Geek Review: Hogwarts Legacy

Geek Review: Hogwarts Legacy

It is not often that creators get to play in another person’s sandbox, and get total control over what they can do there, especially if it’s something magical, beloved and iconic. There is always the fear of disappointing an existing fanbase while ensuring that the experience is welcoming to newcomers, resulting in a delicate balancing act that is challenging to tackle. Thankfully, for Warner Bros. Games and Avalanche Software’s Hogwarts Legacy, the development team has crafted a simply magical open-world roleplaying adventure that blends the familiar world from the Harry Potter books to those of the beloved movies and makes us all wish to be wizards and witches wielding the mystical arts.

Setting the stage quite briskly with the attack of rogue dragons and goblins led by the villain Ranrok, the first few hours of Hogwarts Legacy flow by quickly, allowing players to enter Hogwarts itself and be a part of the mystical and occult mysteries that lie within its walls. The premise is attractive on its own, promising a journey full of discoveries and secrets, but for fans of the Harry Potter series, that pure joy of being able to immerse oneself in this world is an opportunity not to be missed.

From getting placed by the Sorting Hat in the houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin to exploring the school and its grounds, players can simply wander about and enjoy the sights for hours on end, seeing the ancient castle in a different light thanks to the game’s focus on the 1800s instead of the 1990s that fans of the books and movies are more familiar with.

It is this sense of wonder and of the unknown that serves both as an incentive for the fandom to look into every nook and cranny, and also as a way of easing a new audience into what is a comprehensive universe full of history and lore. Even if there are recognisable names and faces, Hogwarts Legacy is, at its core, its own tale that has the player right at the heart of things.

Stepping into the buckles of a fifth-year student at Hogwarts, it is your strange connection to ancient magic and its source that drives the happenings of Hogwarts Legacy’s story. Without delving into spoilers, expect many surprises on this path and much conflict to be had. There is very little doubt that this is your story, be it how your character looks and dresses, or the way quests play out based on the decision you’ll make along the way. 

The robust array of options in Hogwarts Legacy is certainly one of the better systems out there in recent memory, allowing players to live out their fantasy as an eager youngling out to impact the world, a grizzled dark magic user, or everything in between. The clothing customisation options are also impressive, growing the collection with each new item you collect, and the same goes for your mounts, wands, and brooms.

That said, looking good is just a small part of Hogwarts Legacy, as without the accompanying magical splendour of its world and the spells you’ll cast, things would just not be exciting. Just like a real student at the school, picking up new spells and the proper ways to use them is probably the most excited any of us would be about attending class.

As players progress throughout the plot, more spells will become available, with some attainable via assignments from the various professors at the school. And it almost always pays off to learn these spells as soon as possible, as they can be useful in a variety of ways that help to expand the scope of Hogwarts Legacy.

One of those key areas is that of combat, which is a pleasantly challenging and exciting time. While the Unforgivable Curses like Crucio and Avada Kedavra are undoubtedly the star attractions of the game’s spell system, it is going to take students a while before such access is given. In the meantime, the growing list of spells available will be more than sufficient in providing fun ways to mess with your opponents.

Aside from a basic magical blast, aspiring wizards and witches can combine and unleash all sorts of other-worldly mischief. A good combo could start with Leviosa to lift suspecting enemies up, blast them a couple of times, drag them in near with Accio, and finish off with an explosive Confringo. And as you pick up more spells, the possibilities become even more comprehensive and fun.

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