Playing Hogwarts Legacy is a reminder of the power of Harry Potter’s captivating world. In 1998, my Mum gave me a copy of Philosopher’s Stone — Sorcerer’s Stone in the US — and that first chapter immediately drew me into its magical realm; I was enamored for life – or so I thought. After the book series concluded and no more movies were released, my connection began to fade. The overcrowded spinoffs combined with J.K. Rowling’s prejudiced opinions towards transgender people eliminated whatever enjoyment I still derived from this franchise, forcing me to finally move on.
Upon starting Hogwarts Legacy, which launches on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Series S and PC on Friday (it’s available early access beginning Tuesday, and will arrive on other consoles later this year), all that baggage disappeared. We can live out our fantasies of enrolling as a new student in the legendary School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in this open-world action role-playing game, developed by Avalanche Software.
With an intriguing original narrative, engagingly varied gameplay, and intricately designed world, the PS5 version captures the wonder of the early books.
Although you are a new student, you enroll as a fifth year student and start your magical career late. It would probably feel weird to have a wide-eyed first year, just 11, explore dangerous caves, learn dangerous spells, and battle dark wizards.
The game’s technical limitations are occasionally evident as you dash around the environment too; assets may load at the edge of your screen and doors may appear stuck as the area beyond loads. It never felt game-breaking, but might briefly shake your sense of immersion.
You will learn new spells and skills at Hogwarts in classes such as Potions, Herbology, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. In addition, the flow of quests gives you time to learn new abilities before introducing others — you’ll attend classes and then apply them to story missions and side quests.
A constant stream of new gear will also improve your attack and defense, as well as change the look of your character. Any previous clothing can also be applied to the new ones, so you don’t have to look ridiculous just because a certain item has better stats.
Inventory limits add unnecessary friction to exploration — you can find new gear, but cannot pick it up. You can increase your inventory by doing certain side quests, but it’s annoying to have to fast travel to Hogsmeade to sell off excess items while wandering around the castle.