After purchasing the Deluxe Edition, I was able to begin playing Hogwarts Legacy roughly 72-hours before the standard edition released on February 10, 2023. Fast forward about 15+ hours of playtime, and I think it’s time to share with you some of my thoughts. For starters, the game is great and anyone with an interest in the Harry Potter series would more than likely agree. I don’t think you even need to be a fan of the books and movies to get lost in this game. Overall, the open world is beautiful, the game mechanics don’t piss you off too much, the story is solid, and the customization and exploration is detailed enough to keep you coming back for more.
In all honesty, It’s been quite some time since I cared about a video game. I own both the Series X and PS5, but haven’t enjoyed too many titles since their releases a couple years ago. Both consoles sit there and rot for most of the time, but Hogwarts Legacy is a title I’ve had my eyes on for a while now and so far is hasn’t disappointed.
Becoming a Wizard (or Witch) in Hogwarts Legacy
You begin as a fifth-year student, flying into the Wizardly World of Hogwarts Legacy alongside your mentor, Professor Fig. You get an idea of what’s to come, but out of nowhere you are attacked by a dragon that’s being controlled by a form of dark magic. It attacks your flying cart, having you both fall to the bottom below, but the use of magic breaks your fall and you’re left confused.
Your wizardly character, alongside your mentor, begin discussing what happened as you work your way into the world. As you look around, you may begin to feel some type of vertigo due to the camera’s acceleration amidst the high quality graphics. I immediately went into my settings and turned my camera acceleration to 0 and increased the camera sensitively slightly. This helped make the graphics flow in a way that wasn’t distorted moving forward.
You’ll eventually run into the main villain, who goes by the name of Ranrok. He’s a goblin that uses the dark magic mentioned above to manipulate whomever he needs to so that he has the army to take over the wizardly world.
Upon meeting him for the first time, you get a pretty good idea of who he is and what he’s capable of, as he kills a Goblin Banker for not “choosing their words wisely.” He goes on to say he doesn’t have patience for traitors before using the dark magic to turn another larger enemy against you. You quickly locate a way out of the area and you find yourself on your way to Hogwarts.
Getting Sorted Into Your House
Going through the doors for the first time and into the outside sections of Hogwarts is a very scenic experience, but what most people are excited for is getting sorted into their house. You’ll almost immediately get sorted into your house of choice, which I very much appreciated.
I personally went with Hufflepuff. The reason for it is that they’re the only house to have access to Azkaban later in the game. You’ll need to fine tune your character accordingly, but it’s something that I personally wanted to explore so that was the reasoning for my house choice.
Fun fact, though. You’ll still be able to go to Azkaban in the main story for a brief time, alongside one of the Hogwarts professors. I’m only referencing going back at a later time to snoop around and see things you may not of had the chance to while completing one of the main story missions.
I did go online and get sorted into my house before playing the game, but I was able to change the house once the housing ceremony started, so don’t think you’re glued to the house that was selected for you on the app or website prior to playing the game. I personally only completed that to gain access to some extra content.
Building Relationships in Hogwarts Legacy
Something you’ll almost immediately begin doing is building relationships. Throughout the game, you’ll have chances to not only pick certain characters to move alongside in the story with you, but you can also complete missions with them as well. Once these missions are completed, you’ll begin having conversations with these students and depending on how you respond, could impact you positively or negatively in the game moving forward.
One of the first chances you have to select a student to follow you along in the story comes when you speak with Professor Weasley in the beginning of the game.
Aside from selecting students to come on journeys with you, you’ll also be able to build relationships in a variety of other ways. In one quest, you’ll go off throughout Hogwarts looking for different items and belongings that students have left behind, forgot about, or maybe even had stolen from them.
Once you’ve located the items or completed the task(s), you’ll return to the student. You’ll then have the opportunity to give the rewards back to the student, or keep them for yourself. Keeping items for yourself will result in you creating poor relationships in the future, but could be the reason you obtain an item you otherwise would have never been able to. I found myself doing this to the students who had dialog that made them come off like an entitled brat or just someone I wouldn’t hang out with in the real world.. let alone the wizardly one.
Creating Potions & Building More Relationships
Another example of building relationships comes when you’re in the potion lab, completing course work. You’ll learn not only about the different tables that help you craft potions, but the items you’ll need to gather to create a particular brew. During one of your classes, you run into the nephew of Professor Weasley. He considers himself a master of potions and goes on to say he needs something from the professor’s office to complete his mixture. You are given permission to enter the professor’s office, but before going in you’ll need to make the decision to retrieve an item for the student or not. If you choose to, there will be consequences once you learn that Weasley made an error with his brew during class.
After getting in trouble together, you talk with the student and are given two options – accept what happened and move along, or establish boundaries and move on. I personally let him know I wasn’t a fan of breaking the rules and you’re to believe the decision to say that will result in you two not doing anything like that again.
Learning Spells & Adventuring Outside of Hogwarts
After some time getting to understand the basics around the Hogwarts castle, you’ll soon be tasked with traveling to Hogsmeade. This is the town closest to the Hogwarts castle, but is still a good ways away. You’ll travel on foot, as you will for most of the first few hours of the game. This annoyed me, because I had seen so much about broom flying leading up to the game’s release. Many people had even said the broom flying is what made the game enjoyable and at times you could even get lost just flying around, looking at everything.
Once you get to Hogsmeade you’ll be tasked with collecting some items before meeting your friend at the front entrance. After collecting the items and meeting up with whoever you chose, you’ll get into a fight with Ranrock again after noticing him conspiring with others in an alleyway. He attempts to destroy the town on his way out, but some new spells learned help get everything in order before you make your way back to the Hogwarts castle to continue on with your journey.
