Hogwarts Legacy

When Hogwarts Legacy was first revealed about a year ago, I was surprised to find it landing firmly on my anticipated games of 2022 list. I say “surprised” because, up until that point, I had less than even a passing interest in anything Hogwarts or Harry Potter. I hadn’t read any of the books, nor had I seen any of the movies — aside from one of the Fantastic Beasts movies, which I think might have been the second one. 

But Hogwarts Legacy looked like it was aiming to deliver a deep action-RPG with a Hogwarts slant, one that perhaps could be enjoyable without having a wellspring of knowledge with the source material. But then JK Rowling came out as extremely transphobic and spoiled the party, so controversy will now plague anything that is related to Harry Potter. It isn’t entirely unfair; Rowling’s muddled anti-trans sentiment shouldn’t be simply brushed off. Although that may not have been the direct cause for Hogwarts Legacy going dark shortly thereafter, it certainly didn’t help with the PR optics for the game.

That said, Hogwarts Legacy has finally come out of hiding with a State of Play presentation on March 17, 2022. So, controversy aside, how does the actual game look after a year out of the spotlight?

Well, going solely off of this lengthy presentation, I’d say less than ideal, at least from where I’m standing.

Hogwarts Legacy

Now, don’t get me wrong, even though I am not well-versed (or at-all-versed) in the lore of all things Hogwarts, I will say that, from an outsider’s perspective, this looks like a Hogwarts-ass Hogwarts game. The students have the robes and wands, the school looks appropriately modeled, and the trailer even boasts about players being able to gain access to recognizable areas they previously were never able to explore, like what looks like a kitchen!

Legacy seems to have a menagerie of spells that players can cast to inflict all manner of effects against enemies, each with its own signature “abracadabra”-style title that apparently has to be yelled to cast the spell. This looks like every snippet of any of the Harry Potter movies I’ve seen in passing, which suggests Avalanche nailed the aesthetic here, though I will defer judgement to any Potter-philes out there. 

But when taken as a whole, I find myself less enthused, having now seen a healthy dose of what is on offer for Hogwarts Legacy. My main impression after watching this focused State of Play is that It all looks kind of boring. There seems to be far more of an emphasis on actually attending classes — which I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by, since this takes place in a wizard academy, but I guess I just assumed that was more of a backdrop and less of a game structure. Granted, it’s hard to tell just how much of the player’s time will be spent learning spells and attending classes, but I got a very strong Bully vibe from watching this. 

Hogwarts Legacy

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing if handled correctly. But for as much as I initially enjoyed the classroom aspect of Bully, it wasn’t long before I was skipping class to do things more aligned with my play style. So if classwork is a big part of the experience and is also mandatory, hopefully Legacy handles this in a way that feels more fun and less like perfunctory busywork. 

But homework aside, the biggest flaw for me was that the showcased spellcasting and combat segments felt slow and dull. Combat is so slow, in fact, that I wasn’t sure if it’s turn-based or actually real-time (in hindsight, I’m pretty sure it’s real-time). There seems to be a lack of dynamism or excitement to the whole affair. Now, maybe these sequences were early in the game and were still some sort of tutorial section, which would explain the glacial speed at which combat seemed to be moving. It’s possible that things pick up once your character is in the thick of it and the training wheels are allowed to come off. I certainly hope so.

It’s also very possible — seemingly more possible than not at this point — that Hogwarts Legacy simply isn’t for me. I’m just not a Harry Potter fan at all (and before you jump on me, I am using “Harry Potter” as a catch-all for anything set in this particular universe), and it is quite reasonable to suspect that I am not the target audience for this game. Fair enough — not everything is for everyone, and there have been plenty of instances in the past where I tried to force a game to be what I wanted it to be, only to find out it was confidently something else. Different strokes, as they say…

But as purely an action-RPG — regardless of the coat of paint slathered on it or the source material it adheres to — I was hoping to be even more excited about Hogwarts Legacy once we had more information about it. Now that the dust has kind of settled and the game can be presented on its own merits, it just doesn’t look like my cuppa.

Hogwarts Legacy

I certainly don’t mean to belittle the efforts of the doubtless hundreds of people that spent the last several years of their lives working on this. But as the game stands now — or rather, as it was presented in the recent State of Play — it feels a little staid and also a tad drab. My impressions could always change, of course, but here in March of 2022, it’s safe to say the needle has moved in the wrong direction for me.

There still isn’t a release date outside of Holiday 2022 for this. Whenever that magical date arrives, Hogwarts Legacy will be available on PS4 and PS5, and, despite this being presented in a Sony State of Play, it will also be available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

You can check out the Hogwarts Legacy State of Play below to see it for yourself — you’re certainly not required to take my word for any of this.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x