether you're a Potter fan or not.
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    BownzinhoGood review. I’m looking forward to getting this when it comes out on the previous gen consoles and am happy waiting.

    Also the fact that you have the guts to say you don’t have the desire to play Witcher 3 is always a thumbs up in my book 👍
    Posted by Bownzinho on 24 Feb 23 at 15:57
    LifeExpectancyI thought they cancelled the prior gen versions entirely? Did they walk that back or did I misunderstand the announcement?
    Posted by LifeExpectancy on 24 Feb 23 at 20:49
    BownzinhoSorry I didn’t get back to you, I’ve only just seen it. Yeah they delayed the previous gen versions for a few months after the current gen ones
    Posted by Bownzinho on 19 Jun 23 at 19:02
  • Don NielsonDon Nielson764,331
    13 Mar 2023 13 Mar 2023
    3 0 0
    Hogwarts Legacy seems to want to revive the magic of the Wizarding World. After somewhat disappointing returns from films about Newt Scamander, developer Avalanche Software now goes back more than a hundred years in the past to let you explore Hogwarts as a fifth-year student. Can the studio behind the Disney Infinity games deliver a top game with Hogwarts Legacy or does the game suck all the joie de vivre out of players as if they were being kissed by a Dementor?

    Unique and entertaining
    To take away all your worries, Hogwarts Legacy has become a very extensive and entertaining game. People who want to discover everything about the world around Hogwarts and Hogsmeade can easily spend eighty hours here. Would you rather just go through the main story? Then you will still be allowed to put an hour or thirty into the game. But what exactly is the main story about? More about that later. Your adventure starts with the creation of your character. The Character Creator has a multitude of options to choose from and thankfully isn't limited to three or four base models. After you have managed to design your own character, and have made a choice what your character's actual name is, the adventure begins.

    What's it about?
    As a fifth-year student who has just been accepted into Hogwarts, you seem somewhat of a novice to the world of the wizards and witches that populate the world of the Wizarding World. Fortunately, it soon turns out that your character has a real talent for everything that has to do with magic. You are even able to see a kind of "Ancient Magic" that your teachers cannot perceive. The reason for this and why an annoying goblin named Ranrok is trying to make your life miserable is something you as a player have to discover for yourself. I found the story overall a bit predictable, but luckily it didn't detract from the experience at all. Because Hogwarts Legacy takes place more than a hundred years before the events of the Harry Potter stories, you will mainly meet new characters. In many cases they are ancestors of well-known figures with recognizable names such as Weasley and Black. In any case, I thought all the characters were well portrayed in terms of voice acting and the used character models. Without using the well-known characters, Hogwarts Legacy does an excellent job of creating the magical atmosphere of the films.

    For the people who have been living under a rock for the past few years; Hogwarts Legacy is an action RPG where you can explore the world of Hogwarts at your leisure. The story takes place over the span of about one school year. During that year you will have to attend classes, add new spells to your assortment and complete a huge amount of missions. Some missions will revolve around the main story, but a much larger amount of missions will be devoted to your friendships and relationships with fellow students and teachers at Hogwarts. Completing these missions will earn you experience points and over time your character will level up and your stats will improve as a result. Where most RPGs would give you points for defeating wizards, monsters and other enemies, in Hogwarts Legacy you will only earn experience points by completing the missions and completing challenges.

    Challenge accepted!
    These challenges vary greatly in terms of gameplay. For example, there are challenges aimed at collecting hidden pages that are hidden everywhere. Fortunately, you can find ingame on your map in which areas you are still missing collectables. But challenges come in all shapes and sizes. Defeating specific types of opponents, collecting items, preparing potions and much more will keep you constantly busy unlocking rewards. The gameplay loop of just completing an extra side quest or challenge regularly ensured that I kept playing the game until the wee hours of the day. The atmosphere is excellently created by the large scale of the locations, the eye for detail within Hogwarts and the world and the dialogues between the various characters. Hogwarts Legacy, in my opinion, makes it feel like the setting of the books and the movies really comes to life on a grand scale. Unfortunately, Quidditch is not an optional activity to keep you entertained for hours, as competitions have been canceled for the entire school year. But maybe that will be added in a future DLC.

    Magic battles
    For me, the main question was whether the battles with your magic wand would actually be fun to play. Well, I got a quick answer to that. Fighting in Hogwarts Legacy mainly depends on the spells you assign to your buttons. Some spells are better suited to use up close, while others are more effective when used against enemies from a distance. Expelliarmus you get after a few hours of playing and is excellent for disarming enemies. But a spell like Protego, for example, is simply a defensive spell that blocks opponents' attacks. In total you will be able to add more than 25 different spells to your arsenal, which you can alternate fairly easily by means of hotkeys and four hotbars. You'll need to unlock the ability for more hotbars first, but eventually you'll be able to allocate four sets of four spells. Enemies you encounter often have a color indication that indicates which type of spells are best to use. It's not like this means you should only use that color, but it's often the quickest way to get around their Protego spells and take them out faster.

