Hogwarts Legacy: The game does what the book couldn't

Photo: Collected

In the last 10 years, the arena of video gaming has taken a drastic leap forward, incorporating better graphics, combat systems, game engines—sometimes even stories—and so much more.

This change in scenario has paved the way for games that can deliver a more immersive player experience, particularly when it comes to adapting a world or universe from an existing medium like TV or books.

Hogwarts Legacy is the most recent example of this phenomenon, really showcasing the endless possibilities open to game developers when they have a rich and diverse universe where they can dip their toes into.

Developed by Avalanche Software and published by Warner Bros. Games, Hogwarts Legacy (HL) was officially announced back in 2020, with the game being in development since 2018. Set in the Harry Potter universe, which many of us have a nostalgic attachment to even today, HL's timeline is around the 1800s period, some 100 odd years before Harry would first step foot in Hogwarts.

Your character, who you can fully modify in line with whatever takes your fancy, is a brand new student in the school for wizards and witches. However, the plot twist is that you join Hogwarts as a fifth year student. Right from the get go, it is quite obvious that even without ever having been to Hogwarts, your character is quite skillful with their use of magic.

At the start of the game, you have the option to choose your own house and wand. You can play through a short quiz in the game or connect your Wizarding World account to be provided with the house and wand you were assigned in the app.

Depending on your house choice, you will be receiving exclusive missions that cannot otherwise be unlocked. So, for example, as a Slytherin student, you cannot access the Gryffindor exclusive questlines.

The two categories where Hogwarts Legacy really shines are the environment and game mechanics. For those who have played the original Harry Potter games, in particular Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you will definitely feel a hint of nostalgia. The Prisoner of Azkaban game was released in 2004 and is still remembered by many for being one of, if not the best, Harry Potter game.

This 2004 game was loved by fans (including myself) for almost the same reasons that Hogwarts Legacy is receiving praise and adoration from fans of the franchise.

In terms of environments, the developer has done an excellent job of emulating the castle of Hogwarts. There is no doubt that this version of Hogwarts is grander than any game or even movie in the past. Just exploring the castle alone can take hours for the player. But even better is the fact that you are not restricted to just the school. Areas like the Forbidden Forest, Hogsmeade, and other lesser known areas south of Hogwarts are also available to explore, each with their own side quests and fights.

Speaking about combat, HL possibly has the best iteration of a magic combat system we have ever seen. You can learn spells from classes and side quests, eventually putting them to the test in real battles against dark wizards and beasts.

Probably the best part is the fact that you get to decide what kind of wizard you want to be. Do you want to be a goody two-shoes who does everything by the book, or a future dark wizard in the making? The choice is up to you.

When you pair the wonderful combat with the breathtaking environment in HL, you're already in for a treat. However, there's even more. You can attend classes, brew potions, catch and raise magical beasts, grow your own plans for potions ingredients, just to name a few.

Now, the author of this beloved book series has left many longtime fans disappointed. Her opinions in regards to the transgender community have resulted in many disavowing her and the books they grew up loving.

Hogwarts Legacy strays far away from sharing her ideologies. For once, the Harry Potter universe has characters who are from the LGBTQ+ community. There are also characters of Asian descent who don't have culturally ignorant or appropriated names. For the most part, characters are referred to as 'they' instead of with gendered pronouns. So, credit must be given to the creators for trying to establish an inclusive environment.

Overall, Hogwarts Legacy has been a truly wonderful experience to witness. For long time fans of the Harry Potter franchise, it has always been a dream to study at Hogwarts. With HL this dream can close to reality.

Aaqib Hasib is a sub-editor at The Daily Star. Reach him at [email protected]



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