Hogwarts Legacy must have cast an enchantment spell on me during Sony’s State of Play event because I’m utterly spellbound by how good it looks.
My interest in Harry Potter petered out shortly after the release of the third book, The Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s not because I didn’t like the books, I place the blame solely on the shoulders of the film adaptations. The Harry Potter in my head was usurped by the bad acting of a young Daniel Radcliffe and co. and I’ve never been able to shift their portrayals since.
So I didn’t expect to have anything but a passing interest in Hogwarts Legacy but I was drawn in by its richly-detailed world, the magical combat mechanics, and RPG systems on show. The State of Play lifted the petrification curse that hit my heart many years ago.
Hogwarts Legacy is the reinvigoration tonic that I’ve been waiting for. I’m excited to rediscover what has always been a fascinating wizarding world, and one that has never been presented so intricately before. From exploring the labyrinthine halls of Hogwarts itself with all its secret nooks and crannies to hopping on a broom and soaring through the sky, Hogwarts Legacy is so densely populated with things to do I can only imagine how excited diehard Potter fans must be.
Even the game’s combat, an area that I was sure would be a stumbling block, appears to be slick, engaging, and – as you’d probably expect – rather magical. You can slam enemies into the ground repeatedly like something out of a cartoon sketch, brew stat-enhancing potions to deliver more damage, burn foes to a cinder with scorching fire attacks, and unleash a firework display of spells from your wand like it’s Chinese New Year. It’s quite the spectacle.
I was also surprised to hear that you can actually kill people in Hogwarts Legacy. The Killing Curse spell is included in the game, which isn't something I expected in a franchise that’s as family-friendly as Harry Potter. I’m not a sadist or anything – it’s not like I’m desperate to shank Bowser with a star in the next Super Mario game – but knowing the developer Avalanche Software isn’t afraid to lean into the darker side of the source material has me intrigued.
You’re a wizard, Adam
Crucially, though, Harry and the rest of his other affluent child-star actors are nowhere to be seen in Hogwarts Legacy. It’s a clean break from the films and books in many respects, as the game is set in the late 1800s and features a unique story that doesn’t require any past knowledge to take part.
Hogwarts Legacy also lets you create your own wizard, an important step that will let you immerse yourself in the world, and you can define your combat style by choosing what talents and skills to unlock. That alone is a huge boon, and judging by the gameplay trailer we saw, your created character won’t look out of place among the rest of the game’s cast.
Perhaps Hogwarts Legacy’s greatest strength, however, is just how dense and detailed the world is. There are magical beasts to find, mystical threats to combat, secret areas to discover, and even dynamic seasons to mark the changing season of the school year as you potter around Hogwarts’ grounds. It’s staggering how much content Avalanche Software has packed into the game – there’s more to consume here than what you’d find in Hogwarts’ Great Hall during dinner – and nothing looked out of place or needlessly shoed in.
I was Ron
Hogwarts Legacy still has a lot to prove: a carefully put-together trailer isn’t indicative of the final game, but it’s undeniably full of promise. I’m still taken aback by how polished everything appeared, and it definitely looks like a game that will be best enjoyed with all the bells and whistles present on PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Like your character in Hogwarts Legacy, who joins the wizarding school at an older age, this muggle has some catching up to do when it comes to Harry Potter. (I also really want to ride a Griffin.)