Growing up watching the Harry Potter movies and reading the books. There was always that small part of me that dreamt that Hogwarts to be a real place that I could attend for myself.
And now with the Hogwarts Legacy from WB games and Avalanche Software, that dream of going to Hogwarts and becoming a wizard or witch, can finally come true, albeit virtually.
According to WB Games and Avalanche, here’s what the game is about:
Hogwarts Legacy is an immersive, open-world action RPG set in the world first introduced in the Harry Potter books. For the first time, experience Hogwarts in the 1800s. Your character is a student who holds the key to an ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart. Now you can take control of the action and be at the center of your own adventure in the wizarding world. Your legacy is what you make of it.
Like most open-world RPG titles, the game starts you off by creating your own character.
The character customization menu has a couple of different options. The first is to choose from one of the preset characters made by the developers.
The next section is facewear which has things like face shape, skin colour and glasses. Next is hairstyles which are pretty self-explanatory. Then there’s complexion which you can add freckles, moles and scars on your face. After that, there are eyes and eyebrows.
The final section in the character customization is finalizing your character such as voice, character name, game difficulty and whether your character is a witch or wizard (which only relates to which dormitory your character will be in).
One minor annoyance is that even though the game asks you to name your character, whether you want it to be your own name or a made-up name, your character in the game’s story doesn’t really have a name. Other characters in the game will either call you, “our new student”, “the new fifth year” or no name at all.
It would have been nice to see some kind of naming system like the one featured in the Forza Horizon series, which lets you choose from a list of names or nicknames for characters to call you.
For voice, there are only two options of tone to choose from, male and female presenting but you can change the pitch using the slider that has 5 increments, which you can choose the one that best suits you.
The Hogwarts Legacy team at Avalanche wanted the customization menu to feel inclusive, meaning that players can choose their avatar’s appearance, voice and their character’s gender identity.
You’ll also be able to customize your character further with clothing items found or bought in the game.
One thing to note is that the game’s in-game currency can be a fit hard to come by. Fighting some enemies or going to a treasure cave usually gets you a new clothing item rather than some coins.
Thankfully, you can sell the clothing items you find at any of the shops at Hogsmeade.
Once you’re done customizing your character, you’ll soon be thrust into the world of Hogwarts Legacy, via a cutscene and then a tutorial section that teaches you the basics of the game.
After going through the first quest of the game, you’ll finally make your way to Hogwarts where you’ll then use the Sorting Hat and be assigned a house. The Sorting Hat will ask you a few questions about yourself and you’ll be given a few choices.
The Hat will take your answers and assign you a house, if you don’t like the house the Sorting Hat chose, you can easily select a different house.
Following a few starter quests, you’ll then be given access to the entire world of Hogwarts and its surrounding Hogwarts Valley and Hogsmeade. Unlike some open-world games, the map is open to you from the start of the game and you can explore. You’ll also come across Floo Flame locations that let you fast-travel in the game.
While you can go exploring the game, you will come across enemies that are higher levels than you and in turn are more powerful. As you go through the game, you’ll earn XP to level up. As you level up, you’ll get skill points to unlock new abilities.
Throughout the game, you’ll be learning and casting new spells and to do so, you’ll hold RT and press either A, B, X, or Y to use the assigned spell. You can have up to four spells assigned at a time and as you progress through the story, you’ll get the option to have four presets of spells that you can switch between by holding RT and one of the D-pad buttons.
A quick press of RT will just cast a basic spell which is useful against weaker enemies. Holding down LT will help you aim your spells.
For those wanting a truly immersive Hogwarts schooling experience, you won’t find it here. You will attend some classes to learn some new spells, points or other abilities, but attending class won’t be a daily activity with mini-games.
The game features several enemy types including goblins, dark wizards, trolls, spiders and more.
Also while exploring the open world, there are treasure caves along with Merlin Trials which are puzzles that if you complete a certain number unlock more slots in your inventory.
One minor annoyance is that the side quests (such as the Merin Trials) in the game can get a bit repetitive. Most of the side quests usually have you speaking with a side character, asking what they need help with, then going to find an item or do a task for them and then coming back to tell them you did it.
Completing more quests in the game will also unlock items such as the brooms to help you fly around the map faster and mounts like Hippogriffs. Unfortunately, there is no Quidditch in the game, despite the Hogwarts Quidditch field being recreated in the game.
In terms of visuals, Hogwarts Legacy looks great. The game runs at 4K resolution on Xbox Series X with HDR (on compatible displays) and up to 60fps.
There are so many small details in and around Hogwarts castle and the surrounding area. Even the character models look great. Walking around Hogwarts Castles makes you feel immersed as if you’ve been dropped into the Wizarding World.
The game also features two performance models. The first is Fidelity which favours resolution and graphic quality. With this mode on, there’s also an option to ray-tracing on current-gen consoles like the Xbox Series X and PS5.
There’s also an option to turn off the frame rate cap in Fidelity mode to get both a higher frame rate and resolution.
The other mode is Performance which favours a higher frame rate over resolution. In this mode, you can get a true 60fps.
Overall, Hogwarts Legacy is a great open-world RPG game that perfectly encapsulates the Wizarding World.
Hogwarts Legacy is available now for Xbox Series X & S, PS5 and PC. The game will be launching for Xbox One and PS4 on May 5th, 2023 and for Nintendo Switch on July 25th, 2023.
An Xbox Series X review code of the game was provided by the game’s publisher, WB Games.
- Great visuals
- Faithful recreation of Hogwarts Castle and surrounding areas
- A good amount of character customization
- Makes you feel like you’re part of the Wizarding World
- Spell combat works well
- Side quests can get repetitive
- Spell preset swapping is a bit clunky
- Limited character voice options