Hogwarts Legacy - Whimsical Wizardry

CriticalGaming

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I have never watched a Harry Potter movie, never read a book, and never gave HP a second thought. It's such a hype game though, I had to give it a shot especially since the reviews are surprisingly good, not that numbers mean anything.

I gotta say I am really pleasantly surprised at how...whimsical the world actually is. Thankfully the game doesn't use any established lore outside Hogwarts being the school of wizards though it's possible there is some deep lore referenced here that i would never know. Anyway you are a 5th year student which I'm assuming is something like a 16 year old Junior in high school based on the apparent age of the character. Right from the start you have a fairly decent character creator which allows you to do any human skin tone you want (no greens or purples like Souls games) and a pretty decent voice customization option. You can pitch either the female or male voice up our down several notches and what was nice about this was how it didn't make the voices sound weird, whatever magic they're running here allows you to pitch the dialog but not change the acting behind it so it all sounds pretty good. You can use either voice regardless of apparent gender of the character you make and you can also choose you wizard pronouns (witch or wizard). So I suppose your character can be trans if you wanted which was probably the point considering everything going on around this thing.

Anyway you are on your way to Hogwarts with a Professor named Fig and a friend of his who has a scroll sent by Fig's wife. Neither of the older men can open the scroll's casing but your character can see a special magic that neither of the men can, you use the magic to open the scroll and inside you find a strange key. Suddenly your flying carrage on the way to Hogwarts gets bit right in fucking half and Fig's friend is murdered immediately.

This actually legit made me cry out, "Holy shit!" Not because of a big fucking dragon attacking you, but that they just let this dragon murder a dude in a Harry Potter game. I thought this shit was for kids, but that dude got eaten. That's was cooler than I expected, we killing people in this game.

As you fall the Professor grabs you and the magic key you guys open teleports you to safety, but it's a set of ruins that the Professor is unfamiliar with. Intro story short, you investigate a bank vault with the key and it's teased that you have a special gift that allows you to see magics that nobody (or very very few) people can see and this will lead you to mysterious secrets.

Afterwords you're brought to Hogwarts and assigned a Gang along with your gang colors. Your then free to explore the school pretty much freely though some stuff is cut off during the intro few quests like being able to explore the open world at all. But here is where the game really impressed me, the school feels really magical and it gave me a sense of wonder that made me want to roam the halls even without looking for collectibles or whatever. The people in paintings will move as you walk by, some of which even talk to you, suits of armor will stiffen up as you pass, books fly around the room. Everything is so well designed (though i'm sure a lot is pulled from movies and books in terms of how the setting is built) and it makes you just wanna see what's around as opposed to wanting to hunt for an exclusively gameplay reason.

Throughout the halls there are puzzles, and scavenger hunts for lore entries, some of which require you to use a spell to reveal invisible things. The rewards are neat and the RPG gear system is hilarious, I started the game looking like a normal student, only to find gear that put me in robes that look like pajamas and a clown hat with Morpheus glasses. It's a little out of place, but comically so.

Comabt itself is very snappy, and feels good. Your basic attack is a quick R2 pull which shoots a little magic bullet at enemies, triangle will allow you to quick parry an attack and if timed right will cast Stupify on the enemy which stuns them (which I find hilarious that you parry a dude and call him stupid and he just gives up for a second). There is a dodge on circle for bigger enemy attacks. Then you have Special spells tied to holding down R2 and using the face buttons. These seem to be more for field utility and explorations, for example you have "GET OVER HERE!" which you can pull flying collectibles out of the sky and right into your hands with. There is Luminato which makes your wand glow so you can see in the dark. Revify which repairs broken things in the world so you can cross maybe a broken bridge or whatever. And Levioso, which leviates shit and so far this is the only spell useful in combat. When an enemy has a magic shield you cast levitate on them and the shield drops so you can start blasting.

All in all, it's a very easy game to play in that there seems to be very little resistance in doing whatever you want when playing and the roadblocks feel minimal and seem limited to spells you unlock over time. There are a few locks doors and I'm assuming there is a lockpicking spell or something down the road that will let me get into these places. It's standard open-world style things.

