Hogwarts Legacy Review: A Sorting Hat of Emotions

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There’s not a lot of things I’ve consistently looked forward to since 1997, the year the first Harry Potter book came out, but Hogwarts Legacy was one of them. After reading all the novels, watching all the films, and trying out (but never sticking with) all the games, I’ve finally found an action-RPG that makes me feel a part of Hogwarts magic. 

Ok, not all of the video games were utter rubbish, like the LEGO Harry Potter:The Collection, but nothing came close to Hogwarts Legacy. Despite the fact that this game is not even set in the same timeline as Harry’s, Ron’s and Hermione’s adventures, the castle, the spells, and most importantly, the vibe is still there. 

As you’ve probably noticed by the intro, this will be a mostly positive review of the new title developed by Avalanche Software in collaboration with Warner Bros. Games, but before we even start, let’s get one thing out of the way.

Check our Hogwart Legacy Review on Youtube

J.K. Rowling’s behavior is not a part of this review

As much as I would love to dive into a rant about J.K. Rowling’s tweets, I will restrain myself. 

This review will be based solely on the video game, as objective as possible, given the circumstances. It will be on you, dear reader, to decide for yourself if you want to spend time, money and energy on Hogwarts Legacy. 

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To unlock the full review, you must Alohomora your way to the next paragraph.

Just kidding, scroll ahead and get into the magic mood as we dissect the storyline, characters, graphics and all the good stuff this game has to offer (or not). 

Hogwarts Legacy release dates

Hogwarts Legacy

Release Dates

February 10, 2023 for PlayStation®5, Xbox Series X|S and PC

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April 4, 2023 for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One

November 14, 2023 for Nintendo Switch

Buy Now Hogwarts Legacy on Amazon

This review is based on the experience of playing the game on the PlayStation®5 platform, as a member of Ravenclaw and later Slytherin.

The Plot, The Witch and The Many Robes

hogwarts legacy review

This one will hurt all the Potter fans the most. The plot of the game has more holes than the stocking that’s been hung on my mantle since 1997. In order to not reveal any spoilers, let’s stick to the basic storyline. 

The timeline is set in the 1800s, a hundred years before the Harry Potter franchise. Don’t worry, you will still have a chance to roam Hogsmeade or explore the Forbidden Forest.

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However, you will not have the opportunity to chat with your favorite professors or ride the Nimbus 2000, but there are plenty of other brooms and creatures to help you on your path. 

After carefully creating your character, you start the game as a fifth year transfer to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. How and why are you starting so late? That is not a subject we get a lot of information on.

Your initial mission is to catch up on your potion making skills as well as casting spells and handling and caring for a variety of beasts in order to successfully pass your O.W.L’s. You quickly discover that you possess a rare ability to see and connect to “ancient forms” of magic. A faithful companion and mentor, Professor Fig, will help you as you unravel evil intentions of power hungry villains as well as a dark history of certain Hogwarts students. So far so good (and familiar). 

You will have the option to interact with other students, goblins, elves, villagers and vendors, either through their requests for help with their troubles or as a part of a quest to learn a certain skill or earn rewards. Here it’s where it gets iffy. 

To keep things concise, let’s divide the positives and the negatives.

All The Finer Wares Of Hogwarts Legacy

The Variety of Choices

There are so many options when it comes to the appearance of your character, from the way you dress to the way you present yourself, your skin color, facial features and so on. You can literally spend hours changing clothes and accessories, or enhancing the one you chose. It won’t be easy deciding on a wand or a broom either. 

You can also pick the house you belong to, thanks to the Sorting Hat Ceremony. This feature allows you to not only decide where you’ll sleep and how you enter your Common Room, but also one main quest will be different depending on if you choose to be a Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw. Although the Sorting Hat recommends a house for you, you can decline it and pick something else. If you’re not a HP noob and you have an account on Harry Potter Fan Club (ex Pottermore), the game offers the possibility of connecting your account and adding extra features or taking the Sorting Hat Quiz. 

