Let me start this article by saying that I am not a Harry Potter fan. JK Rowling controversies aside, I just was never invested in her writing. However, I am a big fan of gaming, and story-driven, action-based RPG games are among my favorites to play.
For big fans of the Harry Potter franchise, the game has been more than enjoyable if the record-breaking sales are anything to go by. But as someone who expected to play an open-world game and learn to be a powerful wizard, the game leaves me wishing for more.
A lot of the gameplay elements are fun; you can fly brooms, make potions, go to classes and learn new abilities, face trials, explore Hogwarts and the Forbidden Forest, go shopping at Hogsmeade, duel other wizards, and many other activities. As someone that was expecting to utilize many spells, enjoying the usage of magic, there is surprisingly little variety for a wizard game. There are only 27 spells in total.
The graphics are by far the most stunning part of the game. The world is wonderfully rendered and feels real as far as the eye can see, from the halls of Hogwarts itself to the grounds and trees of the forest outside.
Customization is a very enjoyable part of any RPG-based game, and Hogwarts Legacy has plenty for you to design your character. You can alter your character’s face using a vast amount of options that span between masculine and feminine, able to change your hairstyle, nose shape, mouth shape, eye color, etc. Customization doesn’t stop there, as you are able to change your clothing, your wand, and your character’s bedroom at any time, allowing for lots of creative fun. Of course, this game also allows you to choose your Hogwarts house.
The storyline isn’t particularly original or that exciting in the scope of Harry Potter. Hogwarts Legacy’s plot begins with you transferring to Hogwarts as a fifth-year witch or wizard. Almost immediately, you get entangled in the central conflict of the story where a goblin named Ranrok is leading a rebellion. You also discover that you have these incredibly powerful and potent magical abilities that aren’t really explained. Also, as someone who hates having loads of exposition and world-building details thrown at them, I quickly grew bored during the points of the game where I was forced to listen to dead characters lecture to me about the history of Hogwarts.
The characters in Hogwarts Legacy are the most lackluster aspect. The characters don’t seem to really come to life. They act as if they are aware of their limited role to play; this goes for mostly everyone, the students, teachers, and villains. All of them come off flat, and this is made more apparent by the stilted animation and awkward dialogue. The inability to talk to any of these NPCs when quests aren’t involved certainly makes matters worse. The characters feel more like scenery or an object rather than a person.
Overall, Hogwarts Legacy has its strengths and weaknesses. I had fun with it. It is worth trying, and I recommend this game be played by anyone who enjoys RPGS. To Harry Potter fans, I strongly encourage those who are long-time enthusiasts to buy this game and vicariously experience some of your childhood dreams for yourself.
Photo by Jules Marvin Eguilos on Unsplash