Review: Hogwarts Legacy


Photo courtesy of Epic Games.

Zayin Barnes, Managing Editor

  Everyone who has indulged in the Wizarding World has wondered what it would be like to wield magical power. Fantasizing of magical abilities seems quite common, especially for Harry Potter fanatics. Luckily, Avalanche Software and Portkey Games invented the perfect supplement for honorary wizards and witches; virtually, at least.

  Hogwarts Legacy released onto PS5, Xbox S/X, and Windows on Feb. 10, with expected releases for PS4 and Xbox One on April 4, and Nintendo Switch on Mar. 25. The game retails for $69.99 for the standard version, and $79.99 for the deluxe version. 

  With development starting in 2018, this game makes Avalanche’s first release since being acquired by Warner Bros in 2017. However, the game wasn’t officially announced until 2020, and release dates were changed three different times. 

  Since the announcement, fans anxiously waited to get their hands on the game, and the frustration that came with the continued delays were justifiable. Thankfully, the final product exceeded expectations. Ultimately I am happy the creators waited to release a game that checked all the boxes rather than cutting corners to meet deadlines.

  I wouldn’t consider myself a superfan of the magical franchise by any means. Still, I was counting down the days until they released this potential masterpiece.

  The phrase “rollercoaster of emotion” lacks the emphasis that describes the reaction to this new project. The internet went into a frenzy in the following days of this release. It has been described as a disappointment, magical and everything in between. WIRED was especially verbal in how pungent they found this game, claiming “it helped me say goodbye to the setting for good,” rating it a 1/10. This is a complete disgrace of a reaction.

  Hogwarts Legacy, from start to finish, remains one of the most entertaining, immersive games that I have had the honor of playing. It absolutely expressed a desire to respect fans’ wishes and expectations. The storyline, side quests, learnable spells, graphics; everything was spectacular and truly gave gamers the ability to live out their magical dreams.

  The story follows a unique witch or wizard created by the player as they begin their Hogwarts journey as a fifth year student. Along the roadmap of the story, the developers make it possible to meet a variety of not just wizards and witches, but goblins, centaurs and more. Students are also able to learn many recognizable spells, such as “wingardium levioso,” “stupefy,” and even the three unforgivable curses. 

  The game provides unmatchable execution in terms of graphics, dialogue and plot. I was not only able to cast the spells I know, but feel the power behind them as well. The combination of light, enunciation and color brought the visual and audible aspect of the game into reality.

  Not only the graphics, but the storyline exceeded my expectations as well. I was honestly not sure what to expect in terms of story when I bought the game. There was a lot of speculation around the overall tone. I heard from friends about how there was no real plot, or that there was over 100 hours of gameplay. I chose to disregard all assumptions when I turned on the console, and I’m glad I did.

  The villains, powers, allies and teachers were all new, fresh and exciting to experience. I understand why there would be those who wanted the game to follow around the same timeline of Harry Potter and his story, but taking place significantly before him gave the game its own vibe and image. I would hate to have to relive the same plot portrayed in the books and movies, as much as I enjoyed them.  

  An underappreciated attribute of this game is the ability to dabble in the dark arts. Throughout the game, users are able to decide their magical path within the dialogue. Players are given options in responses to other characters; one heroic and lighthearted response, one more selfish response and also a sinister and evil response. 

  Beyond the normal dialogue, the developers took these decisions to more extreme heights when it came to the impactful choices, giving one the power to shape their character’s destiny. It felt almost as if it were a decision-based game. 

  There are so many different aspects, traits and perks to this unique and entertaining game. It would take hours upon hours of time to complete and explore the entirety of this project. However, players should expect an amazing experience, just as I did.

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