    Changing clothes
    After your character reaches level 5, you also get the option to assign talent points to skills. As befits a good RPG, you will mainly use these points to make a unique build of your character. Do you choose to make your Ancient Magic stronger? Then you will regularly be able to hurl barrels and boxes at your enemies. But in addition to the skills you can develop, you can also equip your wizard with a multitude of clothing items. Each piece of clothing has a trio of statistics in the form of defense, attack and hit points. Although there are different classes, such as rare and legendary, for most of the game you will simply choose the clothes that have the best stats. It pays to open chests in your environment when your inventory is not completely filled. Excess items are easy to sell and when you like a certain style but the stats are no longer strong enough to justify your choice, you can simply choose to apply the cosmetic styling to your new item. That way you can shape your character exactly as you want without making sacrifices in terms of statistics.

    Still some ugly trolls in the beautiful world
    Hogwarts Legacy knows how to create a beautiful world on the Xbox Series X. However, there are some minor flaws here and there. For example, in a huge open world you will occasionally encounter some graphical errors such as students walking through each other, sometimes objects and characters float in the air and there is something to be said about the sound design here and there. As long as you are exploring the world, the music and musical hints stand out because of their recognisability. You will recognize many famous tunes from the Harry Potter soundtrack here. The ambient sound of talking students, water streams and animals also sound excellent. It is only that, when you pay close attention to the dialogues between your character and other characters, you notice that some recordings sound a bit hollow and robotic. It is not the case with every character, but I suspect it has something to do with the compression of the audio fragments. It's never super distracting and doesn't detract much from the experience, but I started to notice it more after a few hours of playing.

    Despite some minor technical flaws, Hogwarts Legacy has become a wonderful game. The gameplay is rock solid, the world is varied, exciting and definitely worth exploring and the atmosphere is dripping from all sides. Hogwarts Legacy has become the game Harry Potter fans have been hoping for. And although the story takes place more than a hundred years before Harry Potter, the magic of the franchise is fully reflected in Hogwarts Legacy.
  • amillentamillent535,000
    22 Jan 2024
    1 0 0
    Very rarely does a game come along from an established IP that nails the source material, is wonderfully crafted, and respects the fantasy. Hogwarts Legacy achieves this magic (pun intended) and makes me wish I could have similar worlds designed for franchises I adore. Besides some technical hiccups and at times things feeling bloated, Hogwarts Legacy is a wonderful magic-based RPG experience for fans of the franchise or just the casual gamer pulled towards fantasy driven western RPGs. Hogwarts Legacy does an excellent job cementing itself as one of my favorite experiences of 2023.

    Hogwarts Legacy drops you into the legendary school as a 5th-year student, which is an uncommon thing to happen. But conveniently slaps your student right into the middle of the main plot, which often times seems lacking and shallow compared to other stories going on around you. In a story that excels at creating plot armor and relevancy, the stories from your fellow students really bring you back down into the world. You'll spend your days attending short and sweet classes that act as a way of introducing you to the diverse but somewhat dull cast of characters from which your many side quests and tasks will come. Potion crafting, spell learning, and the Room of Requirement, which acts as a sort of home base for crafting, decorating, and resource gathering minigames, will all be given to you over time as you fill in downtime.

    The world of Hogwarts Legacy, as the name implies, predominantly features Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, The Forbidden Forest, the nearby village of Hogsmeade, and the far and wide country side. Dotted with other small hamlets and ancient architecture holding onto itself within the wooded areas. While no previous knowledge of the series is necessary, there are clever nods to places from the books, sometimes word for word, and characters that are directly related to Harry's cast of characters. The map itself is a mixture of being overwhelming and empty at the same time; there are varying types of collectibles all around, but that at times feels like the sole reason for the map being as big as it is. Once you collect these, or if you don't care about them at all, you find yourself fast traveling between locations because even broom travel can take a few minutes to get you where you need to go. The map could honestly have been cut in half and still have the same effect of capturing the immersion and locals from the books and movies.

    Gameplay and combat revolve around a four-button layout for abilities and spells; you can later upgrade this to have four different preset pages. Everything from combat spells to things needed for puzzles or beast care requires its own space among your presets. With that many options, I found myself frantically opening my spell page and swapping things out mid-fight over and over again. Managing your base combat abilities and making sure you have counters to different types of shields and spells for puzzle solving just becomes more cumbersome as you progress. Elite mobs scattered around, along with a few arena challenges, are there for those of you who want to excel as duelists and really test your merit and knowledge.

