I’m delighted to say that with Hogwarts Legacy, we have a Harry Potter game that succeeds to capture part of that charm. The Hogwarts Castle is huge and filled with secrets, and there’s a massive open world to explore. But let’s be real here – while it does bring back all those warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, it does struggle to break free from the limitations of open-world game design.
On the plus side, Hogwarts Legacy offers an amazing experience within Hogwarts Castle. You can attend classes and explore the castle to your heart’s content. And you can even explore Hogsmeade and the Scottish Highlands where you’ll come across poachers, goblins, trolls and other mysterious creatures.
However, outside of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, the game’s open-world approach is still successful. The story revolves around a goblin uprising, but it lacks depth and fails to explore the sources of conflict between wizard-kind and other magical denizens. The player character is too bland to be memorable, and the friendships they develop are not meaningful. Even the most likable characters feel like quest-givers.
The ultimate RPG experience
The combat system, which initially thrills with its spellcasting mechanics, becomes increasingly fiddly and repetitive as players accumulate more enchantments. The game also features a number of odd quirks that feel outdated, such as the player character seating on the floor to pass the time during quests.
Another aspect of the game that I fancied was character customization. I had complete freedom to select the house, appearance, and abilities, that best matched my wizarding identity. I felt more a part of the Hogwarts community and the game had a more realistic sense as a result.
Overall, Hogwarts Legacy gets its magic a little less from the game’s design and more from its world. Even while it has its moments, the game falls victim to the drawbacks of open-world game design and tries to provide a really distinctive and unforgettable experience. Wizarding World devotees may still find it entertaining, but those hoping for a more personal and character-focused Harry Potter fantasy may be disappointed.