The massive Harry Potter universe has been screaming for an open world role-playing game (RPG) for decades, and finally, it has arrived in the form of Hogwarts Legacy.
As a die-hard Harry Potter fan who’s grown up immersed in both the books and the movies, it’s not an exaggeration when I say that I’ve literally waited for years for this fateful day, where I can finally live out my dreams of being a witch in Hogwarts.
Developed by Avalanche Software and published by Warner Bros. Games, Hogwarts Legacy is an immersive, fully developed, open-world action RPG that’s set in the late 1800s, a century before the events of the Harry Potter books take place.
While you won’t be able to meet any of the iconic Harry Potter characters in this game, this is pretty much like a Harry Potter fanfiction dream that’s come to life. You play the role of a Fifth Year student who’s just been enrolled into the school, and apart from wielding ancient, powerful magic, your background is pretty mysterious too.
Just like Elden Ring, there are also multiple endings to the game, so it depends on the choices that you make as a witch or wizard— are you benevolent or evil? There are also exclusive areas and side quests that are determined by the house you choose. Gosh, so many choices!
Before I dive into the actual game play, Singapore gamers, note that Hogwarts Legacy is available on PC (via Steam and the Epic Games store for S$79.90), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X on 11 Feb 2023. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game will be available on 5 Apr 2023, while the Nintendo Switch version is targeted to be released on 26 Jul 2023.
As for myself, I managed to get my hands on the game by pre-ordering it for S$89.90 on Steam, which entitles me to 72 hours early access starting from 2am on 8 Feb 2023.
Just a word of advice to take into account timezone differences when it comes to version releases, as most information online will be catered towards U.S. time zones. Don’t be like some die-hard fans who’ve taken a day of leave from work to play the game, only to realise that it’s only available the next day!
From a fully actualised Hogwarts castle, complete with sprawling stone-cobbled corridors, faithfully re-enacted common rooms, secret passageways and even an Owlery, to the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, Hogwarts Legacy is the open world dream we’ve been waiting for.
As game director Alan Tew said in a recent game play showcase, “Everything that you see is a place that you can visit”, so be prepared to carve out some time to prowl the lovely etched out magical world of Hogwarts in all its amazing glory.
Similar to other open world games like Elden Ring, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet or even Genshin Impact, there’s a real joy in exploring such an expansive and detailed map— and all the more so when it belongs to a world that you’ve spent most of your teenage years fantasising about.
With intricate mechanics that require you to chain spells, dodge incoming attacks and even time your parries at the right time, Hogwarts Legacy truly put my wand work to the test. From mainstay spells like Expelliarmus or pulling enemies towards you with Accio, mastering the tricky process of spell-casting is one that’ll require plenty of experimentation.
Not to mention, having paid for the Dark Arts battle arena in the Deluxe Edition, you can bet I was really excited to finally be able to live out my evil Slytherin witch dreams at every turn, as the famous unforgivable curses are available in the game too.
As most Harry Potter fans are aware, there’s been massive talk about boycotting the game, especially in relation to J.K. Rowling’s controversial view on gender identity.
While Hogwarts Legacy has clarified that J.K. Rowling was not involved in the creation of the game, WB Games “closely collaborated with her team…to ensure it remains in line with the magical experiences fans expect”. Despite that, my view is pretty simple— it’s your money. Do what you want with it.
As for me, the lure of a fully actualised Hogwarts homecoming is too strong to resist, so for the next few days, you can find me right here, living out my long-awaited wizarding dream, one spell at a time.
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