5 Things Hogwarts Legacy Does Well & 5 Things It Could Have Done Better
The good, the bad, and the Riddikulus.
The highly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy has gone above and beyond with its convivial gameplay style and stupendous arrangement of classic architecture from the series’ books and films. But, of course, not everything can be perfect, as there are a few aspects that fall short of expectations. That said, we’ll look at the game as a whole with five things Hogwarts Legacy does well and five things it could have done better.
Does Well: Bringing the Harry Potter World to Life
One of the most extraordinary factors of Hogwarts Legacy is its magnificent re-imagination of the vast Harry Potter universe, from the famous castle grounds to the cozy village of Hogsmeade. Longtime fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy seeing all the familiar structures, as well as meeting relatives of beloved characters. On top of that, players will encounter various types of magic around every corner, such as the moving Grand Staircase, talking portraits, and vibrant flora.
Sometimes, you’ll discover or hear about Easter Eggs from the series, like the Follow the Butterflies quest, which is a nod to Ron Weasley’s iconic line in the Chamber of Secrets.
Does Well: Fun Combat Gameplay
Instead of simple button-smashing gameplay, Hogwarts Legacy features an extremely fun spell-casting mechanic, where players must strategize to defeat fierce enemies. Not only can you inflict damage with Confringo or Expelliarmus, but you can also fly your opponents up in the air with Levioso or slam them to the ground with Descendo. Therefore, each battle will play out differently, depending on the Spell Set you choose as you progress further in the game.
At the same time, players can increase the thrill by earning an achievement in the Dueling Feats, an optional combat challenge that tests your magical abilities. In particular, you can initiate the ultimate Ancient Magic attack to get rid of a foe during battle, resulting in rewards for your exceptional triumph.
Does Well: Endless Tasks and Challenges
To say that there’s a lot to do in Hogwarts Legacy is definitely an understatement since there is an overwhelming amount of tasks and challenges that you can complete throughout your adventures. While out on the town, you’ll become lost in the immersive world filled with main missions, sub-stories, adorable beasts, treasure vaults, trials, and many more.
At Hogwarts, players can become a scavenger and look for the Daedalian Keys or focus on their students by finishing their assignments. Then, you can venture further to the marvelous coast to capture animals, get rid of enemy bases, and become a flying master with aerial trials. There’s also more content to explore in the Challenges section, providing you with upgrades and cosmetics to prepare you for your journey.
Does Well: Vast Open-World
Hogwarts, on its own, is an intricately designed maze with many hidden rooms and places to discover, yet just when you think you’ve seen it all, you’ll see that the map expands further with its multiple regions. One minute you’ll travel around the north side to venture around the Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade, and North Ford Bog. Next, you’ll find yourself in an entirely different area down south to visit the Clagmar Coast or uncover the location of majestic beasts like the Phoenix or the Lord of the Shore.
The possibilities almost seem limitless thanks to the expansive range of the map, and it will take some time to navigate the whole world in its entirety.
Does Well: Different House Storylines
The four houses of Hogwarts –Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and Hufflepuff– feature unique narratives to personalize each journey for the player, including home bases and quests. While Slytherin’s common room displays a dark and mysterious ambiance, Hufflepuff’s destination primarily consists of lively plants and earthy colors. As for the storyline, each house has its own set of missions, such as The Hunt for the Missing Pages saga from Gryffindor and Ollivander’s Heirloom tale from Ravenclaw.
Depending on which house a player is in, certain characters from rival groups can react differently toward them. For instance, those who are in Gryffindor can run into a debacle with Slytherin students, where they may come off as pompous. Alternatively, if you get sorted into Slytherin instead, these characters will now be friendly to you right from the start, demonstrating the uniqueness of every group.
Done Better: Social Interactions
Besides the educational aspect, school life is all about friendships and the relationships you make along the way. However, Hogwarts Legacy rather lacks in this department since social opportunities are somewhat absent when it comes to those who aren’t part of main or side missions. Of course, you will get to befriend some students, like Sebastian Sallow and Natsai Onai, but aside from them, you can’t interact with anyone else.
As a result, it does make the school environments feel isolating, considering that players can’t converse with all their classmates. Even a subtle “Hello” or “Goodbye” option could go a long way and bring some life to the surprisingly dull NPCs.
Done Better: Impactful Choices
Although Hogwarts Legacy includes a plethora of choice-based dialogue scenes, these decisions don’t necessarily affect the storyline, given that most of these instances typically have the same end result. More specifically, when you select “evil” talking points, you’ll notice that there aren’t consequences for these actions, and you’ll still come out as the hero of the story, despite being a terror to your fellow classmates and teachers.
You can also see an excellent example of this with the usage of Dark Arts spells, including the deadly Unforgivable Curses, a magical ability forbidden in the Harry Potter universe. Yet, somehow a fifth-year Hogwarts student can freely cast the Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra, without any negative impact and continue their studies as if nothing happened.
Done Better: Fashion
Regarding Hogwarts Legacy’s fashion collection, the clothing options are somewhat of a letdown due to the scarcity of colorful options and odd choices in cosmetics. Considering that your gear is crucial for your stats, you’ll often be left with an absurd wardrobe layout with a goofy hat, whimsical glasses, and a bland robe that basically look like they came from your grandmother’s closet. Not that there’s nothing anything wrong with that, but we can’t forget that it is, in fact, a young and hip Hogwarts student rather than an old-school teacher.
Fortunately, players can transmog these unusual cosmetics with their desired selection, where there are a few fun outfits, like Hogsmeade’s Zonko’s Chief Prankster ensemble or Ron Weasley’s recognizable Fashionable Dress Robes from the Yule Ball. Nonetheless, despite the inclusion of these garments, there could still be an improvement in the fashion department to create a more personalized experience for each player.
Done Better: Switching Spells
Despite the entertainment value of combat, the spell-switching system can be tiresome when you need to alternate with attacks or other techniques repeatedly. For example, when you complete a puzzle, you’ll often have to defeat an enemy shortly after, forcing you to switch your setup for a fight. Or, even when a player prepares for a specific adventure, there will be a random occurrence that requires a particular spell.
Although you can customize multiple Spell Sets later on with the Core Talent points, it still doesn’t cover every type of situation, regardless of your preparations.
Done Better: Lack of School Discipline
Based on the books and films, the Harry Potter gang has received their fair share of punishment for delinquent activities, whether it be traveling around after hours or entering forbidden areas. On the other hand, Hogwarts Legacy seems to have no rules or boundaries set in place, giving players the freedom to do whatever they want without any consequences. Yes, Professor Weasley may have expressed her concerns about these naughty occurrences, yet it doesn’t prohibit you from doing such things, nor does it negatively affect your performance at school.
Without school discipline, the educational side takes a hit and feels more or less like a side story rather than a crucial part of the game. It could help if Hogwarts Legacy includes features from Rockstar’s Bully, given that there is a strict curfew and penalties for truancy. Nevertheless, since the game is just getting started, we could anticipate some changes with future updates and DLCs that could address these issues, increasing its potential of becoming one of the best games of 2023.
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