With Hogwarts Legacy, we finally get to wander around Harry Potter's Wizarding World again and dazzle Hogwarts with wizardry. This time, however, it will not star Potter and his friends. In fact, his name is not mentioned anywhere, as this game is set well before this era, in the 19th century. Since the famous wizard is nowhere in sight, this gives developer Avalanche Software, known for Disney Infinity, the freedom and creativity to let you experience your own story at Hogwarts with a different protagonist. Has publisher Warner Bros. Games got the magic touch? Grab your broom, and your wand and find out for yourself!
You're a fifth-year wizard at Hogwarts
It’s the year 1890 when you, a new protagonist, are invited to study as a fifth-year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. Since you are not playing with a famous character from author J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World, you get to play with the character creator. I introduced the witch Amelie O'Leary to the game. Following this, I am picked up by a carriage and the fierce adventure of a lifetime begins. Suddenly, I am attacked by a dragon, escape via a Portkey, and end up with Professor Fig in an unknown ruin in atmospheric Scotland full of magnificent architecture. Fighting statues and exploring environments, I soon discovered an ancient mystery. It is implied that the attack is the work of a goblin, but there are doubts about that.
The overwhelming beginning continued when I arrived at Hogwarts. The magical world consumed me and there is no rest for the wicked! Soon, the familiar Sorting Hat reaches out to you for one of the four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin - I ended up at Ravenclaw with my O'Leary. Although this has little impact on the game and the story, it is still nostalgic to represent a department.
The game's intro is quite long, but the story is nicely woven into it. Throughout the first quests and lessons, you already get a sniff of how things work at Hogwarts. Furthermore, you quickly get to work on the necessary gameplay Hogwarts Legacy has to offer. As the story slowly unravels, you'll enjoy the castle, environments and side quests (often with their own small stories). Avalanche has done a great job of creating an authentic, yet recognisably Potter-ish story.
What’s the magic word?
That there is a lot to experience becomes clear right from the start. Explore Hogwarts' vast castle and its environments and you will come across plenty of characters to talk to, or items to interact with. Then there are the many mini-games and challenges, collectibles to find, and (mind-bending) puzzles to solve. Challenges and a leveling system yield rewards such as new and better gear. Follow the various classes at Hogwarts to learn new spells that make you more resilient during battles. It is wonderful to summon Wingardium LeviOsa or Avada Kedavra for solid combat work!
You might think you're done with four basic spells, but you'll get tons of extra spells as the story progresses. Additionally, the need to craft potions will be important once the battles start getting more intense. Learning which magic is the best for any given situation is part of the fun! All the extra content alongside the main story just makes the game even more interesting. Spoiler alert! There are even some cool things that you learn about the school.
Admittedly, the story isn’t as in-depth as I would like it to be, however, it does a great job of keeping you enthralled. The road before you unravels, the mystery entices you and the nostalgic Potter vibe runs throughout the gameplay.
Enchanting discoveries in Scotland
One thing that is great about Hogwarts Legacy is that you don’t have to spend all of your time on large-scale missions. Instead, you can get on your broom and fly through the Scottish Highlands - a tasty appetiser in preparation for my holiday to Scotland! It all looks stunning from above, but don't forget to explore everything on foot too. There are familiar magical places and useful ingredients to find, plus the seasons change. Think of a pumpkin-decorated dining room in autumn and snow during the winter season. The time and love that developer Avalanche has put into it is very noticeable. For seasoned Potter fans and newcomers alike, there is little bad to find. Unfortunately, for now, we cannot play Quidditch, which will hopefully be added with DLC.
Most of all, take your time exploring Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest and the rest of the surrounding area. There is so much beauty to see and the atmosphere is inexhaustible; all those little details in the castle, the moving staircases, the recognisable music. There are convincing dialogues between students here and there and funny scenes happen in between, such as a student being haunted by a ghost. This makes for a believable world in which you are happy to spend hours.
A word on the technical side of Hogwarts Legacy
There is also little to criticize on a technical level. Hogwarts Legacy runs very smoothly on my PS5 and looks beautiful. You can choose between five technical modes in the game, which either make the game more graphically beautiful or improve performance. In this, it is noticeable that not every mode works equally fine, which is why I played the game mostly on ‘Balanced’. A fine and stable 40fps and a resolution approaching 4K.
There are minor glitches here and there, such as clothing glitches and small hiccups between cutscenes and gameplay switches. In addition, there are sometimes short loading times when you walk through a door into another room. I haven't experienced this very often in a PS5 game and I hope Avalanche can patch this. It's not annoying by any means, but current consoles are advanced enough to run this without loading times. However, I think the developer has done a fine job with Hogwarts Legacy because, after all, this is their biggest game besides the Disney Infinity titles.
Our Final Thoughts…
Hogwarts Legacy can easily be called an excellent game! Gamers have had to wait a long time for such a game in the Harry Potter universe and it is a stunner right away. New faces mixed with familiar families, a beautiful and detailed Hogwarts setting, and a fun story that engages until the end. Developer Avalanche Software has put a lot of love into details, quests and extra content. As such, you will spend dozens of hours exploring this magical world and engaging in exciting battles. Apart from some technical flaws, clichéd storylines and the lack of the sport Quidditch, this game is magical-finger-licking good. Hogwarts Legacy rightly warms the hearts of many Wizarding World fans!
- Magically beautiful world
- Atmospheric Hogwarts
- Lots of great content
- Combining spells in combat
- Captivating story
- Loading times and glitches
- No Quidditch