Title: Hogwarts Legacy
Developer: Avalanche Software
Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
Platforms: PlayStation 5 (reviewed), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Release Date: February 10, 2023
If you’re a millennial, then there’s a better chance than not that Harry Potter had some major influence on your childhood. For me personally, I was the same age as Harry Potter when the first book was released. With each new book, I aged along with Harry as I imagined receiving my own letter from Hogwarts. Regardless of how I or others feel about events surrounding the author of the series, Harry Potter’s adventures with Ron and Hermione meant a lot to a lot of people. That was the lens I experienced Hogwarts Legacy through. I left aside the politics and the bad feelings and looked at Hogwarts Legacy through the same eyes as I did when I was 10-years-old and opened that first chapter about The Boy Who Lived.
In Hogwarts Legacy, you find yourself as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed fifth-year, joining Hogwarts several years after most students. During your trip to the school with your mentor, Profess/or Fig, a dragon attacks the carriage, sending you and the professor on a journey to find and understand an ancient magic that only you can see. Along the way you’ll get sorted into your house of choice, learn spells, potions and flying, explore Hogwarts and the grounds beyond and find dozens of collectables.
This game is really a “play it your way” kind of game. If you like to mainline quests and get through the story, you can do that. If you like to explore and collect everything you can, you can do that. If you want to fly around on your broom beating the crap out of trolls, goblins and spiders, you can do that. Hell, you can even learn all three Unforgivable Curses and fling them out like they are beads at Mardi Gras. You can be the good kid or play the A-hole in the most satisfying way. The possibilities are endless.
Before Hogwarts Legacy was released, players rode the line between excited and scared of disappointment. We had been promised amazing things in the past from other games, only to be given buggy and broken messes that weren’t ready for release. Fortunately, Hogwarts Legacy is far from unfinished. This game is beautiful. Anyone who has ever wanted to walk the halls of Hogwarts, pluck mandrakes from their pots or fly their brooms in a Quidditch field gets the chance to experience something they have only seen in movies or their imaginations. Not only are there places and moments from the movies that fans can experience, but things from the books, like Peeves, float around the halls causing chaos. While the time period of Hogwarts Legacy predates that of Harry’s story, fans of the series will find a lot of familiarity to sink their teeth into.
If you have already been sorted on Pottermore, you can link your profile with your WB account. That will link your house and wand to the game, while getting some goodies for linking it. If you don’t or can’t link a Pottermore account, no worries because at Olivander’s, you can design the wand of your choice. At first, this adventure RPG feels like it’s lacking in its RPG elements. You can customize your character and find tons of clothes around the map. If you have a style of clothing you like, you can always improve your armor while keeping the aesthetic of your favorite outfits by changing its appearance. A skill tree does unlock but it takes several hours to get there.
Along with finding clothes, you find wand handles and furniture designs for a special space you have in Hogwarts in the Room of Requirement. In that space you can brew potions, grow plants and design your space. While I like the idea, aside from a space to brew and grow, the only thing to do there is uncover some special armor. You also have the ability to brew and grow in the classrooms. The Room of Requirement just makes it a one-stop shop for you.
Broom riding may be the best thing in Hogwarts Legacy. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you mount that broom and get used to the handling, it’s a truly freeing experience. All my life, I wished I could hop on a broom and fly around to my destinations and now I can. There are several brooms to buy and collect, each with their own designs and abilities. Not only do you get brooms, you can become a Beastmaster by catching animals like Puffskeins and Hippogriffs.
Alongside brooms being the best part of the game, the incredible music comes in an extremely close second. Each area has its own theme music, with new pieces that fits into the world like a glove with some classic bits that all fans know and love. There is a special 3 vinyl set that was being released on Mondo and it sold out in less than a day.
Combat for the most part is pretty comprehensive but feels frustrating at times. You have only 4 spells available to you at any given time, although you can unlock more sets the more you level up. I recommend unlocking all four sets, meaning you can have 4 exploration spells, 4 fighting spells, etc. There are some moments of issue with the buttons not working when you tell them to. For example, I would be in a mini boss fight and my buttons would react when I would tell them to. My basic spell wouldn’t work or my character wouldn’t dodge when I would tell her to. It didn’t happen all the time but when it did, it was a problem.
The map in Hogwarts Legacy is a lot bigger than anticipated. You have all of Hogwarts, which is a map in itself, then Hogsmeade, but outside of that there are smaller villages and the entire Scottish Highlands to explore plus the Forbidden Forest. Secrets, collectibles and puzzles are everywhere and I don’t envy completionists one bit for the task they must undertake. There are plenty of side quests alongside the main quest so you will easily have 50-100 hours of gameplay at your hands and the re-playability is high as you can change houses and styles with each time you play.
There are no bugs or major issues that I came across while playing and I played on a PS5. There were a few bugs and graphical clipping but as someone who has played a lot of Bethesda games, a few glitches here and there in a massive open-world experience is babytown frolics. The only complaint that I could have for this game is that the quests can get a little repetitive at first. The more you get into the main missions of the game, the more the gameplay opens up, but it can be a bit of a slog at times as you learn spells and level up for the more difficult moments of the game.
All in all, Hogwarts Legacy was everything fans hoped the game would be. There are moments that hit that nostalgia that our inner children hold dear while keeping the story new and innovative but staying within the parameters of a universe already created. You can play Hogwarts Legacy now.
Hogwarts Legacy (PS5) Score: 9/10
Hogwarts Legacy is the game we were promised with smooth gameplay and gorgeous graphics of a world of magic. While there are moments of choppy fighting mechanics, this game opens up the possibility of sequels and DLCs exploring more of this magical environment.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.