As you probably know, Hogwarts Legacy was officially released on February 10, 2023. It was one of the most anticipated games of the year! It was advertised as an open-world action-adventure RPG game set in the Harry Potter universe in the 1800s. Indeed, the promises are numerous, which has made the gaming community, but also the fans of the Harry Potter franchise, tremble in expectation. This is certainly one of the most ambitious games in the franchise. Will the game meet fans’ expectations?
Hogwarts Legacy is set in the wizarding world of the 1890s. Thus, this happens before Harry Potter and before Fantastic Beasts. This gives developers more freedom. Indeed, J. K. Rowling provides us with little information about this time period, but the developers still respected the few details they had in order to be consistent with the universe of the license. The historical context has been respected, since it takes place during the Goblin Revolution evoked at various times in Harry Potter, especially in the history of magic. Here, our main enemy will be the goblin Ranrock, who is leading the goblin revolution. In this game, we play as a student from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry entering fifth grade. The open world will allow us to explore Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and the Scottish Highlands. Our main quest will be to discover the secret of ancient magic at the origin of the wizarding world and Hogwarts itself.
The open world
Unfortunately for fans of the saga, we can’t explore Diagon Alley or the Ministry of Magic. The game is intended to take place in an open world and is therefore focused on Hogwarts and its surroundings in the Scottish Highlands. The map is very extensive and satisfies our taste for exploration. Hogsmeade has all the shops we need, so there is no explicit need for Diagon Alley anyways. It is also possible to shop from various street vendors and small shops in the Highlands. Indeed, we can discover several small villages during our explorations. It is also nice to see the world evolve through the seasons and during the cycles of day and night. This adds a real plus to our gaming experience. Being able to fly over all these landscapes on a broom or magical creature is also a real pleasure. Indeed, the developers have done a huge amount of work on the world, and we are amazed.
The most famous school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world is obviously at the heart of this game whose objective is to make us live a new experience of student life within Hogwarts. We can see all the work that has been done and we can only be dazzled. Many details and references will satisfy fans of the franchise. Players will be able to participate in courses, perform various quests, and develop friendships. The game highlights the mystery that lies at the heart of this school. This will allow us to discover secret places and solve puzzles. We will be able to find the emblematic places of Hogwarts such as the Great Hall, the Room of Requirement, the common rooms, the headmaster’s office, the dungeons, the Great Moving Staircases and many others. The developers’ rendering of Hogwarts is extremely faithful. They really relied on the franchise to meet the expectations of connoisseurs and we are not disappointed! Not to mention the beauty and atmosphere that are rendered as well. Many fans feel that the school of witchcraft is better represented in the game than in the movies! We also particularly appreciate the interaction we can have with our environment. Indeed, we can interact with certain objects that will start moving, including the living portraits characteristic of the wizarding world.
As a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the player character is assigned to one of the four iconic houses during the unmissable Sorting Hat Ceremony! The game offers us beforehand the opportunity to take the Sorting Hat test on the official website and thus to know which house we belong to according to our personality. This allows you to link your WB Games and Harry Potter Fan Club accounts. The player can also choose the house of their choice. The developers have also made the wise choice to put four save slots to allow players to experience the adventure with the four houses. Indeed, it will determine certain aspects of the game such as your common room, the appearance of your equipment, certain dialogues, but also the relationships with specific NPCs. Your house will also give you access to an exclusive quest. On the other hand, this choice will not have a decisive impact on the storyline.
The experience according to your house
Gryffindor favors the bold
This is the most famous house of the franchise because it is that of Harry Potter, but also that of his entourage composed of Ron and Hermione, the Weasley family, but also the great Albus Dumbledore! Founded by Godric Gryffindor, it is associated with courage, strength and determination. Its colors are red and gold and it is represented by a lion. The associated element is fire and its artifact is the Sword of Gryffindor. We are familiar with the Gryffindor Common Room because Harry and his friends spend much of their time there. In the game, it is very well represented and there is a welcoming atmosphere with its dominance of warm colors and fireplaces. The player can see the emblematic ghost of the Nearly-Headless-Nick house and access the common room through the portrait of the fat lady, an essential element of the saga. If you do not belong to Gryffindor and you try to enter, the fat lady will lecture you using some very colorful language worthy of her stature. The player can also bond with some classmates such as Garreth Weasley (nephew of Professor Weasley), Nellie Oggspire and Cressida Blume. They will also have the opportunity to spend more time with Natasi Onai, one of the main characters of the game.
