As a die-hard fan of the Harry Potter books and movies, this game has been on my list of highly-anticipated games since it was revealed in September 2020. I was worried – will they manage to capture the essence of the world, or will they miss the mark? Check out my spoiler-free Hogwarts Legacy review before deciding to buy the game.
Hogwarts Legacy Review
“Yeh’ll have a great time at Hogwarts — I still do, ‘smatter of fact.”
The world created by the Harry Potter books is massive, and it was most likely a daunting task to bring it all together in a single game. The developers of Avalanche Software have nailed it. Take a bow, Avalanche.
From the moment I saw the first official reveal trailer during the September PS5 event, I was ready to wait as long as the developers wanted to polish this beauty. After the last Harry Potter movie in 2011, I missed a new representation of the phenomenal and captivating interiors of Hogwarts Castle.
I wanted to explore all the rooms in this seven-floored exquisite wizarding school. I wanted to stand at the shores of the Great Lake and even traverse the ancient Forbidden Forest. I wanted to tame the magical creatures and hover above the valley & panorama surrounding the castle.
And when it was revealed that the all-wizard village of Hogsmeade would be present in the game, it was a perfect cherry on top of all my excitement. Yes, Hogsmeade was available in one form or another in other Harry Potter games like Philosopher’s Stone to the latest mobile game Magic Awakened. But still, the thought of visiting the famous Zonko’s Joke Shop, the “haunted” Shrieking Shack (which, sadly, I couldn’t find in this game), and collecting sweets from Honeydukes, was enough to keep me intrigued till the release date.
And now it is finally here, almost everything I wanted in a modern Harry Potter game.
From the moment you open the oak doors of the entrance hall, the open world gives you a feeling of being a tiny little witch or wizard in the grand vastness of this world the devs created for us. You will find yourselves getting lost in Hogwarts, Hogsmeade village, or facing the more terrifying dangers lurking in the Dark Forest. Being able to experience the locations that we’ve seen over the years is thrilling, and the game hits it out of the park.
When you reach the point in the game where you are flying on your broom and experiencing the joy of the wind blowing in your face as you ascend towards the sky or descend towards the water, Potterheads may even feel tears streaming down their faces. Sadly there are no Quidditch matches in Hogwarts Legacy. But I hope they add one if we are to get a sequel. That was the only thing missing to complete my life in the best magical school in the world.
I was a Witch, and I wanted to keep learning new things. The game brings back that child-like curiosity, which is different from other recent RPGs. There are secrets hidden everywhere, and it’s up to you to unravel them in due time. You might find some Easter Eggs as well.
“I would never dream of assuming I know all Hogwarts secrets.”
Right from the beginning, it is clear that the environment and the world built have been carefully thought of. The mountains in the distance, the elaborate details of the castle (exterior and interior), every little element in the classrooms, Room of Requirement, Common Rooms, the moving paintings, and even the statues at various locations are all exactly how you’d want them to be. In fact, the game ensures there’s magic even in little things. You will see what I mean when you pull out the Leaping Toadstool mushrooms or when you collect Lacewing Flies.
A “normal” painting might be a doorway to a hidden treasure, the Floo flames lady will talk to you whenever you walk past her, and you might spot the Elves doing something hilarious. From visiting the Astronomy tower, climbing the Grand Staircase, and walking through the Dark Arts classroom, there’s never a dull moment in Hogwarts Legacy. Kudos to the developers for building this world accurately. It is undoubtedly one of the few times in this generation of games where the game lived up to the hype.
“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
The game is described as an immersive, open-world action RPG, and, boy, is it immersive. While watching the movie, every child, teenager, or adult may have wondered – what if I was a student at Hogwarts? You don’t have to wonder anymore because your dreams have come true in the form of Hogwarts Legacy.
Right from the moment you customize your character and try to make it look like yourself, and when you get sorted into a house – you will enter this magical world where you have no worries. While there is a looming threat of the villain – initially, you will find yourself studying, learning new spells, and potions, understanding how things work, encountering unique creatures and ghosts, and making new friends.
Wingardium Leviosa, Expelliarmus, Lumos, and Accio are some of the iconic spells you may remember from the movies – you will learn them early on in the game, and it will feel amazing. And if you are feeling a bit wicked, you can even master the Unforgivable Curses like Avada Kedavra, Crucio, and Imperio.