Unleash your sense of adventure and explore all the exciting opportunities that come your way, after you’ve discovered the hidden secrets of the Room of Requirement. You will be able to conjure stalls, place pavement and even build houses inside many of the Room’s Vivariums.

This option provides a great site to relax and unwind from the quests in the game. Moreover, you are able to breed beasts and brew potions, saving yourself time and money by otherwise being forced to find or purchase them in Hogsmeade or along the Highlands. 

Hogwarts Castle

This is probably my favorite place in any book turned video game so far. For all the kids who grew up wishing for their Hogwarts acceptance letter, this is the closest they will get to experiencing hidden passageways, floating books and ghosts, numerous stairways that appear and disappear at will… It’s simply magical. Avalanche’s developers really outdid themselves with this grandiose building. After playing the game for 50+ hours, I still manage to get lost in the abundance of rooms and corridors while trying to get from the Astronomy wing to the Great Hall without using Floo Flames. 

The Spells and all the ways to use them

From the moment you begin your journey through Hogwarts Legacy, every moment is a learning opportunity. With so many spells to choose from, it’s difficult to pick a favorite. You’ll have the chance to learn spells such as Lumos, Wingardium Leviosa (not Levio-saaa!), Revelio, and many others that will help you in combat and puzzle-solving.

Yes, even the Unforgivable Curse, Avada Kedavra, is available to learn, although it’s optional. You can decline to learn certain spells and remain a “goody two shoes.” Personally, I’ve jumped at the opportunity to practice my Crucio on some undead creatures.

Discovering the right spell to move an obstacle or resolve a mystery is the highlight of using magic in the game. Whether you choose to take down a colossal spider with Confringo or Bombarda adds an element of strategy to battles.

However, the major drawback of spells is that they can’t be accessed instantly, requiring you to switch between your gear slots manually, which can become tiresome during intense gameplay.

You can learn any spell by taking classes where that spell is taught or completing quests where you’ll be rewarded with new spells for your efforts.

Quests

The big story campaign can be completed in approximately 25 hours, but the studio estimates a total game time of 50 hours, depending on how eager you are to rush from one assignment to another. 

While some quests, such as helping Sebastian Sallow save his sister Anne’s quality of life, are elaborate, others like “Venomous Revenge” where you’re part of a plant heist, are just for fun. 

The game’s progression is seamless, so you don’t feel compelled to grind for XP with meaningless tasks just to reach the next level. While there are plenty of assignments available, they are not essential to complete in order to reach the end of the game, which sets it apart from many action-RPGs. 

The Open World 

harry potter hogwarts legacy

In addition to the main mission and side quests, there are numerous other activities to engage in within the game. You can spend days just walking around the Scottish Highlands while days turn into nights, and fall into winter before your eyes.

Try your luck with the Merlin trials, or collect Moonstones and Leaping Toadstool Caps. Swim across ponds, dive into murky waters or fly over hills. This was my favorite pastime once I got agitated with some characters or battles. 

We’re not going to pretend it’s at the same level as open world giants like Elden Ring or The Legend of Zelda, but it does offer enough room to explore while keeping in line with the spirit of the books/movies where most of the plot is placed in Hogwarts and surrounding areas. 

Lack of Quidditch

Yes, you’ve read that right, there are people out there who enjoy the fact that Quidditch was not a part of Hogwarts Legacy. 

The game is packed with so many side quests (over eighty!) that participating in matches would be over the top. If you’re itching to play it, lower your standards and look for EA’s “Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup” released 20 years ago. 

For those who enjoy a good flight, there are a few side quests like the “Flight Test” quest, where you gain your flying skills so you can compete against other classmates later on. Beside the quests, you are able to freely explore the area around Hogwarts and other lands, and the broom is not your only option to fly. You can also mount a Hippogriff called Highwing, who is a great companion both on the ground and in the air. 