Slytherin for the ambitious
Slytherin is the second best-known house in the franchise, but not for the right reasons. Indeed, he is associated with dark mages such as Voldemort and his death eaters and Draco Malfoy. Slytherins are known for their cunning and boundless ambition, sometimes even at the expense of morality. The founder is Salazar Slytherin, also founder of the Chamber of Secrets and ancestor of Voldemort. Its colors are green and silver and its representative animal is the snake. The associated element is water and its artifact is the Slytherin medallion. We see the Slytherin common room in the second installment of the saga, when Ron and Harry enter it in the form of Malfoy’s two sidekicks. It is also very well described in the seventh book. In the game, its representation is very faithful. There is a rather dark and mysterious atmosphere. It is essentially composed of stone and little ornamented. Located in the dungeons under the lake, the room allows you to admire the depths of the lake through its large windows. After casting a spell on one of the windows, we can see the giant squid. The room is accessed through a hidden door that is revealed by the undulations of a snake, a very pleasant animation. The player can meet Slytherin’s iconic ghost, the Bloody Baron. We also learn that the very famous Merlin belonged to this house. The player can also bond with some comrades such as Ominis Gaunt (ancestor of Voldemort, descendant of Slytherin), Imelda Reyes and Sebastian Sallow. Sebastian is one of the defining NPCs of the game.
Ravenclaw for scholars
Ravenclaw is associated with intelligence, wisdom and creativity. Ravenclaw students have a reputation for being brilliant and curious, as well as dreamers. Some can even be qualified as eccentric! Known characters in the saga associated with Ravenclaw are Luna Lovegood, Cho Chang, Filius Flitwick, Sybill Trelawney and Ollivander. Many Hogwarts alumni have revolutionized the magical world. This is the case of Ignatia Wildsmith, who invented the floo powder. Her statue will be very present in the game at the different teleportation points. The founder is Rowena Ravenclaw. It is also said that it is also at the origin of the moving stairs and the room on request. Its colors are blue and bronze and its representative animal is the eagle. The associated element is air and its artifact is the Ravenclaw diadem. The player can see his iconic ghost, the Grey Lady, who is none other than Helena Ravenclaw, the daughter of the founder. In the books, the common room is accessible by answering a riddle facing the knocker representing an eagle. In the game there is an animation of a large rotating eagle statue, giving us access to the common room. The appearance of Ravenclaw’s common room is described in the books at the end of the seventh volume. It is here very faithfully represented with a celestial theme, a starry blue ceiling and a rather refined environment. The large statue of the founder sits within this place.
Hufflepuff for the loyal
Hufflepuff is associated with loyalty, patience and humility. They are certainly the most inclusive with the most beautiful moral qualities. Well-known characters in the saga associated with Hufflepuff are Cedric Diggory, Nymphadora Tonks and Newt Scamander. The founder is Helga Hufflepuff. It is deduced that it would also be at the origin of the great hall. Its colors are yellow and black and its representative animal is the badger. The associated element is earth and its artifact is the Hufflepuff Cup. We can see his emblematic ghost, “The fat monk”. For the first time in the Harry Potter universe, fans have the joy of discovering the Hufflepuff common room. Indeed, she is not represented in the saga, because Harry never had the opportunity to enter. We only know that it is located in the basement near the kitchens and that, to enter it, you have to type with the right rhythm on a barrel. Anyone who does not respect this rhythm is sprayed with vinegar. This is also the case in the game: if you do not belong to this house and you try to enter it, your character will be sprayed. We also know that the room is supposed to be inspired by a badger burrow with a warm atmosphere. The game seems to fully meet this challenge. The common room is beautifully represented with a very vegetal and warm atmosphere testifying to the love of nature associated with breath beanbags.
Characters from the saga
We will have the joy of finding some characters or ancestors of the characters present in the Harry Potter saga.
Phineas Nigellus Black
The school’s headmaster, Phineas Nigellus Black, Sirius Black’s great-great-grandfather, had a reputation as the most hated headmaster in Hogwarts history. Indeed, like the majority of Blacks, he comes from House Slytherin and swears by the purity of blood. He did not like to teach and did not support students, whom he described as impertinent. He accepted the position of director for prestige. His portrait is present in books, in Albus Dumbledore’s office and in the Black residence at 12 Square Grimaud. He interacts several times with Harry Potter and is used by Dumbledore to send messages to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. In the game, Director Black is unsympathetic and self-centered. He seems to care more about himself than the issues facing the wizarding world in his time. He will be uncooperative with the player’s character and will not help him complete his quest.
