Harry Potter fans have waited for an open-world Harry Potter game for almost two decades, and it’s crazy to think that we may have finally got what we have been asking for. After a lengthy wait and fear of delays, it’s finally here.
So, the question is: does Hogwarts Legacy live up to the expectations, or do we have another No Man’s Sky and Cyberpunk 2077 situation on our hands?
From the beginning of the game, you’re thrown into the action. I won’t spoil the gameplay and storyline. The game does a good job of getting you to move around. At the start, you explore on foot, and then you get to use a broomstick. The game does a good job guiding you through Hogwarts, introducing you to the teachers, your classmates, and the things you need.
From a graphics perspective, the game looks better than the official trailers and clips gave it credit for. Hogwarts Legacy looks incredible, and despite the fact it’s not a massive open world, it’s big enough it feels exciting, and there is plenty to explore. I didn’t test to see what the game looked like with performance mode turned on. I chose to prioritise graphics over performance. And despite that, the game performs well, even during intense battles.
It’s rare for a licenced IP like this to be so well executed. After being burned by other titles promising the world over the years and not delivering, it’s a shock to see a game so well done right out of the gate. There are weird little glitches and things with NPCs, but I have not encountered anything game-breaking like I did when Cyberpunk 2077 launched.
The depth of this game is deep and immersive. Not only does it do the lore of the Harry Potter universe justice, but it’s filled with secrets, puzzles, side questions and magic that keep you wanting to play the game.
The combat system is way better than I expected. You start off with basic spells and then learn more advanced ones as you progress. You can duel to practice, even against other groups. Not only can you perform spells, but you can also combo (which becomes quite important as you progress through the game). Once again, the fighting is way better than any official video clips released prior.
You can’t get by just blocking and fighting back when you start to go up in the difficulty levels. A degree of skill is required to win some of the fights you find yourself in, requiring you to choose the right spells and combos.
And complementing the combat is a great use of the PlayStation 5 Duelsense controller. The tactile feedback you get, the vibrations and feeling you get during battle, is surprisingly helpful.
During the initial character creation, I found all the characters had a same-samey vibe. It’s hard to explain. But, no matter how hard you try to create a unique character, it’ll end up looking like a character you’ll always see.
Where this, fortunately, is fixed is the endless clothing options. You can go wild changing your outfits and style in the game. As you progress, you can get new items and give your character much-needed personalisation that addresses this.
But let’s be honest: who buys this game for the customisation options anyway? You want to fly around the wizarding world of Hogwarts and its surroundings. It’s a tiny insignificant downside.
Great sound design
The voice acting was mostly fantastic. There did appear to be times when some of the characters you meet sounded like they were hired from Fiverr, but for the most part, the game is consistent in its delivery of character voicing from the main character to most of the NPCs.
Surprisingly, the thing I was shocked about the most was the music. Instead of just unoriginally copying music from the Harry Potter films, the game offers a unique take on Harry Potter’s mysterious and magical music you would associate with the films but offers a unique spin on it that makes the music feel like its own thing.
You will also notice the variations in the music during different scenes and battles, like the music was curated for a film and not a game. This is the kind of detail many games overlook and it makes a much bigger difference to the overall atmosphere of the game than you would think.
There is no Quidditch.
Before the game was released, we knew there would be no Quidditch. And in the game, there is an explanation for why there is no Quidditch. Oddly enough, despite the reasoning, there is still no Quidditch arena, which seems odd.
Many fans hope we inevitably get a Quidditch DLC of some kind, which would make this game even more perfect. And I have hope that this will happen, perhaps with changes to the storyline that allows Quidditch to return to the game universe. We already have the flying mechanics; let’s get it in there.
If you were on the fence, get down. Hogwarts Legacy has all but cemented it will be a serious game-of-the-year contender, and it will take some serious competition for it to be dethroned. It’s immersive, mysterious, exciting and a solid IP title.
Given the game’s success and how well-received it is from critics and those already playing it, Avalance and Warner Brothers would be crazy not to pump out a few DLC packs for this game. They have a solid foundation here; they can expand with many new things (hopefully Quidditch).
This title was worthy of a pre-order (which I did and got early) and a day-one purchase. Don’t wait for it to go on sale. This game exceeds my expectations and most likely will exceed yours too.