The main story of the game starts off with us being a new student at Hogwarts, entering as a 5th-year. To catch up we've been given The Wizard's Field Guide which includes all the information about the wizarding world anyone could need including spells, creatures, potions, and other important information. As we continue our education at Hogwarts, we discover various goings-on in the magical world. The goblin loyalists are uprising and attacking wizards, poachers are out snatching up magical creatures en masse, and your ability to see hints of ancient magic has excited your Magical Theory professor, Professor Fig. The writing for all of it is clean and simple, and wonderfully fitting in the wizarding world we all grew up adoring, all brought to us by a wonderfully skilled writing team. Though easy to spoil, so instead we shall simply give it a +1 and let you experience it yourselves!
The lore of Hogwarts Legacy is beautifully and faithfully tied with the lore of the books. The game's story on the Goblin Rebellion is a wonderful focus on an oft-mentioned but little-explored piece of history in the Harry Potter universe. Exploring the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was filled not only with a wonderful sense of nostalgia, but a wonderfully curated sense of wonder and whimsy. Every wonderfully animated detail on the grounds from the shifting statues to the articulate artworks that line the halls and even the random chatter from passerby witches and wizards is filled to the brim with explorable lore that delves deep into the past and present of this wizarding world. +1
The characters themselves are colorful, dynamic, and diverse, from the joyful child-at-heart that is our Charms Professor Abraham Ronen to our hard-worn and stern Potions Professor Aesop Sharp, who presents very much like Professor Severus Snape. Even the player character is wonderfully written on both sides of the spectrum, whether you play a dark witch or wizard, or a friendly and supportive hero. Our playthroughs found that both are well-written and have consequences for them both that are fun and enjoyable for those who like a world that reacts to you instead of with you. +1
The Dialogue of the game was written cleanly and with all the snark, sass, and character of the books, faithfully capturing the general attitude and behavior of everyone from the books and movies. All the characters are fun to talk to and play around with. +1
The game's themes are simple and inoffensive, a charming tale of good vs. evil as would be familiarly told by the novels themselves. The plethora of side quests that go alongside the 30+ hour main quest, each has their own charming little setup and theme set, though the tone is repeated. +1
The game's controls feel solid and respond quickly when you need them to while still leaving the impression of weight, even when using magic such as Wingardium Leviosa which allows you to levitate objects. Dodging, parrying, and guarding all feel well-designed. Using brooms feels weighty and sluggish, but not negatively, instead, it feels like you are giving control to the broom as an inexperienced flyer, and the flying experience is enhanced with it. Our only real complaint would have to be the Quick-Time Event button mashers that are spell collisions, which shouldn't work to begin with, considering the lore behind the mid-combat phenomenon. Altogether though, between the majority of our time being fighting and exploring and the short time we spent decorating our Room of Requirement, we had a blast altogether.+1
The world, and its areas of interest, are designed faithfully and flush with lovely detail and items to explore. From illusory walls to hidden rooms and caverns, the world is flush with engaging distractions and diversions. When not hunting down secrets, the town of Hogsmeade and the School Grounds of Hogwarts are fun to stroll through and listen to the sounds of. +1
In our playthroughs, we barely managed to scrape the surface of the content, from filling out our Room of Requirement to maxing out our potions and spells or filling out our collection of the various magical beasts of the Harry Potter universe and all the benefits of having them brings. From the various poacher camps to goblin rebel hideouts, there's plenty to do, including various secrets hidden in Hogwarts castle's massive grounds. There's also a massive amount of collectibles from wand parts to clothing and accessories to gussy up your witch or wizard. +1
Replayability is there, which is new for an Open World Action RPG! From good vs. evil routes, 4 different houses, and a plethora of quests for each of those houses we find that you can run through the game a good 8 times at the least and with that have 100s of hours of gameplay. This clutches Hogwarts Legacy a +1 in the very challenging Replayability score.
Mechanically the game is simple, using Alohamora engages a lock-picking mini-game, leveling up Alohamora doesn't do anything to change this game, however, only what doors you can access. The flight mechanics on beasts or brooms are fairly similar and offer a solid way to quickly traverse the magical world. When learning new spells from classes you often take part in mini-games, literally when you take a charms class with Professor Ronen, these are fun to do and add a twist on picking up skills, which is well in line with the Harry Potter series. When in combat, combining various spells for powerful attack strings is amazingly fun to experiment with. For all this hard work, a wonderful +1 to Hogwarts Legacy.
The game's musical and graphical styling is chock-full of character and follows the movies and books so closely that it is an absolute treat for fans of the Harry Potter universe. Every animation is full of character, the wand flicks and waves are sassy and confident, and the spells themselves are sharp and colorful but do not overpower the screen. +1
The game's music practically belongs in the movies, including the opening theme jingle that plays when we pick up field guide pages and other collectibles. When in combat and when taking a relaxing jaunt through the world, the game's lovable orchestral pieces that add to the atmosphere of the game. The spells used and the animations, match closely to the movies as well, though with some twists to accommodate the needs of the interactive medium.
Graphically, the game is beautiful even in Fidelity mode, though we saw a few issues. There were major pop-ins that were visible to the player, during intense scenes there were some frame drops that hurt the experience fairly heavily, and the loading times for doors were inconsistent, sometimes even hanging up on themselves. The cloak had issues here and there, in all our experiences we've never seen a game get cloaks, capes, or robes right, so we aren't going to knock them for not being perfect. Overall, a +1 for their accuracy and work with such a visually stunning game having only these few issues, which may very well be fixed with the Day 1 patch.
The game utilizes its score, animation, and actors masterfully. The soundtrack is actually split up to be dynamic, changing depending on what you're doing. The animations, as mentioned earlier, are full of character and sass but are also wonderfully timed and work wonderfully as you need to use them. These all mesh so wonderfully together that we don't even notice them if we aren't actively looking for them. +1
The game's sound is wonderful, the bangs and crackles of spells, the chatter, sneers, jeers, and cheers of enemies and friends. The wonderful music when you travel the world, and the wind in your ears as you fly around on your broom. All of this cumulates into an amazing audial experience that submerses you into the wizarding world even further. +1
Another victory of Hogwarts Legacy is the camera which unobtrusively tails the main character from the right, with the Field-of-View adjustment allowing us to see even more of the world as we travel. Thinking ahead they also gave us the adjuster for Blur and Depth-of-Field, normally obnoxious post-processing effects that are rarely used properly, which can't be said for Hogwarts Legacy which uses these effects amazingly. +1
Final Result 5/5
It is no surprise that, with a 5/5 in all 3 categories, Hogwarts Legacy has achieved the illustrious Must-Play title. The game provides an amazing experience that should be enjoyed by fans of Harry Potter and anyone else alike! We'll be releasing a video