Updated: Jun 15
An early access review for the highly anticipated Hogwarts Legacy. Hogwarts Legacy fully releases for PC, PS5, and XBOX series X on February 10th.
Gameplay Summary and Video:
Hogwarts Legacy is the newest single player action roleplaying game set in the Harry Potter universe. Hogwarts Legacy has been in the making for a long time and it puts players directly into the wizarding world as a new student attending Hogwarts in a timeline that takes place over a hundred years before the events of the Harry Potter series. Players will follow an new original story as well as have freedom to explore the world, take classes, interact with students, solve mysteries and puzzles, and a bunch more. This review will be looking at my experience so far with the early access launch of the game and what I have enjoyed and the problems I have had in the time I have had with the game so far.
Below is some early access gameplay for Hogwarts Legacy. This scene takes part early on in the game. For those who would like to experience it for themselves, Hogwarts Legacy fully releases on 2/10 here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/990080/Hogwarts_Legacy/.
Visuals and Performance: Let's jump right into the review by starting off with the visuals and the performance of the game as a whole. Games are highly criticized nowadays for releasing with a lot of visual and performance issues and while Hogwarts Legacy does definitely impress in some of these facets, the early access release of the game has its fair share of problems. From the time I have had with the game I have experienced visual bugs and framerate issues that have disrupted my immersion in the game a bit while running the game on a fairly high end PC. No game is ever optimized perfectly and it definitely isn't as much of a problem like in past releases like Cyberpunk 2077 and the nightmare of that release but it does leave something to be desired as the game was delayed a few times. That being said, once I found the settings that worked best I was able to avoid issues for a majority of my playtime and the visuals overall are striking and really do make the player feel immersed in the wizarding world. There are a few facial animations, etc. that do leave a bit to be desired but overall the game is beautiful when it is running at its peak and hopefully some patches will come out early on to help performance issues and really push the immersive wizarding experience to the next level.
Gameplay and Content: The content and gameplay are really what push this game to the next level. The amount of content stuffed into just the world alone, whether it be side quest, puzzles, student interactions, etc., really make the player feel like they are attending Hogwarts and uncovering new interesting experiences at every turn. Then comes the main story and so far from what I have played, it is a blast. The story is intriguing and provides shocking twists and turns as it enfolds. Content only goes so far in an action RPG if the gameplay and combat are dull and Hogwarts Legacy delivers action packed combat that keeps the player on the edge of their seat as well as gameplay and mechanics outside of combat that help build the world and allow the character to interact with it. So far I have played for over 10 hours and from the progress tracking tools it seems as though I have not even scratched the surface. When it comes to content and gameplay, Hogwarts Legacy delivers almost exactly what players were hoping for.
Difficulty: Difficulty can be a touch subject with modern games where it is hard to find a balance. Casual players will be daunted by challenging gameplay where as if a game is too oversimplified hardcore players will mock the game and compare it to child's play. Hogwarts Legacy hits the sweet spot by offering multiple difficulty options as well as having unique combat, puzzles, and mysteries that challenge both the players skill and mind. The game can be fairly challenging but in no way that a casual player will become frustrated and give up. The challenge and freedom in the game allow for so many different playstyles and really provide a great balance for all types of players.
Overall Summary and Final Score: Hogwarts Legacy delivers something new and exciting but is held back a bit by optimization and visual issues. The game is in no way perfect but is 100% a step in the right direction for games to come that are set in the wizarding world. This game shows great promise and also allows for a pretty damn awesome gaming experience. I hope these optimization and bug issues can be solved in the future but will most definitely be soaking a bunch more hours into the game either way. The game also thrives in that it is a whole new setting and doesn't simply piggyback off the previous works set in the universe of Harry Potter. I would recommend doing some research before purchasing but also suggest definitely giving Hogwarts Legacy a thought as it has a lot of promise and provides a great gaming experience overall. Thanks for reading and feel free to share your experience with Hogwarts Legacy in the comments.