Hogwarts Legacy Review: Video Game in Harry Potter’s Universe

Amazingly, there hasn’t a big-budget Harry Potter video game until now given how forcibly modern pop culture exploits childhood nostalgia. Hogwarts Legacy has a lot to deal with because it represents the sum of millions of teenagers’ dreams and hopes. It can easily make all of your wishes come true, like donning the Sorting Hat, entering the Gryffindor common area, effortlessly controlling the world with a wand, and battling dark wizards.

JK Rowling’s contributions to the transgender rights discussion. She is against self-ID and the entry of trans women into some single-sex places women’s prisons or rape crisis centers. She has upset a large portion of the millennial population who make up Potter’s original and most passionate fanbase, and this game is being boycotted.

Unfortunately, the game is limited by this setting, as much care has been taken to broaden Potter’s magical universe for a 2023 audience. Apart from the puzzling choice to make the goblins, one of the novels’ most unsettling themes, is the main villain. Hogwarts Legacy is scrupulously inclusive. Students and faculty at Hogwarts are from Uganda, India, and Korea. It is strongly suggested, though never clearly mentioned, that at least one character is trans. Within the first five hours, a female quest-giver casually alludes to her wife. Although it is set in the 1800s, this version is completely modern.

Hogwarts Legacy

Harry Potter Theme Scene

Hogwarts Legacy is incredible as a sort of hands-on Harry Potter museum. The castle itself is magnificent and nearly hard to explore. It is a stone maze full of mysteries, vanishing stairs, and moving paintings, as well as hidden passages and information from novels and movies. The Great Hall, with its magical ceiling and chattering masses of students, eluded me for nearly 15 hours. You are taken on an aerial tour the first time you board a broom, a delight that the game defers for a good amount of time, flying between towers and across courtyards while skimming the Great Lake. Is there a more perfect distillation of the freedom of possibilities we found in Harry Potter as children? It’s a smart move. It is delightful when Hogwarts Legacy accepts its role as a wizarding wish-fulfillment simulator.

With the help of a Disillusionment charm and the Alohomora lockpicking spell, the time inside Hogwarts while attending classes and wandering at night. However, the game is easily 40 hours long, and a big part of it takes place outside the castle. In addition to being a center for nostalgic fan service and wizarding tasks down the road, the enchanted town of Hogsmeade also gives you free rein to travel the whole Scottish Highlands (evidently Hogwarts did not keep a very close rein on its students in previous centuries). Unexpectedly, Hogwarts Legacy’s sense of freedom and danger in its open world strongly reminds of the popular Japanese role-playing game Dragon’s Dogma from 2012. Trolls, poachers, goblins, monsters, and mysterious, possibly dangerous ruins and artifacts abound throughout the wild countryside.

Hogwarts and Hogsmeade

However, the game doesn’t have nearly as much personality outside of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. The plot, which centers on a goblin revolt, is weak and dull and asks no questions about the Dark Arts or the reasons why wizards and other magical residents fight one other. The player character is too boring (and posh) to be memorable. The friendships they form neither deep nor believable, and even the most charming characters merely come off as quest-givers. The player character’s look and nature are left up to you. Some of the scene decoration, such as the cups of tea scattered around on tables for your character to sip. This is quite twee and an American version of British charms. Along with the decent ones, there are some terrible Scottish accents. Did Portkey Games run out of money midway through casting?

Magical Wildlife to Battle

The breadth of the open world is amazing. There are hundreds of items to collect instead, along with evil wizards and magical creatures to fend against, like in other open-world games. After a while, it starts to seem repetitive and pointless.

The setting of Hogwarts Legacy gives the game its charm, not its competent but unimpressive game design. Casting spells is wonderful for the first few hours. As you collect additional enchantments to fit into swappable skill wheels, casting spells become more difficult to handle. It features a lot of specific features that are distinctively 2010s. Your young witch or wizard simply sprawls out on the ground to pass the time when you arrive at the wrong hour for a quest. You constantly gather new, marginally better cloaks, scarves, and glasses that must be switched out in inventory screens and make your character look ridiculous. The first thing you do when you find a new hamlet or building is steal everything inside it. There are elaborate crafting and enhancement features.

After more than 15 hours of play, Hogwarts Legacy begins to resemble many open-world games from the previous ten years. You do get to ride a Hippogriff, though. If the Wizarding World still has you spellbound, those wonderful moments and the atmosphere save it from becoming boring.

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