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Hogwarts A Living Legacy
It’s a bit of a shock to realize that it’s been over 10 years since we’ve had a proper mainstream addition to the most famous Wizarding series to date, we’ve had several during this time but nothing has been able to quite capture that overall Wizarding as a whole, I’m pleased to state that while Hogwarts Legacy acts as a prequel and is based off the Harry Potter series by the infamous JK Rowling. Avalanche Software in partnership with Warner Bros under its Portkey Games label has created one of the most premier Wizarding experiences to date, while there are issues as well as a lot of drama surrounding this release if you’ve ever been a fan of this body of work (before all the controversy) I can assure you that Portkey Games has pulled a much older series originally presented years ago on the Playstation one back into the mainstream and has created a near perfect experience for all those children that are now adults that grew up with the Harry Potter series.
Creating your character
Portkey Games has done a very good job towards being fully inclusive and this is reflected within its character customization, while creating your own Witch or Wizard you’re completely free to carve out your own identity without limitation, you can truly make the character that perfectly represents you.
Portkey Games has also extended this traits to fellow characters throughout your year at Hogwarts, the representation presented throughout is very well crafted and incredibly thoughtful, it is a dream to see the vast amount of different characters being represented and how they make the game feel more alive, Portkey Games should be praised for the sheer amount of inclusivity they’ve included within Hogwarts Legacy where others games don’t take this into account Portkey Games went above and beyond to make sure everyone is represented.
While some people may have some issues regarding the characters that are represented please take into account that Portkey Games actually took the time to make sure everyone is represented in some capacity in the first place.
The Start of your Hogwarts Adventure
After the rather explosive opening you’ll eventually reach Hogwarts itself, albeit a bit later than intended but still even as a new 5th Year you’ll need to be sorted just like any new student that enters the hallowed halls of Hogwarts.
While you are given full choice regarding which house you join my recommendation would be for people hunting for achievements to avoid playing Ravenclaw and for people wanting a better story experience to either join Hufflepuff or Slytherin house, sorry Gryffindor while you’re a fine house and will also benefit from the same achievements as Hufflepuff and Slytherin nothing is particularly special regarding your house at this moment in time.
However if you really want to have your own true Wizard experience you can make use of your WB account as well as your Fan Account that will tailor your experience by selecting the proper house for you as well as the looks of your wand, in doing so you’ll also receive further additional content such as student robes that perfectly reflect your house, if you choose not to link your accounts or make use of this feature it will not impact your experience but you will miss out of these pieces of additional content.
From this point on you’ll make fast friends with your fellow house members, and start branching into side content as well as experiencing all the wonder and mystery that Hogwarts Legacy can present.
Combat and Spells
No Hogwarts game would be complete without some instances of spell slinging combat, while there are some issues regarding the combat that I will note here and in my conclusion section the sheer depth of the combat experience and the amount of different spell combinations and variants in mobs bring a really deep, if easily abused experience to Hogwarts Legacy as a whole.
Now the world of Hogwarts is full of magic and mysteries with which the player character will encounter many struggles, puzzles and situations where careful and proper use of spellcrafts will be the only way forward. Hogwarts Legacy boosts a very in depth combat system, while the amount of mobs and encounters are not as varied as other games in this genre the amount of sub-variants of these mobs are staggering.
In order to counter all these encounters the player character has access to a plethora of spells that are learned throughout the year, these spells are not only used to combat foes that you’ll encounter throughout the year but also to solve the multitude of puzzles throughout the main story as well as the additional content in the over-world. These spells can range from the basic charms of Leviosa – the most basic of levitation spells to some of the most well known spells from the series such as Expeliarmus and Alohomora.
Every single mob within Hogwarts Legacy has a unique feature that can be exploited and countered to make the experience easier. In most cases making use of your entire spell catalog as well as the previously mentioned field guide to learn these will improve the combat experience ten-fold and make taking care of endgame bosses on harder settings a lot more easier.
