Video Game Review: Hogwarts Legacy


Image of a student fighting a troll in Hogwarts Legacy released on Feb 10 by Avalanche Studios. Image courtesy of the Hogwarts Legacy Website.

By Nicholas Kitay

“Hogwarts Legacy,” released in February 2023, is an enchanting open-world role playing game rife with otherworldly, engaging adventures that put the player at the center of the action.

The game is influenced by the “Harry Potter” franchise and was created by Warner Brothers’ developer studio Avalanche Software. This studio has created other popular games including “Rage 2,” “Generation Zero” and “The Hunter: Call of the Wild.”

Avalanche is known for creating great open-world experiences that ensure their immersive worlds are engaging and fun to explore. “Hogwarts Legacy” is no different from Avalanche’s other successful games. Arguably, “Hogwarts Legacy” is their best open-world to date, especially for those who have longed to be a witch or wizard flying on a Hippogriff.

Image provided by Warner Brothers
Student flying on the back of a hippogriff in the Hogwarts Legacy game released by Avalanche Studios. Image courtesy of the Hogwarts Legacy website.

From the main quest line to all the side quests and relationships available in this spellbinding universe, the player is at the center of all that is happening in “Hogwarts Legacy.”

Character customization in the game includes options for face editing, hairstyle changes and even voice pitching to allow players to make their character as unique as they desire.

Oddly set in the late 1800s instead of the time frame of the “Harry Potter” books, players in the game arrive at Hogwarts as fifth-year students. Immediately, players are thrust into a salient mission to stop an impending war between goblins and wizard kind.

Throughout the game, players learn spells from wizarding professors, build relationships with other characters, embark on exciting and sometimes perilous adventures and explore a truly vast magical realm.

Players can investigate the entirety of the Hogwarts castle, fly through the surrounding villages and roam the streets of Hogsmeade. With their detailed and entrancing game design, Avalanche blew it out of the park with “Hogwarts Legacy.”

Venturing through the well-developed world is surely a treat for fans of the Harry Potter franchise. The developers and writers of the game must be ardent “Harry Potter” fans themselves, for the ambiance and atmosphere of the game is very emblematic of the fantastical spirit that has defined the “Harry Potter” saga for decades.

image courtesy of Hogwarts Legacy website
View of a lush cavern in Hogwarts Legacy released by Avalanche Studios. Image courtesy of the Hogwarts Legacy website.

A player could spend hours just exploring the medieval halls and corridors of Hogwarts. Rest assured, the famous moving stairways and evolving rooms delineated in the books and movies are incorporated in the game, alongside iconic shops like The Three Broomsticks and Ollivander’s Wand Shop.

courtesy of Hogwarts Legacy website
Student gets their first wand at Ollivanders in the game Hogwarts Legacy released by Avalanche Studios. Image courtesy of the Hogwarts Legacy website.

While the visual design of the world is spectacular, the gameplay has room for improvement. “Hogwarts Legacy” has a total of 31 spells, equipable and non-equipable. But, the notable lack of combat spells leaves the latter half of the game somewhat dull.

And, while there are plenty of gear options for players to explore, there are only 20 slots available for holding the gear. This means that players will frequently have to sell or discard their gear. Moreover, to unlock gear slots, player must complete Merlin Trials, which is more of a tedious endeavor than an enjoyable experience.

image courtesy of Hogwarts Legacy website
Student using Protego against a dark wizard in Hogwarts Legacy released by Avalanche Studios. Image courtesy of the Hogwarts Legacy website.

Additionally, the questing formula is too rigid and repetitive in the game’s latter half. The quests require the player to level up before proceeding to the next quest. The formula has the player complete a couple of main quests and side quests and then rinse and repeat until the game is finished. Players may find this to be an uninspiring questing formula that could have been better thought out.

The plot of the game is above average, but not at all unique. The protagonist’s innovative magical abilities are what make the story decent, but most of the information necessary to understand the protagonist’s power is disappointingly locked behind the second half of the game.

While there is progress happening in the main story, much of the game is spent doing other tasks between the actual story’s development. This roadmap decision feels a bit dumbed-down, leaving players to wonder why the creators of the game thought it necessary for the game flow to be continuously interrupted by menial side objectives.

Towards the end of the game, the pacing of the plot picks up speed and questions from the beginning of the game are finally answered. For fans of the movies and books, “Hogwarts Legacy” is an easily enjoyable experience, even with the few caveats explained above.

It may be important to note that the game is rather pricy, even for a well funded, big budget AAA game title. The average gameplay and storyline may warrant buying the game on sale; however, “Hogwarts Legacy” is certainly worth the time for fans of the “Harry Potter” universe.

Overall Rating – 7/10

Played on PlayStation 5