    Hogwarts Legacy loosely follows the guidelines of a western RPG, has very baseline skill trees that I found myself running out of options I'd actually want to put points in, and a gear system that gets bogged down by a very limited inventory. I didn't necessarily feel a growth in power as I got better gear and enemies scaled with you in most instances. The upside to the limited inventory is that the transmog system is in place from the get-go; some outfits and armor pieces are purely cosmetic and let you customize your student to your liking. There's nothing better than what's supposed to be an intense story cutscene and your student runs in wearing a pumpkin head or the equivalent of a platypus beak.

    Hogwarts Legacy has a roughly 30-hour main story but is packed full of side quests, whose amounts differ depending on which house you're sorted into near the start of the game. As mentioned, a majority of the side quests involve your fellow classmates and do a better job at bringing you into the world and really capturing the spirit of Hogwarts than the main story itself. I feel as if when the team at Avalanche approaches a sequel, they take a more confined story focused more on being apart of the school instead of padding things out with extra fluff. If you're a longtime fan of the series or just need an itch for your western rpg with a fantasy focus, I highly recommend giving Hogwarts Legacy a chance to see if you also get caught up in the magic.
  • PangoBaraPangoBara2,806,253
    13 Jul 2023 16 Jul 2023
    4 17 0
    This game is INCREDIBLY boring. All the story arcs are very predictable, which isn't even necessarily a bad thing but the characters aren't good enough to make up for it. The collectibles are a nightmare and are built into the EXP system even if you don't care about grabbing them for achievements.

    The Good:
    • Hogwarts itself is decently pretty and well done. They packed a lot of detail and references into it.
    • The 3 relationship quest characters - Natty, Poppy, and Sebastian are alright enough. At least a little interesting in concept.
    • Some of the voice acting is pretty good.
    • I liked 1 of the puzzles in the game which involves bells (not the ones in Hogwarts)
    • The collectibles you find with Revelio at least have you explore famous areas or items from the HP universe and give you little tidbits on them.
    • Combat is kinda alright

    The Bad:
    • Almost everything about the game is very boring.
    • One of the relationship storylines feels as if you don't matter even slightly. No choices you make actually affect anything, you basically end up doing pretty shitty things even if you say that you are against stuff the whole way. All good potential the questline has just feels wasted.
    • The EXP works kinda alright but punishes people that aren't completionists. You only level up when working towards challenges. There are challenges to kill a certain number of each enemy type (the 6 enemy types that exist), finding collectibles, and completing quests. Killing enemies can only get you far which is an alright idea, but it forces you to find a fuckton of collectibles to keep leveling up.
    • COLLECTIBLES! There are sooooo many collectibles in the game. Hundreds even. Over a hundred requires you to do these puzzles that need a consumable to even start. The puzzles themselves are just a quick little thing that requires you to use one of the spells that you have forgotten about. You will spend most of the game mashing cn_left.
    • Collectibles... Again, there are so many. Use Revelio to find and collect field guide pages, use Accio to collect field guide pages, use Levioso to collect field guide pages, use a fire spell to collect field guide pages, use Lumos to collect field guide pages... 😐. Then, onto the other 200+ collectibles. The field guide pages aren't even the most annoying (or 2nd most annoying) collectible in the game imo.
    • Booooooring
    •When doing the very predictable quests, a lot of time is spent very slowly following characters where the game doesn't let you run or even move at your normal walking speed.
    • The morality stuff might as well not even exist. It clearly wasn't finished due to budget or time constraints (at least I hope they didn't think it was well done). You only benefit from doing things such as asking for more money or learning extremely evil spells that are hated by wizardkind. You actively should always ask for money after sidequests. They never reject you and are often even happy to give it to you. The evil spells are very nice to have and no one gives a shit if you learn them. It changes nothing. You can basically shoot a puppy with a sniper rifle in front of a professor and they don't give a shit.
    • Some of the professors seemed like they coulda been interested by they are barely shoved into the game.
    • Most of playing on higher difficulties just makes the game more annoying. Like making it more obnoxious to pick locks, having to do a dumb little minigame to catch animals, etc... The increase in combat difficulty may be a little nice but it isn't worth it imo.
    • BORING
    • Combat is unrewarding. Most of it is just matching colors then mashing cn_RT. If an enemy has a purple shield, use purple spell. If yellow, use yellow. If red, use red. Evil spells break all shields. It's fun for a little but gets old real fast. I'd really recommend just taking the evil ones when offered. While I do think it's okay enough, I generally thought of combat as an inconvenience.
    • Whatever house you pick means nothing except for a short 10 minute quest early in the game and where you're bedroom is (though you'll never go there on purpose). They still thought it would be a good idea to make you play the first 2-ish hours over and over again for each house for separate achievements.

    At the end of the day, this was one of the hardest to get through completions that I've ever done (though nothing will ever surpass It Lurks Below for me lol). It's at least pretty enough with some fan service while working and at least actually is a game so I'll give it a 2/5. Though I think that rating even is kinds stretching it and could not recommend it less.
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