The Map and Menu

Hogwart legacy map

The main menu of the game is something many developers should pay attention to. It’s easy to check your inventory, change gear, follow quests, and enhance your spells . I’ve read that some people think it’s overwhelming, but I cannot think of a better way to sort all of the items the title has to offer. The map is easy to navigate, something that you’ll find particularly useful while roaming the castle. 

Join the Complaining Club: Flaws and Follies of Hogwarts Legacy

The Variety of Choices

No, this is not a mistake, the amount of choices is both a positive and a negative side of the game. For instance, all the freaking clothing options. At one point, I was unsure if I was selecting my character’s robes, or if I accidentally applied for a job at Hogwarts’ wardrobe department. Was it really necessary to have 789989 gloves at your disposal? Furthermore, why are outfits the only profitable collectible? This just looked like a lazy solution to provide your main hero a way to earn coins. 

On the other hand, there are not enough different enemies, beasts and potions. 

If there was a balance between the two, they would have hit the sweet spot. 

The Battles

At the early stages of the game, battling was exciting, challenging, fun even. You soon discover that the opponents don’t differ much, and all battles look pretty similar with an occasional fortified troll thrown in for good measure. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

Also, Hogwarts Legacy does not offer a multiplayer or co-op mode, which is a shame because going into combat with a friend or an online ally would give an extra layer of excitement. 

Flat Characters

In keeping with the game’s superficial character development, I will not be diving into the personalities and motivations of the cast, as they are unfortunately left quite unexplored by the game itself. 

Who you are as the hero, what is your background or the background of Professor Fig, Natsai, Sebastian, and the others you meet is seldomly elaborated.

Although the characters are not named as slapdashly as Cho Chang or Padma Patil in the Harry Potter series, they are not far off (speaking about names, did you know that the voice of Headmaster Black in the game is none other than Simon Pegg?).

Graphics and Glitches

Despite the artistically well-done landscape, the technical part is not on par. The more you play, the more you feel like the game was developed several years ago, which, to be fair, is not too far from the truth. Hogwarts Legacy was five years in the making, and the release date was supposed to be in 2020, so we can let that slide (which is hard, as certain titles released as far as two years ago, like the Horizon Forbidden West, or newer ones like God of War Ragnarok, completely overshadow Hogwarts in the graphics department). 

What I cannot let slide is the extended loading times in certain parts of the game, like opening doors, along with the many glitches that require reloading and restarting quests. Come on, it’s 2023, and the platform is PS5. Not cool. Not cool. 

8,5

Hogwarts Legacy

As a Harry Potter fan, it’s extremely hard not to love the game. Was the game everything I hoped it would be? Probably not. It’s palpable how much the developers played on the nostalgia of the fandom. That being said, the game offers just enough to feel like you’re a part of the Wizarding World, while giving the opportunity for enjoyment to those who are not familiar with the books and movies.
Hogwarts castle, the possibility to cast spells and brew potions, to fly and wander around the Highlands overshadow the minor technical issues and a shallow plot. Warner Bros. is already hinting at a sequel, and I’m sure that the next game will be an even bigger success.
From one fan to another: I solemnly swear that Hogwarts Legacy is an enchanting adventure that will transport you to the Wizarding World and leave you spellbound.

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Sara C
Sara C
Sara's love for the wizarding world is so intense that she's probably mastered the art of Accio-ing pizza right into her mouth. When she's not busy casting spells, you can find her jumping through obstacles and collecting wumpa fruits in the colorful world of Crash Bandicoot. But don't be fooled by her love for magic and video games, she's also a wordsmith extraordinaire, and her love for Ratchet and Clank is almost as strong as her love for butterbeer. So whether she's slaying dragons or crafting the perfect sentence, Sara is a true geek at heart, with a passion for all things imaginative and hilarious.

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