Review: Hogwarts Legacy

Jackson Trotman, Staff

Hogwarts Legacy is a triple-A game set in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. However, the game takes place hundreds of years before the events of Harry Potter. You play as a new student attuned to “ancient magic” who is starting their fifth year of Hogwarts. You meet all kinds of teachers and staff ready to get you up to speed at your new magical school.  

You start your journey leaving your Muggle town in a flying carriage. This flying carriage ride stops midway, however, as a dragon swoops in and eats half the carriage. You and your professor then spend the rest of the game trying to find out more about the ancient magic and how to stop it.  Now that we got the setup out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks. Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers! 


After seeing an evil goblin named Ranrok and his two lackeys, Rookwood and Harlow, you run back to tell Professor Fig, your mentor at Hogwarts. The rest of the main storyline involves dealing with Ranrok, who leads an uprising against wizardkind. However, the story doesn’t do a lot of character development for Ranrok, Rookwood, or Harlow. There is information on these guys, but the main story generally treats them as one-dimensional “evil” characters. While there is some discourse about whether Ranrok is actually a bad guy, the storyline doesn’t tolerate any of those discussions.  

Outside of the main storyline, your teachers assign you coursework that you have to do to progress the main questline. These tasks can be anything from growing plants to fighting beasts for which you are rewarded with new spells to use in combat. You also befriend more side characters that have their own side quests to complete.  

While you do feel like a Hogwarts student near the beginning of the game, the flow of the story is strange. The pacing of the writing felt rushed at times whilst slow at other times. It also felt like things happened over a short amount of time, despite the game taking place over a year. Ranrok being defeated in such a short amount of time made the climax feel almost unearned or like Ranrok wasn’t a big deal. Once you make it about halfway through the story, you no longer really attend classes. Therefore, in the second half of the game, you don’t really feel like a Hogwarts student. 

But more of a problem than the actual story were the characters. During my playthrough of Hogwarts Legacy, none of the characters really felt human to me. The teachers, villains, and student friends were all pretty empty as far as likeability. I could never really form an attachment to any of the characters. None of them even really reacted when using “unforgivables,” all except for Slytherin’s Sebastian Sallow.  

Sebastian’s storyline felt more grounded, realistic, and consequential than the main storyline of the game. Everything that happened in this storyline was so immersive that it was hard to focus on the main storyline. Most of the rest of the game’s content fell short when held to the same standard as this questline. It is so distressing that the writers of the game are capable of such great writing but fell short of it everywhere else in the game.  

The problem with the empty characters is that their presence in the final mission where you fight alongside them is supposed to invoke a feeling of awe, but instead, it feels empty. Fig’s death is supposed to make you sad, but instead, it just feels…empty. For this, I will have to give the story and characters a 5/10. Sebastian’s story carried the rest of the game and characters. 

STORY: 5/10 


The gameplay is the most redeemable part of the game in my opinion. The combat in this game is very solid. Dodging, blocking, and attacking in this game flow very well and that is to be expected by the developer’s past works, including games like the Arkham series. The feeling of slinging spells is rock solid and spell combos are ingenious. Bringing in enemies with spells like Accio and then setting them on fire with Incendio in a combo feels fantastic. The number of combinations that players can make really flesh the game’s combat out. NPC fights, where an NPC fights alongside you, really feel great. Whilst they aren’t perfect in any sense, they worked well and felt good. 

While the combat is fun, the rest of the gameplay suffers from some questionable decisions. Some of the side mechanics of this world suffer from not being developed or “deep” enough. For example, potions and other usable items give buffs and other benefits while in combat. While this is cool, it doesn’t add a lot for the player to do. In an RPG, characters should be able to spec a build around any part of the game they favor. In Hogwarts Legacy, they cannot make a botanist build or a beast-tamer build. This could be rushed development as other parts of the game hint at. Speculation has been stirring about whether or not Quidditch was intended to be a part of this game as some players have found cut content relating to the game.  

The last core part of gameplay that I would like to cover is the skill tree mechanics. Finding field guide papers hidden throughout the world, defeating enemies, and completing quests reward the player with XP, which can be used to level your character. Each time you level, you get a point that players can use towards new abilities. While this isn’t revolutionary, it is serviceable, and it lets players prioritize different skills that help them embrace their build. For example, dark wizards can use curses in combat. The main critique with leveling in this game is that it unlocks at level 7, which is relatively late in the game. It also leaves a rather slow feeling to an already slow beginning, due to the pacing issues mentioned earlier. 

The inventory is also a mess. The menu system in this game takes a long time to run through animations and controller players will feel the delay in every menu. This wouldn’t be such a huge issue if the game didn’t give you a new piece of gear for every other enemy. This fills your inventory slots incredibly fast, and players have to continually throw out old gear in the inventory. The game also features a transmog system, so players can wear whatever gear they want. However, you have to reset the attire options each time you get a new piece of armor, which includes a dreaded trip to the inventory menu at least every 10 minutes, depending on what you are doing in the game.  

GAMEPLAY: 8.5/10 

Concluding thoughts and FINAL REVIEW: 

Overall, Hogwarts Legacy is an ambitious game that has given us our best ever look at Hogwarts in a game yet. However, its rushed production and development led to some writing shortfalls and some gameplay promises left unfulfilled. The story has its moments and Sebastian’s story is some of the best in fiction. Combined with tight, fulfilling combat, this game has a lot going for it. However, the negatives leave most people wanting more. The empty open world contrasted with an amazing Hogwarts definitely hurts its rating.  

Final conclusion: 7.5/10. Great for HP fans, but most gamers will want to wait for this to be on sale before purchasing.