I’m not going to be going into the author of this universe, nor is this review in any way based on their views regarding transgender individuals. I got and played this game because Harry Potter was my childhood. It was a massive part of growing up, and while I didn’t read the books until the end of high school that does not change the impact this world had on my childhood. I loved the movies and one of the few PC games that my sister and I had that weren’t educational was the original Harry Potter game on the PC, where we had to collect jelly beans. I remember getting so frustrated at points during that game. And I always wanted to see Hogwarts brought to life in a way where I could be the main character. That I was in my house, and I got to do the exploring. Which is exactly what we get in Hogwarts Legacy.
While Avalanche has confirmed that J.K. Rowling is not “directly involved” in the development of Hogwarts Legacy, it is working with “her team” and Portkey Games, a Warner Bros. label dedicated to launching new experiences inspired by J.K. Rowling’s original stories. It is currently unclear whether she will earn any royalties from the game’s sale, but it is likely given it is based on her original body of work.
Hogwarts Legacy is an almost entirely open-world game with the expectation of a few dungeons where you have to load into new areas. Usually, the reason behind these changes make since when you remember that in this universe rooms can be larger on the inside than they are on the outside. So, space wise they need to be loaded separately to fit within the same space. Also, I’m sure it helps with load times. There are a few pauses at doors to load the next segment of the map but generally, it’s only a few seconds. And often not even noticeable.
This game takes place during the last documented Goblin Rebellions which take place in 1890, which we’ve heard about the lore in the past. We play as a new fifth-year student that stumbles into the middle of this rebellion when they discover ancient magic that the goblins are after. So, you’re not on the side of the goblins (who have faced years of discrimination and persecution) but opposed to them. The goblins are led by Ranrok, who is capable of wielding magic without a wand. There is also a lot of poaching going on led by Victor Rockwood, who is helping Ranrok though we aren’t told in the beginning why the two are working together. As the game goes on, we discover everything is linked to this mysterious ancient magic that our character can see. It’s also the reason why our character takes at Hogwarts during the fifth year instead of the first year.
You are able to choose your own house (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, or Hufflepuff) along with the wand your character receives. You can also choose how your character looks and sounds, even if your character has a feminine body you can have a masculine voice thus making your character transgender. Regardless of the current outfit you are wearing, you can change the appearance of it to anything you’ve collected in the game even if it is not currently in your inventory. So, there’s no need to hold onto various gear in order to get a certain look. Nor do you have to have ridiculous outfits to have the best stats. Which I really like since then you don’t have to worry about inventory space if you want to change how you look. Though you do need to mind inventory space as it will run out in your exploration. But you can expand it by completing Merlin Trials (mini-puzzles) scattered around the map.
Your want doesn’t affect the gameplay, but your house might can it slightly. The color of your gear reflects your house colors. You can only access the Common Room of your house and the Floo Flame fast travel point is not accessible to the other houses. Also, dialogue changes to reflect your house. Side quests also change depending on your house, the most notable is the quest leading up to a meeting with Richard Jackdaw:
- Gryffindor will meet Nearly Headless Nick and join the Headless Hunt.
- Ravenclaw will investigate The Owlery to solve a puzzle.
- Slytherin will meet Headmaster Black’s house elf and find a secret grotto.
- Hufflepuff gets to take a trip to Azkaban Prison to solve a murder mystery.
There are rumors that the number of side quests changes depending on your house, but I have not seen any proof of that. Only that, the one quest before Richard Jackdaw changes.
You also get access to the Room of Requirement where you can custom it to your heart’s desire and is the location you brew potions, grow plants, and raise/breed mythical beasts in multiple different biomes. You can only have four species in each biome with a total of twelve total beasts within. This is probably one of my favorite areas in the games as it’s entirely customizable to suit your preferences. Plus, rescuing and raising the various beasts is a lot of fun. I had a blast with it especially as you can give them toys to play with.
I absolutely loved playing this game. Some questlines are more interesting to me than others, my favorites were:
- Poppy Sweeting with the Poachers as you get to interact with dragons and centaurs.
- Sebastian Sallow with the Dark Arts in his attempt to cure his twin sister of a curse she received. I loved the trio dramatic between Sebastian, Ominis, and your character… I dubbed us the Dark Trio.
- Natsai (Natty) Onai trying to expose Rookwood and the Ashwinders. During her questline, you also get access to Hippogriffs as a mount, even though you’re introduced to them during Poppy Sweeting’s questline. I really hope in the future that there’s DLC where Natty helps us learn to become an animagus.
Speaking of the Dark Arts, you do get the option to learn the Unforgivable Curses. However, there is no morality system, so there really isn’t any downside to using them. Though characters will comment on the use of them if you use them around those characters. Also, using curses does not affect which ending you receive. Even though there are multiple, which ending you get is based on your choice at the very end. There are two main endings regarding the Final Repository and what you decide to do with the ancient magic. Then there is a third and true ending, which involves reaching level 34 and doing all the side objectives around Hogwarts.
Overall, I seriously love this game. I thought it was visually stunning with a great storyline. I also ran into a few issues as I played, sure there were some (characters walking in place or the camera dropping frames at times) but I wouldn’t call any of those to the point where I would dock a lot of points from the game for those. The open world never feels empty and there are plenty of things to do. Even if you clear an area of enemies, they will spawn back in later so there’s always something to face in areas. Which is nice especially when you need to complete various dueling feats/challenges.
Not to mention, the developers of this game put a lot of attention to detail into this world. You can find almost every element mentioned in the Harry Potter books in the games. The only things missing are items that wouldn’t exist in 1890, so that makes sense. Plus, there are little Easter Eggs everywhere. Like a stag and doe at Patronus Lake, Newt’s niffler on a hill, a grave for Hagrid behind his hut, and so many other things. Also, I love how much inclusion they have in this game from LGBTIA+ to disabilities.
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