In Hogwarts Legacy, Matilda Wealsey is the school’s vice-principal. She reminds us of Professor McGonagald. Indeed, it teaches metamorphosis and it is respected, firm, but fair. She is responsible for ensuring that the player’s character catches up as he enters the fifth grade. She is also the one who gives the wizard’s guide and leads us to the room on request. It is thus a character that will help the player a lot in the advancement of his quest. As you can probably guess, this is an ancestor of Arthur Weasley, Ron’s father. Matilda Weasley is an invention of the developers of the game, but they relied perfectly on the genealogy of the Wealseys.
Another descendant of the Weasleys. This is the nephew of Matilda Weasley. We will meet him in the game as a fifth-year student belonging to the Gryffindor House. He is a mischievous young man with a passion for potions. He also likes to do various experiments and test them on family members or schoolmates. He reminds us of twins Weasley Fred and Georges. He also has a certain talent for getting into trouble. He will give us some quests to help him conduct his potions experiments.
Professor Binns is the only ghost teacher at Hogwarts. He died around the seventeenth century, in the teachers’ room of Hogwarts, did not seem to realize his death and continued to teach as if nothing had happened. He is considered the most boring and soporific teacher. It is obviously present in the game in order to respect the chronology of the saga.
He is the ancestor of Voldemort and descendant of Salazar Slytherin. His family is known for practicing black magic and obsession with purity of blood. He also has a real aversion to the practice of black magic because of a trauma related to his family. Born blind, he finds his bearings thanks to his wand. He is Sebastian’s best friend with whom he often finds himself in conflict in the game because of his practice of black magic. He is part of House Slytherin like his family and best friend. Because of his past, he is a suspicious, pessimistic and sometimes unpleasant character with others.
He is the ancestor of Death Eater Augustus Rockwood, one of Voldemort’s fervent servants. Like his descendant, Victor Rockwood is a dark mage who is at the head of a criminal network. His practices evoke a lot of the functioning of the Mafia and pose many problems in Hogsmeade and its surroundings. Indeed, he practices racketeering, smuggling magical creatures and theft. He obviously allied himself with Ranrock, which also makes him one of our main enemies.
Gerbold Ollivander is the grandfather of Garrick Ollivander, the god-on maker in Harry Potter. Indeed, we know that the Ollivander have passed on their shop and their know-how from generation to generation for centuries. In the saga, the shop is located on the side road in London. In the game, we find an Ollivander’s in Hogsmeade. This is where we will be allocated our wand. The cinematic is almost identical to the scene of the first opus with the famous line: “it’s strange”.
This character is not present in the movies, but he is in the books. This is the poltergeist of Hogwarts, generated by the evil deeds of students over the centuries. He always takes malicious pleasure in wreaking havoc and provoking Filch in books. In the game, he appears in a very colorful form and he often plays bad tricks on students and teachers. We can see several scenes of Peeves playing bad tricks. Peeves will also sometimes put obstacles in our way when we need to be discreet to accomplish certain quests.
”Follow the butterflies”
This quest is a reference to Ron’s phobia for spiders revealed in Volume 2 of Harry Potter. Indeed, young Harry and his companion Ron must follow the spiders in order to get answers that can exonerate their friend Hagrid. This is where Ron’s famous line ” Follow the spiders…” Why couldn’t it be follow the butterflies ? . This quest is therefore a direct reference to this line.
The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets
The famous Chamber of Secrets unfortunately cannot be visited in the game. Indeed, it was never opened until Tom Riddle did. On the other hand, we can find his entrance in the girls’ toilet. On one of the taps, you can see a snake engraved on it. The wizard’s guide states that no one knows its meaning.
The cauldron of polynectar
You can find in the girls’ toilet on the 2nd floor a bubbling cauldron placed on one of the toilets. The strange substance it seems to contain looks like polynectar. So we guess that this is a reference to the second installment of the saga when Hermione prepares polynectar in the girls’ toilet so that she can spy on Draco Malfoy and get information about the Chamber of Secrets.