I played about four hours and it was far enough for me to meet another trans character in the game. IMO it's a very well done trans character too, while you can obviously tell it's meant to be a trans person, there is no mention of it, no acknowledgement by any of the characters. They are just referenced with proper pronouns and are a cool character in their own right. Which I think is the developers trying to encourage people that they do not share Rowling's views and just because it's her license doesn't mean they have to share her ideals. Sadly people are dismissing the game outright because...well whatever.

Bottom line is I kind of was going to ignore this game and just leave it to watching the drama on the internet, but with the way people have been shitting on streamers who absolutely do not deserve that, I decided to play it, and it's actually really damn good. The characters are good, the mystery is well placed, the world itself is wonderous and fun to roam around in, yeah....this is a win I don't know what else to say.
 

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Afterwords you're brought to Hogwarts and assigned a Gang along with your gang colors
Now I feel like this is approps. Also I've been waiting for an excuse to post it.


I actually don't know if that's true(all the wierdos go to Hufflepuff) but it's funny so why not?
 

Worgen

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Whatever, just wash your hands.
I'll grab it at some point I'm sure, even though I never got into Harry Potter, it sounds like its a really good game and the most interesting thing about the Potter universe was going to school and such, not this.... he who shall not be named bullshit that dominated the movies and I suppose books as a reoccurring big bad.
 
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Asita

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I actually don't know if that's true(all the wierdos go to Hufflepuff) but it's funny so why not?
Eh...not so much. The rather boring truth of the matter is that Rowling was never good at managing an 'ensemble' story for the series and limited her scope to those closest to Harry. You had his inner circle, and then you had a few antagonists in Slytherin, and a few recurring names in Gryffindor, with her more or less forgetting that the other houses were supposed to actually have sizable populations that existed as more than statistics or Quiddich teams until late in the series, and even then Hufflepuff's most fleshed out character in the entire series was killed in the same book he was introduced in, and Ravenclaw was mostly represented through Luna.

So basically, it boiled down to "Gryffindor are where the good guys go, Slytherin are where the bad guys go...and oh yeah, I guess Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff exist too. We'll say that Ravenclaw can be where the clever ones go". (And yes, I deliberately characterized it as Hufflepuff getting forgotten almost as soon as it was acknowledged to be underdeveloped).

In one of the later books, we got a little ditty from the sorting hat that kinda unfortunately reinforced this by characterizing Griffindor as selecting the brave, Slytherin as selecting cunning purebloods, Ravenclaw as selecting the smartest...and Hufflepuff as taking everyone else. Naturally, readers took that to mean that Hufflepuff took the otherwise unexceptional losers who weren't good enough to get into a better house.

Post series, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff finally got a bit of fleshing out, with the clarification being that Hufflepuff wasn't the house of rejects, but rather the earnest and nonjudgemental and who don't care about being defined by the virtues of the other houses. Hufflepuff has purebloods, but unlike Slytherin they don't especially care about pedigree. Hufflepuff has no shortage of brave souls (officially, their presence in the final battle rivaled Griffindor's) but they lack the bravado of being a daredevil or thrill-seeker. Hufflepuff has clever students, but they aren't the type to make that the core of their identity. They aren't the house of the Brave, they're the house of the Steadfast, Loyal, and Just. They aren't the house of the Clever, they're the house of the Hardworking. And so forth.

Of course, "after the series ended" is by all rights "too little too late". Hence "...I'm a Hufflepuff(?)"
 
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immortalfrieza

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Eh...not so much. The rather boring truth of the matter is that Rowling was never good at managing an 'ensemble' story for the series and limited her scope to those closest to Harry. You had his inner circle, and then you had a few antagonists in Slytherin, and a few recurring names in Gryffindor, with her more or less forgetting that the other houses were supposed to actually have sizable populations that existed as more than statistics or Quiddich teams until late in the series, and even then Hufflepuff's most fleshed out character in the entire series was killed in the same book he was introduced in, and Ravenclaw was mostly represented through Luna.

So basically, it boiled down to "Gryffindor are where the good guys go, Slytherin are where the bad guys go...and oh yeah, I guess Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff exist too. We'll say that Ravenclaw can be where the clever ones go". (And yes, I deliberately characterized it as Hufflepuff getting forgotten almost as soon as it was acknowledged to be underdeveloped).

In one of the later books, we got a little ditty from the sorting hat that kinda unfortunately reinforced this by characterizing Griffindor as selecting the brave, Slytherin as selecting cunning purebloods, Ravenclaw as selecting the smartest...and Hufflepuff as taking everyone else. Naturally, readers took that to mean that Hufflepuff took the otherwise unexceptional losers who weren't good enough to get into a better house.