For example there are multiple encounters with other Wizards and Witches throughout the year,, each with there own unique abilities Executioners for example are incredibly beefy and shrug off a lot of your lesser charms that are normally very useful on other mobs, however you can disarm this mob during a certain scenarios which will cause there spell casting to go erratic causing the Executioner to take more damage while also damaging their peers.
While the combat is a fantastic experience overall and really promotes thinking of your feet and adapting to whatever situation is at hand, there are some issues that I will briefly touch upon here and one quite large one that will be covered in the conclusion section, throughout the Hogwarts Legacy experience I did find myself in this situation quite frequently when encounter groups of mobs, it appears in most cases that the vast majority of combat encounters entail the mob in question having a very fixed aggro range, while this is incredibly common in the majority of video games to encounter this I would that it was far too easy to abuse this mechanic to reduce 90% of the encounters in the open world to merely sitting pack firing basic casts to take care of anything in front of me. Pulling a mob outside of its aggro range in most cases either causes the mob to do absolutely nothing as it walks back to it’s preassigned space, all while still continuing to receive damage or to in the cases where the player character has the height advantage to just merely stand in place in a non-aggro state refusing to respond to any kind of cast.
Now you can just say that’s a personal preference for abusing mechanics, however there are noticeably a large amount of encounters where arenas are just swarming with mobs constantly attacking you from all angles and backing away to either have them all in front of you for better casting or to merely take a better defensive stance which can quickly lead to this situation
Side Content and Collections
Aside from the main content presented within Hogwarts Legacy, there is a plethora of side content that comes included as a base, if purchasing the digital deluxe edition you’ll also get access to some additional quests, especially if playing the PS5 version. For the PS5 version there are a few exclusive quests not yet available to other platforms. Though they’re currently exclusive to PS5 they should become available to other platforms within the year
The side content is semi mandatory content that brings the game some much needed life during the player characters time throughout the Hogwarts year, as the player character progressing throughout the year they’ll make fast friends with other members within their House, these housemates each have their own unique personality as well as very deep and rich backstories. These backstories span the entire year at Hogwarts and unlock additional spells and side content that makes the general experience of Hogwarts Legacy much easier overall.
While these stories are expertly crafted and bring much more life into the general experience there are some noticeable issues with some of the more darker stories that are included towards the end of the year, in some cases you can complete the next main quest which includes that side character which moves the story forward while also not having the previous portion of the story resolved due to it being side content. This can lead to awkward situations where characters are aware of things in one sense and not in the other. These sequence breaks however are extremely limited and don’t overall ruin the experience.
Along with these main side stories there is a plethora of one off stories that are darted throughout the Hogwarts landscape, these serve to further add additional content most noticeably tight to either traveling around the map or completing the games biggest feature of Collections, during the players experience in Hogwarts you’ll come across all kinds of strange and wondrous things. Be it magical beasts, rare items or perhaps just a random floating book page that needs to be pulled from the sky. All of these things add up to your once again all important field guide collection counter, when reaching certain milestones you’ll be able to open your field guide and receive rewards based on the content that have been completed. These rewards can range from purely cosmetic items that add a little flair to the player character to that of additional traits and bonuses that can make the combat experience easier for the player character to handle. Unlike most games that feature this side content, Hogwarts Legacy gives a very good incentive to completing these by increasing gear load, as well as increasing other stats making the experience far more enjoyable as the year goes on. With the PS5 exclusive quests this is taken to a much higher level and there has definitely been a large amount of effort put into these additional quests as the style changes as well as the rewards are a much welcome change from something similar games would present the player upon completion.
Conclusion, Issues and Drama
Now we’ve reached the conclusion portion of the review, unlike my usual style of reviews I will also cover some of the drama surrounding Hogwarts Legacy as well as some of the issues I faced throughout my playthrough.
