This Article may contain what some would view as Spoilers. There is some Gameplay Footage, and plenty of screenshots. Moving forward means continuing at your own risk!
It Finally Arrived!
Arguably the most anticipated Harry Potter game to date has arrived! With the 72-hour early access ending and the official game dropping. There is so much to cover in Hogwarts Legacy. Portkey Games, Avalanch, and even Warner Brothers played this game very close to the chest. Very little information has come out about it, over the course of the years since it was first revealed in 2020.
So What is Hogwarts Legacy? It is a single-player, action RPG, puzzle game. It has a unique leveling system and while it was very much anticipated, it also comes with its downfalls. Some of these downfalls are not game-breaking but are very disappointing. But the downsides will be discussed within the topic it belongs under.
Avalanche has created an incredible game, but they seemed to slack on the character creation. They gave plenty of options to choose from with basic character designs, with customizing an option. Of the customizations there were:
Despite the number of hairstyle options, Avalanche failed to create more straight long hair options, focusing instead on Short hairstyles and updos. Of the 50, 22 were short hair styles, 19 updos, 7 medium lengths, and 1 long. Many of the updos were a variation of the bun, in different placements. On top, the color picks were not the best. You could have unusually colored hair, but only pastel colors. You couldn’t have Dark Purple, Forest Green, or bright Red. You could have pastel greens, turquoise, or lavender. The only dark-colored hair you could pick was Black, and some Browns, most of which were lighter in nature.
The next part of the Character Creation is the voice. The voice options are absolutely horrible. The base voice for both males and females is okay. For the 4 other options per gender, it is too obvious that it was an editing of the same voice, a different pitch. It is unclear if this was the work of laziness, or if avalanche ran out of time, and did the simplest solution so as to not push the game back further for something that would seem useless. Considering whatever voice you pick you are stuck with throughout the game, I feel more time could have been spent on this.
Hogwarts Houses have been the talk since the series was popular, whether it’s who would be in what house, or what house we ourselves belong in. While the game provides only a few short questions, if you go to the Harry potter fan club, there is a more extensive quiz to find out what house you belong in. (This can also be connected to your Hogwarts Legacy account, which can become your house and wand choice if you want.) Despite the quick questions, whatever house the hat picks, you don’t have to stick with it. If it picks Hufflepuff and you really hate that house, fear not. You are free to pick that Slytherin house if you so choose.
Another option for character customization, which comes later in the storyline, is your wand. Your wand is MOSTLY customizable. While one couldn’t have a neon hot pink wand, the wand options were actually tolerable, compared to character creation. It should be noted that your wand selection has absolutely NO impact on the game.
When creating your character, you’re allowed up to 4 characters (one for each house if you want) with 5 Autosaves. Then you are allowed up to ten Manual saves. This is per Character, allowing a total of 60 saves; 15 per Character.
It’s always amazing to see games with varying forms of graphics and how they can change the way the game looks. For Hogwarts Legacy, Avalanche managed to make the overall graphic settings not really matter. My computer stats, according to the website, should only be able to handle low settings, nothing higher. With the low settings and no ray tracing, The detail was phenomenal. I had to double-check my settings to verify the game was on low settings. When switching to Ultra, there were no immediate visual changes. The changes, rather, were in a slight reflection that some floors had. The grass and foliage were also better with the higher settings, but only in terms of how much was seen. Adding Ray tracing made going inside and out less blinding for that one second of adjustment. Also, on low settings, only about 15-20% of my GPU was used. On Ultra, I was maxing at about 90%. On a Computer that was capable, naturally, to run on Ultra settings, Ray tracing was added and the GPU was running a steady 100%.
Since the difference between low, Ultra, and Ray tracing was so minimal, there didn’t seem many points to having the higher settings.
This game was definitely geared towards controller players, and not Keyboard and mouse. There are a lot of controls to keep track of, and as a keyboard and mouse player, there was some struggle. As the game progressed and there was more and more to keep track of, I learned that perhaps there could have been a few changes.
Armor and cosmetics usually go hand in hand. In this case, everything you acquire can be worn cosmetically. This is great when you really like a look, but have to upgrade your armor. Upgrade, and then just change the appearance. The downside to the equipment slots is there is no easy way to look at all of your equipment.
For example, when your inventory gets full, like in all games you have the option to leave where you are and sell what you don’t want/need or just drop items(destroy, for this game) to make inventory space. This in and of itself isn’t too bad, considering you can increase your inventory space through Merlin Trials. These trials are a form of puzzles that vary. It requires using spells, or time to complete. The problem lies in how you access the inventory space.
Inventory access is ONLY through each item slot. Although you can see all the rarities of each type of clothing you can see, you can only access the items within their appropriate slot. Even when you enter Inventory in the menu, there is no gear, equipment, or armor tab to deal with everything picked up. This can be a little tedious since I would have to open a random slot, and see what I have in each category in order to get rid of items.
Buying and selling items are a cinch, and most purchasable items have their own spot. Either in an equippable slot like in the wheel, special location in the inventory tab or is just a collections item. Another feature in the game is the Floo Powder Network.
The image above is what the Floo Powder Network looks like in the Game. Once you have discovered the location of these points of interest, you have a permanent fast-travel location, accessible through the map at any time or location. If you can open your map, you can fast travel. Also, you can pass the time by opening your map and clicking wait.
The map is also different from the minimap. The minimap shows the actual location and area around you. the map is more of a 3D rendering of the entire location, with quick fast travel points. May also contain the occasional dragon sighting on the World Map as well.
