‘Hogwarts Legacy’ Day 1 First Impressions: The Good And The Bad

‘Hogwarts Legacy’ Day 1 First Impressions: The Good And The Bad

Hogwarts Legacy


I am currently 4-5 hours into Hogwarts Legacythe open world Harry Potter game that attempts to bring the fantasy world to life in a way that hasn’t really been seen in games in the two and a half decades since the books’ release.

These early hours may not paint the full picture of Hogwarts Legacy, but so far, I’m finding a game that seems very likely to be enjoyed by Harry Potter fans, in turn making it a massive hit, but ultimately one that will probably fall short of more dedicated fantasy RPG experiences harder core gamers are used to.

In Hogwarts Legacy, you make your own witch or wizard with a surprisingly solid character creator (great hair options!), but everyone is set down the same path. You are a student starting Hogwarts in their fifth year (my student is a witch, so I’ll just be saying “her” from here), which is highly unusual but it turns out, sort of key to the overall story, I’m learning.

You are a “chosen one,” of course. Not like Harry Potter, as you did not survive any killing curses. However, you do have the ability to see and wield some sort of ancient form of powerful magic thought lost to the world, a skill only a few in history have possessed. This early in, I have no idea why our character specifically has that power, but that’s something that’s unfolding over time.

The main threat is a powerful goblin, Ranrok, who is trying to hunt you down to…steal your power? Kill you? I’m not quite clear on that yet, but he’s also working with human dark wizards. I heard this game is supposed to be about some sort of goblin rebellion, but so far, the only being I’ve seen Ranrok kill is another, non-evil goblin. But again, it’s still early, and the bulk of the game so far is more mundane things like going to class and learning some early spells.

Expect it’s not really mundane. This is the area where Hogwarts Legacy shines: the experience of Hogwarts itself. If I had to pick a single thing that really, really stands out about the game here it’s environment design. Hogwarts is a maze of puzzles and secrets, alive with bustling students and small details like enchanted statues and portraits. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the surrounding countryside and Hogsmeade, but this is an extremely strong asset to the game, and easily the thing that I think Potter fans are going to love the most. Everyone pretty much just wanted the fantasy of attending Hogwarts and well, this certainly seems like it’s going to satisfy that with the care and detail put into the world.

However, other systems in the game seem like they may be a bit…lacking.

‘Hogwarts Legacy’


I have not been all that in love with the combat system so far, which seems a little vanilla, even as I’ve learned more combat spells over time. A good chunk of it is this weird type-matching minigame where your fire spell breaks red shields, your levitation spells breaks yellow shields, your summoning spell breaks blue shields and so on. The spellcasting combo animations are nice, but actual combat feels a bite rote. I do understand the complaints of “Forspoken has better magic combat better than this!!” and I mean yeah, it does. Most magic systems in most other games I’ve played, Elder Scrolls, Elden Ring, The Witcher, all seem a bit more fleshed-out than what we’re seeing here. Though again, early hours, and perhaps more complexity is added in time.

I like my character, a Slytherin who I have tried to make nice and not evil. She also accidentally looks like my younger cousin, I realized, once I exited the creator (hi Elisabeth!). But this is another element of the game that feels like it’s going to prove to be a little light, the RPG concept. So far, my character seems set on a very specific path with little room for deviation. It also seems like every side quest I’ve gotten would be also be given out if I was in any other house. I can’t say for sure just yet, but I’m guessing a Slytherin playthrough will not look meaningfully different than a Ravenclaw playthrough which will not look meaningfully different than a Hufflepuff playthrough, outside of some surface difference like the location and style of your dorm. I’m getting “Cyberpunk 2077 lifepath” vibes so far.



The voicework is good, and I think they’ve done a good job with the NPCs, particularly my new best friend Natty, a Gryffindor from Uganda. The interactions aren’t Horizon Forbidden West level, but they’re solid enough. But again, so far this game feels a bit on the rails from a narrative perspective, where the only meaningful choice I’ve been presented in any capacity so far is which friend to take to Hogsmeade. We’ll see how things develop from here.

I am eager to explore more of the castle and of the surrounding area, which I’ve barely touched so far. The detail of the world is what’s driving me forward here, even if I can already tell there are probably going to be games with better storylines and combat systems. But it’s also easy to see how this will be exactly what many Harry Potter fans are looking for.

More on Hogwarts Legacy as I continue to play. Stay tuned.

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