Hogwarts Legacy brings back the magic of Harry Potter

play Hogwarts Legacy is a reminder that few fantasy worlds are as magical as the worlds of Harry Potter. In 1998, my mother gave me a copy of the Philosopher’s Stone – the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US – and that first chapter completely sucked me into its magical world. I was hooked for life.

Or so I thought. After the core book series wrapped up and there were no more movie adaptations, my emotional connection waned. the stuffed derivativesalong with Controversy surrounding writer JK Rowlingsucked up the remaining fun from the franchise, and you guessed it, it was time to move on.

All that baggage fell away once Hogwarts Legacy, which made its way to PS5 and Xbox Series X, kicked off S and PC onriday. (It will reach other consoles in the coming months.) This open world action RPG game, developed by Avalanche Software, is designed to let us live out our imaginations by enrolling in the famous School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a freshman.

After playing the PS5 version for 10 hours, it captures the wonders of the early books, with an intriguing original narrative, engagingly diverse gameplay and an intricately designed world to explore.

Back to basics

The game avoids the narrative limitations of Harry’s story by jumping back in chronology, to the 1890s. After creating your character, you embark on a short introductory adventure before arriving at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Although you are a freshman, you start your magic career a little late and enter the fifth year. It is likely due to having a wide-eyed first year, only 11 years old, exploring dangerous caves, learning dangerous spells and battle dark wizards.

The customization options are an essential component of living out your Wizarding World fantasy, and they are a joy. You can choose the gender and appearance of your character. Then you will choose and change the stick (don’t worry, the one with whom you start the game is a lender) and the broom.

You are also sorted into Hogwarts house (SlytherinTW) based on a series of questions that you will answer shortly after you arrive at the school, but you can do so if the initial selection doesn’t work for you.

A student witch showing a purple magic light at the tip of a wand as the shopkeeper looks on at the Hogwarts Legacy

Choosing your wand is a great moment, and you can customize it throughout the game.

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The house you end up in doesn’t seem to change much outside of the common room, uniform, and a few sloppy lines. Although teachers do mention home points in some classrooms, you won’t actually be competing with them in the game.

Your education is occasionally interrupted by the main story, which centers on your relationship with a mysterious ancient wizard and evil dark wizard in league with the intense leader of the Goblin Rebellion – these villains go by the excellent names of Victor Rookwood and Runrock, respectively. It’s an interesting story that expands the lore of this universe nicely, especially when it hints at other events way back in the timeline.

Living in the Wizarding World

The development team’s love of Harry Potter is evident in every aspect of Hogwarts Legacy, but it shines most in the world and its characters. Every teacher, student, and location feels distinct and real, with a host of familiar names like Weasley and Black to put fans at ease.

Each character is richly written, with a clever voice – Simon Pegg He plays the unpleasant Headmaster – and visually diverse, so talking to them and learning about their backgrounds is great. (It’s frustrating that you can’t stop during cutscenes.) This characterization is woven through the main story and side quests, which range from investigating a castle’s mysteries and surreptitiously grabbing potion ingredients to wandering a dangerous cave.

Students gather at the foot of the stairs in the stone Hogwarts Entrance Hall of Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts is full of characters to meet and secrets to discover.

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These are varied and fun in terms of gameplay, exploration, and puzzle-solving, but feel more worthwhile as they provide opportunities to learn more about the quest-givers and the world. Teenage trade. Like sneaking into the library in the dead of night with the help of invisibility magic, it looks just like vintage Harry Potter.

Your personal, dedicated voice acting is strong, but sometimes it’s a little flat — like you’re being overly polite or reserved. This is better than listening to a real life teenager. The character models are convincing enough, but the eyes sometimes move unnaturally and feel tight.

The world is luxuriously designed too, particularly in the beautiful Gothic Hogwarts, with its moving panels, chatty gargoyles and witty student banter. Every inch is something to explore, with piles of collectibles and easter eggs to discover – you hear a satisfying hint of… John Williams theme When you pick up some items. The nearby village of Hogsmeade isn’t very big, but still a lot of fun.

A wizard in a robe walks down a dirt road that leads to a house in Hogwarts Legacy.

There’s a lot to explore outside of the school too, but it’s not overpopulated.

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The colorful rolling hills, plains, and hamlets that make up the rest of the world can feel a bit bland in comparison, though Manuscripts of Sheikh feelings.

The game’s technical limitations occasionally pop up as you dash around the environment, too; Sometimes the assets will load on the edge of the screen and the doors will appear to be stuck as an area outside of the loads. It never feels game-breaking, but it may shake your sense of immersion for a while.

Magic trade tricks

The multifaceted nature of your magic is gradually revealed through the early hours of Hogwarts Legacy. Your character starts out with the simplest dueling skills and spells, but the way you flick spells with your wand gives combat a unique dynamic flow.

You block incoming attacks with a magic shield and dodge bigger attacks. Combat is similar to what was seen in Batman: Arkham Spider-Man Games, but with aesthetic charm. It’s instantly fun, so much so that you’ll crave magical battles.

Two students mix a potion and sparks fly from a cauldron at Hogwarts Legacy

Potions class opens up a lot of fun options, and it has one of the coolest teachers.

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Once you get to Hogwarts, you’ll learn new spells and skills in classes like Defense Against the Dark Arts and Potions and Herbology. Crucially, the flow of missions gives you time to get comfortable with each new ability before introducing another – you’ll take a class and then use what you’ve learned on some story missions or side missions.

The game encourages you to use every tool in your arsenal, instead getting comfortable with a few basic combos and relying on them to get through each battle. You’ll play for a few hours before the skill trees unlock, but you’ll likely have a feel for your preferred fighting style by then. Everything you do also gives you experience points, so you’ll level up at a steady clip.

Dark wizards explode a student's shield with spells at Hogwarts Legacy

You will have plenty of options for offense and defense when you are dealing with dark wizards.

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There’s also a constant stream of new gear that will boost your attack and defense, as well as change your character’s appearance. You can also apply the look of any previous outfits to new ones, so you don’t get stuck looking silly just because a certain item has higher stats.

Annoyingly, inventory limits add undue friction to exploration – you can find new gear but not pick it up. It’s annoying having to quickly travel to Hogsmeade to sell excess stuff while walking around the castle. You can increase your inventory through certain side missions, at least.

Joyful school reunion

Fortunately, Hogwarts Legacy doesn’t lean too heavily into its school environment – you won’t have to stick to a strict schedule. Instead, you attend the class to advance the narrative and add new elements to the game rather than go because you have to.

The world opens up in a big way once you finish your first flying lesson and get your very own broom. There is a bit of a learning curve to rise above it all, but it is exhilarating and highlights the scope of the playing area.

Hogwarts Legacy evokes the same magic as the opening chapter of the first book, allowing you to explore a beautifully realized world, meet an impressive cast of characters and embark on your own career of magic. It’s the Harry Potter game fans have been dreaming of for decades.