How is the Hogwarts Legacy Story?
Once you leave Hogsmeade, you are left with a good idea of what’s going on and why. You’ve been carrying a book around since the beginning of the game and are unsure the reasoning for its importance. One thing is for certain, though, and that is that Ranrok is using a form of dark magic to create an army. The book can assist in stopping Ranrok, so you’ll be tasked with quests to help you better understand the book and how it can be used for good.
Side & Main Story Quests
You’ll go on different quests throughout your time in Hogwarts Legacy. These quests are separated by importance and can be easily accessed in the start menu. The quests will have you meeting new people and attending classes where you’ll learn spells. You’ll also discover the secrets of Hogwarts, and its surrounding area, while also working towards garnishing a better understanding of how to take down Ranrock.
Potion and herbology classes are courses you’ll need to complete in order to learn new spells and progress further in the main story. You learn some basics to start, but eventually learn most of the ones needed to progress throughout the majority of the game. You may even learn a new spell from a side quest with one of your friends, after venturing off somewhere you shouldn’t, so don’t think only the main quests can add spells to your arsenal.
I did have an issue with the way in which the courses are completed. I was made to believe these were extensive classes where you’d be engaged and having to do something specific to whatever you’re learning. In a potions class, you end up twirling your analog stick for a brief time and maybe pressing a button or two when prompted before the potion begins to brew. I was hoping for more substance behind this part of the game, but it ended up being very basic and unenjoyable.
The herbology class is no different than potions in that it has you pressing the same few buttons and then you’re done. You do have some interesting dialog and gain a bit of an understanding of how to create the work station, which comes in handy later in the game. You may need to wait upwards of 10 minutes for a particular mixture to complete. Again, it’s very simplistic and in my opinion – a bit lazy.
I really enjoyed the fighting mechanics, as they mimic the Batman games of the past. If you have the awareness and ability to button mash certain sequences in a short period of time, then you’ll have a good time with these mechanics. The camera angle is a bit too close for comfort and could be the reason you miss an enemy off to the side, resulting in you taking some damage when you don’t expect to, so be aware of that before taking on multiple enemies.
You’re very limited in abilities at first and it does take some time to acquire spells. I was surprised to see how long it took to progress through the beginning portion of the game. You need to go through a great deal of dialog and bullshit before you can really have some fun.
One of the first big engagements you’ll run into is when you deal with the spiders in Jackdaw’s Tomb. It’s a long, puzzle filled quest where you’ll constantly be looking over your shoulder for that next enemy. Scary enough, that enemy is a spider and they’re all different sizes leading up to the big boss fight against, you guessed it.. an even larger pair of spiders. I left this quest happy with how the mechanics played out and it prepared me for the more difficult fights to come.
Journey to Complete the 4 Trials
At the end of Jackdaw’s Tomb you’ll take on a variety of knights before moving on and into a room that becomes full of water, but thankfully a new type of magic helps keep you alive.
You’ll eventually gain access to the Map Chamber where you’ll talk with the portrait of Professor Rackham. He’ll tell you about the book and how you needed to of placed it in the Map Chamber, but you forgot it. You tell him you’ll return shortly with the book and eventually bring your mentor, Professor Fig, along with you.
After returning to the Map Chamber, you place the book down and watch as the floor begins to turn into a map. It’s a very magical moment where you find out that this is just the beginning of your journey.
Throughout this entire quest you learn much about the game and how to properly progress throughout it. You also discover that everything you’ve done has prepared you for what lies ahead: The 4 Trials.
After you have completed this dialog, you’ll unlock Talents. This is where you will use skill points you’ve obtained to unlock abilities to make you that much more of a wizard or witch.
Completing Flying Class & Purchasing Your First Broom
The moment most of us have been waiting for: flying a broom. I was surprised to see that it takes a great deal of time before you gain the ability to use a broom. This is the ultimate way to travel around the wizardly world, so quickly completing the first few hours of the game is important if you want to fly around, enjoying Hogwarts and it’s surrounding area from a variety of angles and heights.
Following the completion of the Jackdaw Tomb quest, you’ll begin discussing broom class and the need to complete the course in order to progress further in the game. You’re then tasked with going outside and completing the broom course, where you’ll travel through different rings and eventually complete a time trial to see where you stack up against other students. You end up talking with another student about a side route that is against the school rules, which only ends with the two of you in trouble with the professor.
After completing broom class, you’ll learn that in order to gain the freedom of flying you’ll need to purchase a broom of your own. You soon find out that location and should fast travel there as quickly as you can. Once you purchase the broom of your choice, find a place outside and away from town and hold in the LB (or L1) button to open your wheel. While holding said button, tap the B (or O) button to toggle on your broom. The game has now become a million times better.
Final Thoughts & Review
Once you’ve mastered the art of flying the broom, you’ll begin working towards completing the 4 Trials, taking on Ranrock, and mastering the art of being a wizard (or witch). I’ve enjoyed my time with Hogwarts Legacy, even with the occasional issue here and there. The graphics and mechanics are great and exploring Hogwarts and its surrounding world keeps you coming back for more. It’s been a while since I truly enjoyed sitting down for hours at a time, but this game was able to do that for me.
The voice dialog can be annoying, quests can become repetitive, and the occasional glitch will have you scratching your head, but the game still finds a way to be great. I’m still learning news things, there’s much of the world I still haven’t explored, and I’m hopeful for future content. This review was meant to prepare you for the main parts of the game, while also not spoiling anything for you along the way.
After a great deal of time with Hogwarts Legacy, I’d give it an 8/10.
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