Ron Wealsey’s rat cup
This object refers to the second installment of the saga when Ron misses his transfiguration spell and his rat becomes a kind of hybrid between a rat and a cup. It can be found in the transfiguration room. A page of the wizard’s guide refers to it, specifying that it is a partial metamorphosis, probably the result of a mistake of a second year. It is also present on the icon of the summoning spell.
The One-Eyed Witch
You will be able to find the statue of the one-eyed witch who hides a secret passage leading directly to the Honeydukes reserve in Hogsmeade. This passage is discovered and borrowed by Harry Potter in the third installment thanks to the advice of the Weasley twins. We will also have the chance to borrow it to accomplish the quest “A sweet journey” given to us by Garreth Weasley, whose playfulness is reminiscent of twins.
The Goblet of Fire
If you have the opportunity to visit the trophy room, you will be able to admire the large tiered box that contains the famous goblet of fire. Indeed, the Goblet of Fire of the fourth installment of Harry Potter makes it possible to select the champions representing the three schools that will compete in the tournament of the three wizards. It is known that this tournament has existed since the 13th century and that it is normally held every five years. In the game, its representation is very faithful to its appearance in the movies.
Fashionable evening wear
You will be able to get this outfit by completing one of the great secrets of Hogwarts. It seems to have been designed in reference to the outfit worn by Ron Weasley at the Christmas ball in the fourth installment of the saga. We know that Mrs. Weasley got him this second-hand outfit and that it was already very worn.
The Death Anniversary Hall
We find in the dungeons, behind a gate closed by Alohomora, some sort of ballroom. Ghosts are present. There is a morbid atmosphere, candles projecting a bluish light, there is rotting food and instruments playing unpleasant music. Thanks to the page of the wizard’s guide, we learn that it is a room where ghosts organize their death parties. In the second book, Harry and his friends are invited to the 500th anniversary of Nearly-Headless-Nick death. This piece recreated in the game is very faithful to its description and it is a detail that proves that the designers really know and master the universe.
The Wizard and the Hopping Pot
The jumping pot is a reference to the tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of tales for young wizarding children. It is from this collection that the tale of the three brothers, at the origin of the deathly relics, is taken. The book The Tales of Beedle the Bard was published after the last volume of Harry Potter. This object is therefore a nod to the tale “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot”. In the game, we will be able to obtain it and use it in the room on request to prepare potions randomly and automatically.
The Nab-Sack we will use to capture and rescue the magical creatures from poachers is practically identical to that of Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts.
One of the fans’ only big regrets is not being able to play Quidditch. The director justifies it as soon as he returns to a cinematic at the beginning of the game by saying that Quidditch matches are suspended for the year. On the other hand, references to this sport are everywhere. Whether it’s the Quidditch field, broom lessons and being able to explore the stadium. It is also present in a more subtle way through posters, in the trophy room or even in some equipment that we can put on.
The morality system
The game Hogwarts Legacy has no morality system. Indeed, we will have the opportunity to use the famous three unforgivable curses: Crucio, Imperio and Avada kedavra. In the Harry Potter universe, these spells are strictly forbidden under penalty of going to Azkaban, the prison for wizards. In the game, it seems that we can use them with impunity without any consequences. Our character can practice black magic without becoming a black mage in the manner of Lord Voldemort. This is a bit inconsistent with the franchise. It is also not possible to use these spells against other students, but only against enemies.
Given the scale of this saga and the number of potterheads, Hogwarts Legacy had to meet high expectations. It can be seen that the developers have taken on a great challenge. Indeed, we see that the universe here is very well transcribed. The fact that Avalanche Software chose the era of the 1890s gave them greater freedom while remaining consistent with the universe and its context. Our heroes and the characters around them are not present at this time. This allows the player to be the central element, so we are the protagonist of this adventure.
If you are a fan of the Harry Potter saga and you have like many children always dreamed of receiving your letter to join the school of witchcraft and wizardry at Hogwarts, you will not be disappointed. The game is therefore intended to fulfill the dreams of most fans of the franchise. Avalanche Software made sure to cover all the details of the films, but also the books. The visuals, the music and the NPCs’ personalities guarantee us an immersive journey in this universe well-known to fans. For the most attentive and seasoned fans, details are subtly hidden through replicas, locations, objects or quests. All the ingredients are there to live a magical experience. However, we regret that the game is quite linear and does not allow us to take different paths. The absence of the morality system also contributes to this. The adventure is lived like an interactive movie that leaves very little choice to the player.