The next mechanic they have pertains to the spells and spell slots. At first, I loved the way it was set up. There was a total of 23 spells that can be changed around. You can only have a maximum of 16 spells equipped at any given time. 4 sets of 4 spells. This seemed like a reasonable list of spell slot-to-spell ratio.
Of the 23 spells, 4 are utility spells, like disillusionment, or Lumos. 4 spells are control, another 4 are force and 5 are damage. 3 Are the unforgivable curses while 3 can only ever be used within the Room of Requirement. Having the Room of requirement spells only available there, but taking up a spell slot, makes the ratio in favor of the player. After you have taken your beast class, you acquire three more “spell slots”. One is a magical bag to capture beasts, one grooms the beasts, and the other feeds beasts. This seemed slightly nuanced as the bag could have just been part of the wheel. The grooming and feeding seemed like unnecessary spells, but one could argue the same with the Room of Requirement spells.
Disappointingly, there are no repercussions for staying out late in Hogwarts. While this is a personal view, I can’t hold it against the developers. It would have been nice to have the added layer of, “No student is to be out after curfew.” in the game. Although with the fast travel, time passing, etc. It is understandable to not have that added layer on top. It does play a role during certain quests.
There are several puzzles within the game that cover different parts of the game. Merlin trials which once solved add inventory space. The Deadalian keys lead to a box where you have to time your slap on the key.
The majority of puzzles are in the main storyline. Sometimes its as simple as “How to line these up” to the side quests of figuring out the Arithmancy using pictures.
Other times you are simply following a creature/object and try to not be seen or found.
The Wizarding World
Hogsmeade and Forbidden Forest
While there is no Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade has been recreated as a wonderful substitution. Not only as a means of escape from the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but it provides everything that Diagon Alley would. The difference? Hogsmeade is available at all times where as you are nowhere near Britain to even reach Diagon Alley. All beast care, herbology plants/seeds, and any ingredient ever possibly needed can be purchased from either Hogsmeade vendors or the rare vendor in the other hamlets.
The one disappointment of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, which has to do with lore, was no Shrieking Shack, and no Whomping Willow. The game takes place in the 1890s, that is 80 years before Albus Dumbledore would actually commission the placement of those two objects. While disappointed, it made a lot of sense.
What doesn’t make sense, is the use of Spiders in Hogwarts Legacy. It seemed implied that spiders did not exist in the Forbidden forest until Hagrid’s pet acromantula fleed into the forest, and later bred with Mosag, whom Hagrid brought as a mate for Aragog. This takes place fifty years later than the game. The only solution behind this is that perhaps acromantula’s are territorial, and when the Acromantula’s began to breed, they wiped out the thornbacks.
Lastly, the game developers discussed companions in the game. Fans of the series will recall Ron and Hermione, being Harry’s companions. Is this something we will see in the game? The short answer; Yes. Specifically, you will acquire 4 companions, but these companions have nothing to do with the three people you talk to at the beginning of your house journey. (This will be talked about more under each house). The following are the people who can be your companion and their respective house.
Castle and Story Plot
Hogwarts was great to explore, even the moving staircase. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this. The rendition of the moving staircase in the books, and the movie adaptation made me wonder how they planned to adjust this for the game. Frankly, I think they did an amazing job with this. The staircases do move but to the player’s footsteps. While I would have preferred the movie adaptation of the moving staircase tower, This was 100% appropriate for players without the waiting frustration.
Hogwarts’ first day for each class has been exactly as expected. You attend class, learn a spell and use said spell throughout your gameplay. What became disappointing was every class after that, has been a quick cinematic, instead of actually participating. This is a very minor inconvenience and may be more due to Hogwarts: Mystery, the phone app that does have actual classes that you can attend, with all 7 years.
The following will go over the classes you can attend and what to expect in each class.
The Common Room for Ravenclaw is the only house with bunk beds. In Order to enter the house, you find the Raven statue in the tower and speak a password. There are windows, and the Common room has been themed around Stars or Astronomy. There are three floors to Ravenclaw Common Room, not all of which were reviewed in the video. When you start in Ravenclaw the three classmates you talk to are:
Hufflepuff is Arguably the most beautiful of the common rooms. Not Far from the kitchen, you tap the second-row barrel in the center to the name Helga Hufflepuff. Because it is underground there are only high windows in the rooms. However, the whole place was themed around plants or herbology. The entryway is almost reminiscent of Hobbits. The beds are lined around the walls. The Three classmates you speak with when starting in Hufflepuff are:
Slytherin Common Room is themed around Mermaids, since they are right beside the black Lake, they have windows looking into the lake. The bedrooms have no windows. To get into the Common room you speak a password and a snake reveals the door. Beds are up against the walls, much like Hufflepuff. When you join Slytherin the three classmates are:
Gryffindor is arguably the worst common room out of the houses. To enter you say a password to the Fat Lady in the tower. The Common room is themed around the jungle/lions. The beds are lined up against the wall with windows and your first three classmates are:
Overall Hogwarts Legacy has been a success in my eyes. While there were some disappointments, they are very personal opinionated downfalls. The game could use improvements on the graphics overall to make it worth the change in settings. I definitely recommend the game, and I even enjoyed the page when you die, or fail a mission. Below are some final Gameplay images and a video on the Room of Requirement, but overall I give the game 4.5/5
There are plenty of Mods available now, such as Silencio on the Floo Powder Network lady. A multiplayer mod is in the work(the same group that did Skyrim multiplayer). So keep an eye on that! Also if you’re like me, you may want a way to keep track of everything to possibly 100 the game, and here is a link to assist with just that, in the form of an interactive map.
Mom of three, enjoy videogames, board games and phone games. I typically am playing Simulation games or FPS games.