To start I will cover the conclusion portion, In my honest opinion Hogwarts Legacy is a one of a kind style of game, this is easily going to be in the running for Game of Year, while it does have some pretty glaring issues as I’ll cover below this doesn’t detract from the game as a whole and really expands the overall lore that brings in several references to the book series as well as the other forms of media related to this.
My most glaring issue that I touched above in an above section is one of the key talents that can be acquired very early into the game, this particular talent augments the dodge capability to increase its range along with making it reflect the movements of the later Wizard battles within the movie series. Now this is an amazing ability overall however this one ability absolutely breaks the enemy tracking system, for example Trolls are a common enemy type and they routinely use a sequence of three swings of varying degrees of speed, it’s quite simple overall to just dodge each in sequence and counter with a spell as appropriate, how with this augment dodge ability should the player use this dodge function on the first swing even if the dodge takes you to the complete other side of the arena the Troll’s second swing will always connect with the player character so you will run into issues where you are completely out of range and enemies will float in the air and teleport to you instantly, as the vast majority of melee based mobs have a three swing combo this becomes quite an issue especially considering some of the boss arenas are extremely small compared to the amount of mobs that can spawn. I have had too many instances where I’ve encountered a huge Acromantula that decides to do its three hit combo ultimately vanish from the screen only to fall through the ceiling of the arena and practically dance on the player character’s head effectively killing me. This is all while trying to dodge a smaller spider’s triple melee hit so you don’t even have to be targeting the mobs in question for this issue to be presented. Thankfully as mentioned this doesn’t detract from the overall flow of the game and shouldn’t really present too much of an issue overall if playing on lower difficulty settings.
The second issue, although not anywhere as near as impactful on the overall gameplay is some of the utterly confusing pathing that some of the random students take throughout Hogwarts, in some cases they walk through walls for no reason and even appear walking into walls behind locked doors. What is most confusing is that due to the sheer amount of students running around Hogwarts you can run into situations where some students walk through each other but other instances where they get stuck on each other with no rhyme or reason to the madness, perhaps this is just the nature of Hogwarts overall.
Finally I will end this review briefly covering the drama surrounding Hogwarts Legacy at the time of review. I will preface this entire section by saying that I’m all for inclusivity and have no ill will towards any kind of movement or person based on race,religion, gender status or orientation. I firmly believe that everyone should be allowed to enjoy gaming as a medium with the threat of being canceled or insulted based on selection. I generally try to keep drama out of my reviews but since this is gaining a lot of traction given the subject matter it needs to be stated.
As J.K Rowling has said some pretty offensive things towards the Trans community I can fully understand people wishing to boycott the game as a stand to not support her in any sense with their money, that is completely fine and everyone is free to make that choice should they wish, however the issue becomes a whole lot more than that when people start attacking others over simply buying Hogwarts Legacy, there where multiple instances during Day one streams on Twitch where streamers were being mass trolled, attacked, insulted as well as other instances of bullying simply because they chose to play “that wizard game” even being added to streaming lists and being canceled. This is just yet another Twitter witch hunt and will soon fade away as does most drama.
While I disagree with J.K Rowling’s words and stance regarding gender I also disagree with people championing yet another cause by attacking others for no reason, everyone should be free to make there own choice when it comes to playing video games, whether you disagree with their choice or not does not allow you to go about attacking others for that choice on stream, separate the art from the artist there are plenty of polarizing figures that are still celebrated to this day that where absolutely participating in horrible practices.
At the end of the day while I disagree with J.K firmly I choose to play Hogwarts Legacy as the series has been a large part of this generation’s upbringing. While as mentioned above on multiple instances there are some issues that can impact gameplay and the story Hogwarts Legacy itself is a well designed piece of media, wether damaging or not is up to interpretation and is easily one of, if not the best Wizard/Witch based game of the decade.
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- Excellent Story with a good cast
- References to other material
- In depth combat system with multiple combos
- Enemy tracking is terrible
- Sequence breaks that don’t make sense
- Certain Houses miss out overall