Overall, you will spend much of your time being a carefree student. As a working young adult with stress as a daily part of life, this felt like a much-needed respite and everything a 10-year-old me could have dreamed of.
While there are main quests that take the story forward, don’t miss out on the side quests where a student will most likely be in the corridor asking for your help. They will lead you to exceptional discoveries.
That’s not all – you will find beasts, you can customize the appearance of your Room of Requirement, get into duels with fellow students, find ingredients, locate every chest, explore every shop, and the best part – you can pet cats everywhere. There’s something for every type of player, even if they are unaware of the world of Harry Potter.
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
As a student, you will meet many professors with unique personalities. Honestly, some of them are better teachers than the ones I had during my school years. Interacting with them will be fun and memorable because you will have multiple choices. Do you reveal the truth, or do you hide it? Are you willing to steal the item for this person? Your choices may make a difference.
Being the main character, everyone will treat you like you are special, which is perfect for Harry Potter fans. He was The Boy Who Lived, but you aren’t too far behind. You play as a gifted student who ends up directly being a fifth-year student at Hogwarts (and better at magic than other students). It’s remarkable, y’all.
You can reply politely or with some sass when you talk to your fellow students. If a Slytherin girl tried to show off to me, I responded similarly, and it was amazing to see your character develop as you played. You won’t be on good terms with everybody, and if you are going for immersion, go for different responses to keep things spicy.
“I mean, it’s sort of exciting, isn’t it, breaking the rules?”
Initially, I was concerned – will the combat be too repetitive? Well, I think the consistent additions of spells and the attack combos kept things engaging for me. The transitions from one spell to another are seamless, and as you keep leveling up, your duels will get more interesting. The boss fights will keep you on your toes.
While you are supposed to stick to the locations of Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade, you will end up entering locations where numerous threats surround you. Players will encounter enemies, including Spiders, Dugbogs, Duellists, Assassins, Rangers, Trolls, Guardians, and more. Due to this, you will have to switch up your strategy and spells often. Plus, you may never get bored of using combos with your wand and feel superb about it. You can use Accio to pull an enemy, keep attacking them as they keep rolling mid-air, and then use Incendio to set them on fire. The animations for the protagonist added by the team make it look even more fantastic.
There’s also a Talent tree that takes combat up a notch. You can add Talent Points to improve your Spells, Dark Arts, Core, Stealth, and Room of Requirement skills. Through this, you can decide if you wish to hit multiple targets, deal AoE damage, inflict curses, restore HP, be less detectable, break shields, and more. It ensures replayability, which you would want in a game like this.
Want to build a Dark wizard? or Want to play as a character looking like Harry Potter himself? You can because there are four character slots that you can use to live different lives at the same time.
There are puzzles and treasures strewn throughout the world, and you have to switch between spells as and when required. Sometimes you may have to pull a page towards you, and sometimes you may have to use fire to light a brazier – all of this adds to the feeling of genuinely being a Hogwarts student.
The puzzles aren’t too challenging, except, maybe, the Trials, which are true to their name. There might be moments when the clue is tricky, and you might want to look things up on Google or Youtube. But they are fun and well-designed.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
There are loads of moments when you will end up saying, “Mischief Managed!” because Hogwarts Legacy allowed me to do weird, fun things in the game. I smashed the cups that an Elf was cleaning, watched Suit of Armors do shocking things, burned books in a classroom (but the teacher didn’t even react), and saw a painting play the Banjo. It was awesome.
There is so much to explore that you might just forget your next objective.
Verdict: Is Hogwarts Legacy Enchanting?
Yes, Hogwarts Legacy is 100% worth playing and even more worth your time if you are a Potter fan. The Wizarding World in this game is almost exactly how you may have envisioned it. The iconic Harry Potter music does appear, albeit at specific moments. But the feel and ambiance of the school, classes, and Hogsmeade are close to perfect. You will always be engaged, never knowing what to expect next. This fantasy game’s mystery, magic, and secrets will keep you hooked.
If and when you get the game, explore every corner and complete the side quests, challenges, puzzles, and of course, the main quests. Hogwarts Legacy is one game you should not rush because there’s beauty in ordinary things.