Over the last few years, it has felt like open world games have been a dime-a-dozen. Everyone is attempting to build that open world game and stuff it full of things to do. This year has already been littered with them, and more are on the way. However, Hogwarts Legacy has stuck out for various reasons.

Some of those have been good and some of them have been bad. What I can say, however, is that Hogwarts Legacy might be the best open world role playing game to launch this year, and as of right now, I’m not sure it’s close!

Hogwarts LegacyHogwarts Legacy Details

Platform(s): PS5Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC
Reviewed On: Xbox Series X
Developer(s): Avalanche Software
Publisher(s):Warner Bros. Games
Genre: Action RPG
Mode(s): Single-player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Four houses, one story

When you first load up Hogwarts Legacy you’ll have the chance to play as a student in one of the four houses: Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Gryphendor, or Slytheren. Your choice does have some impact on your experience, although not as much as you might think. There is a specific main quest that will unfold differently, and you’ll obviously have a different common room to visit each night. However, the characters you interact with around the castle and get to know better will be the same no matter which house you play as.

Which house you choose, then, really comes down to personal preference. I began my journey as Slytheren, but having dabbled in Ravenclaw as well, I can confirm the differences are minor. Hogwarts Legacy is set a long time prior to the events of Harry Potter. While many of the family names you hear may be familiar, the characters, for the most part, will not be. 

In Hogwarts Legacy, you control a young wizard entering his 5th year, after never attending Hogwarts at all. You possess a great power that will contain a growing evil, and throughout your adventures with friends and professors at Hogwarts, you slowly unlock your potential and learn more about the secret power you possess. All of this is centered on a goblin rebellion led by Ranrok, and aided by the evil wizard, Victor Rookwood. The story is very good, and had me on my toes for much of the adventure.

A solo, sometimes lifeless experience

What really disappointed me about Hogwarts Legacy was that it was a purely single player experience. I’m usually not a fan of companies adding multiplayer to games that don’t need it and there is a strong argument that Hogwarts Legacy does not need it. However, as I played, I kept wondering how fun it would be to run around the halls of Hogwarts with a friend.

What would it be like dueling with a friend? Who doesn’t want to ride broomsticks around Hogwarts grounds with a companion? I don’t think this would matter as much to me if the actual Hogwarts experience didn’t feel so dull at times. While there are a few characters you really get to interact with throughout the story, the rest of those attending Hogwarts are almost lifeless individuals.

While NPC characters do mill about, it’s more than likely that they are rooted to one place. Some of them aren’t even having conversations, just simply sitting in chairs. I love how some of the paintings will shout at you as you run past – I wish the same could be said for the NPC characters as well!

Can wand combat be good?

One of the biggest concerns I had about Hogwarts Legacy was how the combat would unfold. If you’ve watched a Harry Potter film, there is a lot going on outside shooting balls of light at each other. There are dozens of spells to learn and master, which are key to dueling success. How would the team map all of these different commands to the controller and create impactful and engaging combat?

Most spells will be mapped to the face buttons, and can be changed in menus. The story does often suggest specific spells for specific situations, so knowing which ones to equip isn’t as difficult as you might think. When you are just wandering the grounds around Hogwarts, however, it does just come down to personal preference. All-in-all, however, the combat works really well. Between regular attacks using your wand (think about it as a gun, but not a gun!) you can cast learned spells as well. A great combination of spells can do more damage, so experimentation is key.

What I really liked, however, is that experimenting with different spells is actually a lot of fun. I was expecting a somewhat daunting and boring task of seeing what worked best, and trying to maximize every part of my character’s combat routine. What I realized, however, is that the most fun was had when just experimenting. Even on harder difficulty settings, I never felt anything unbeatable, and rarely resorted to specific spell combinations as a means to max my capabilities. 

Lots to do in the Wizarding World

Ultimately, there are lots of things to do in Hogwarts Legacy. You can explore Hogsmeade and the castle at length, visit hamlets around the countryside, attack goblins and more. There is a lot to uncover in the world of Hogwarts Legacy, including side quests, trails akin to those in Breath of the Wild, and so much more.

The development team did a good job of packing the world of Hogwarts Legacy with lots of things to do, but I did find it was never that overwhelming. There was still a solid emphasis on story progression. So many games, in my opinion, fall trap to attempting to add too much. While some open world games eventually give way to a collection grind, Hogwarts Legacy provides enough to keep you interested, but not too much to side track you. It really is the perfect open world game.

Hogwarts Legacy is a near perfect open world game

There is a lot of controversy around the launch of Hogwarts Legacy, but none of that can take away from the fact that this is one of the best open world games ever made. Its focused story and fantastic world building keeps players moving forward, even when not entirely focused on the main story.

With Warner Bros. Games discussing more games coming to the Harry Potter universe, I can only get excited to see what they come up with next.

OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF HOGWARTS LEGACY

Gameplay: 4.5/5
Graphics: 4.5/5
Sound: 4.5/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5

Overall Rating 4.5/5 (90%)

Purchase Hogwarts Legacy on: Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Xbox One, PS4 or Nintendo Switch

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Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter @4Scarrs_Gaming.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I hope I can find the time to play this game eventually. I love the world of Harry Potter and all the hype when the game came out drove me to rewatch the films.

    Thank you for this review as it confirms this game is must play for fans of the wizarding world.

  2. Great review, Jon! My husband and I have been playing and so far we agree with you. Wonderful open-world game and the exploring and side quests have been delightful; so far the character development and storytelling are intriguing. It feels like a world I can get lost in, just like in Breath of the Wild. Like you, I agree that it would be fun to have a multiplayer option; with any luck and enough people asking, maybe they’ll include multiplayer (online or local) in a future DLC.

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