By Tysen Romeo
One of the world’s most successful and beloved book series (written by a woman with questionable morals) is getting a video game adaptation. That video game, Hogwarts Legacy, allows players to explore the wizarding world of the Harry Potter like never before.
I haven’t read the books but have seen most of the movies, and honestly, I do not understand most of the hype around the series in general. But I do have a love of video games, so I figured why not play one involving some wizards and magic. While I don’t understand most of the hype around the series in general, I can tell you this game blew me away with its lore and detail and can see this might be the perfect game for Harry Potter fans.
The game follows a fifth-year transfer student, who possesses an ancient type of magic that was once used to create Hogwarts. The student has a hard time getting to Hogwarts on time and is thrown into his sorting ceremony, which is where you choose what house your character belongs to. You then go to classes and explore the lands around Hogwarts, like Hogsmeade, a town next to the school and frequented by students.
The school itself is massive and has lots of secrets to be uncovered. Avid Harry Potter fans who know the layout of the school from the book descriptions and movies are keen to notice that the game is a near replica of everything they’ve read or seen. Even though I didn’t know the school’s layout, it was neat to eventually learn the path from my dorm room to my classes to the dining hall to the library and all around the school.
The game also offers a lot of customization from the way your character looks and your wand to the spells you learn and the potions you craft to your dialogue and how you want your room to look.
Hogwarts Legacy is everything Harry Potter fans ever wanted in a game, except that the most popular sport in the Harry Potter world (and one that fans of the series love), Quidditch, is not in the video version. For those of you who don’t know, quidditch is a sport where a team of wizards and witches ride their brooms and score points with a leather ball in hoops floating in the air, is so adored by fans that some colleges even have Quidditch teams and play in leagues against other schools. A big missed opportunity.
You can still fly on a broom, though, which is one of the best features the game has to offer. It makes exploring this game’s massive world a lot more enjoyable. While flying is fun in the beginning, the size of the world and the distance between points you travel can get tiring quickly and take away from the immersive feel of the game. Most of the land is bare except for grass and rocks. When you are at the school, you are constantly surrounded by collectibles and non-playable characters, but in the area surrounding Hogwarts, the world lacks any significance other than the two towns you frequent and the scattered enemy bases.
The story of the game was also a bit of a letdown. The character is a bit emotionless and has all these different options to say during dialogue, but none of your choices have consequences. A spell that is forbidden in the book series or movies (such as one that instantly sends you to prison because it kills people) has no consequences when your character uses it here. Your character also spends the whole game trying to prove he is worthy of his gifts and understands the costs that come with it, yet never fully uses the magical powers he possesses. The story just lacked any emotional or creative punch.
It is impossible for developers to fit every element from the series into one video game, but Hogwarts Legacy lacks some essential components to be as amazing as it could be, especially a sense of cohesiveness. Games don’t have to be perfect to still be fun (and I am not even a big fan of Harry Potter), but I still feel like the developers could have done a little more fan service in this game.
However, that isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy most of what this game had to offer. If you are a Harry Potter fan, get the game. It is not a perfect Harry Potter game, but it is a new way to experience something you love and reconnect to the series in a new way. For gamers who like blowing stuff up and using magic to attack your enemies, I would also tell you to get the game because, well, you can do just that in this game too.
Hogwarts Legacy will be released on all platforms May 5. HBO Max also just greenlit a new Harry Potter TV series separate from the movies, so Harry Potter fans are having quite the year for new content related to the series.
May your dreams of enrolling in Hogwarts come true.