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Under the spell of ‘Hogwarts Legacy’

| Monday, February 20, 2023

Meg Hammond | The Observer

I can attest to being an extreme “Harry Potter” fan — I have the posters in my sixth-grade bedroom and have spent an absurd amount of time on WizardingWorld.comAs a frequent video game player, I can definitely say that I have been waiting on a decent “Harry Potter” game for many years. Though it’s arguable that the LEGO games fulfilled all our hopes and dreams, many were thrilled once “Hogwarts Legacy” was announced. A chance for Warner Bros. to make even more money and exploit my childhood nostalgia? Sign me up. 

The game is set far before Harry and his friends attend Hogwarts. Instead, the player takes on the role of a new fifth-year student sometime around the 1890s. It’s important to note that while many (including myself) have been appalled by J.K. Rowling’s rampant transphobia, “Hogwarts Legacy” is much more diverse with an array of characters hailing from around the world, including a trans character and a lesbian side-character in the first few hours of gameplay.

It’s hard to not love the magic of the game immediately. With an incredibly detailed Hogwarts castle as your sandbox and an array of magical spells to use on a whim, how can you not get sucked into the world right awat? You even get to choose your Hogwarts house! (Yes, I will be playing it at least four times to experience all four.) While the gameplay experience doesn’t change an extreme amount depending on your house, there are some minute differences. Mainly, your house distinguishes your best friend.

That being said, the magic in “Hogwarts Legacy” is slightly surface-level. While the broom-flying is mesmerizing at first, it doesn’t stay that way; this seems to be a common theme throughout the game. The main character is shallowly designed and easily replaceable. Although the game gives players an array of methods to fight opponents in challenging combat, the mechanics get slightly repetitive. There are many different, exciting ways to disarm an opponent: slowing them with ice, shooting them away with an explosion spell and even the notorious “Avada Kedava” killing spell. However, these options slowly get repetitive and less user-friendly, as the game consistently switches out the spells possible to use. While there are many enemies to fight, be prepared to deal with intense arachnophobia with the number of spiders the game sends after you. 

Also, you will be going through the awkward teenage phase of not being able to dress right. But instead of enduring the shame of layered tank tops and skinny capris, your character will be given an array of pantaloons, scarves and glasses to increasingly bring down their ego. Though fashion is a minor element, be prepared to not be able to take yourself seriously at any point. 

However, aside from the few downfalls, the game has left many glued to their controllers for a reason. With an expansive open world to explore — from the castle grounds, forest and the towns around it — you certainly will be satisfied with the scenery. Though the plot isn’t life-changing, it remains entertaining enough for at least a second playthrough.

And you fight dragons, so what more can you really ask for? 


Title: “Hogwarts Legacy”

Starring: Sebastian Croft, Amelia Gething

Creator: Avalanche Software, Portkey Games

If you liked: “Harry Potter” 

Shamrocks: 3.5 out of 5

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