Post series, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff finally got a bit of fleshing out, with the clarification being that Hufflepuff wasn't the house of rejects, but rather the earnest and nonjudgemental and who don't care about being defined by the virtues of the other houses. Hufflepuff has purebloods, but unlike Slytherin they don't especially care about pedigree. Hufflepuff has no shortage of brave souls (officially, their presence in the final battle rivaled Griffindor's) but they lack the bravado of being a daredevil or thrill-seeker. Hufflepuff has clever students, but they aren't the type to make that the core of their identity. They aren't the house of the Brave, they're the house of the Steadfast, Loyal, and Just. They aren't the house of the Clever, they're the house of the Hardworking. And so forth.

Of course, "after the series ended" is by all rights "too little too late". Hence "...I'm a Hufflepuff(?)"
I've always thought it would've been significantly more interesting had each of the three been sorted into the houses they actually belonged in. Harry for Slytherin because he's ambitious, cunning, and driven. Hermoine for Ravenclaw because she's very intelligent and driven to learn. Ron probably Hufflepuff because while he lacks the bravery to get into Gryffindor, (Ron is easily the most cowardly the trio by far) he's very hardworking and trustworthy. A fourth member to get into Gryffindor would be a good idea.

The main trio getting into different houses and yet forging a close friendship and going on the adventures they do anyway would've had so much story potential. Not to mention it would've given every house besides Gryffindor a chance to be expanded upon and given the nuance that they lacked. However, Rowling put them into the same house and Gryffindor at that not because it made sense for each of them, but because it was easier for her to write the story with all of them in the same house.
 
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Absent

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Not interested in ever playing this game (I just don't like school settings, and I don't like very much either the idea of institutional magic - I prefer magic in stories to be secretive and transgressive). But it makes me happy if this game is good, just because I have a specific fondness for good videogame adaptations of other media franchises (Ghostbusters, Mad Max, etc) that show a real care and a real love for the source material, after so many years of abominable cheap reskin cashgrabs.
 

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I do expect everything Harry Potter to be shit by default these days, nice to know they genuinely put effort into this one.

I don't know if I want to play it yet though, maybe a few years down the line. Open world games sound exhausting these days.
 
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meiam

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So is the school aspect actually integrated into the gameplay? I always though that a school would make for a fun class system in a video game, like you can take a major (your main class) and every class would teach you a set of skills related to it, you could take minor (sub class/dual class) and elective (class from other major so you can sneak in some cool skill you wouldn't have access to) and so on. But it never happened : (
 

CriticalGaming

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So is the school aspect actually integrated into the gameplay? I always though that a school would make for a fun class system in a video game, like you can take a major (your main class) and every class would teach you a set of skills related to it, you could take minor (sub class/dual class) and elective (class from other major so you can sneak in some cool skill you wouldn't have access to) and so on. But it never happened : (
So kind of, you do have to go to class and these classes teach you new spells to cast. But the premise is this, you are entering Hogwarts as a 5th year and as a result you are "behind" on lessons. So the first quest is to attention two classes where you get a new spell in each and have a little test/tutorial of how to use that spell. But you are also told that each teacher will also have extra work for you outside of class to help catch you up. Only one of the teachers so far had a lesson outside of class for me to teach me Repairo, but it worked the same way as the class, he gave me a test to find some stuff, then taught the spell, then a little quest showing me how to use it in the world.

They seem to wrap the school part of the world into the story, but I honestly couldn't tell you how many actual classes you'll have to go to throughout the game.
 

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Happy to hear it's good. I am one of those people whom Harry Potter basically taught to read, so I do have a soft spot for it.

Guess I'll be getting the PS5 version, considering the PC one is supposed to be pretty poorly optimized.
 
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CriticalGaming

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Happy to hear it's good. I am one of those people whom Harry Potter basically taught to read, so I do have a soft spot for it.

Guess I'll be getting the PS5 version, considering the PC one is supposed to be pretty poorly optimized.
The PS5 version is unoptimized to actually. It has LOADING TIMES!!!!! GAH!!! They are only 3-4 seconds but it has them and there is also sometimes a weird 1-2 second pause when trying to open a door as the next room loads. However we are in pre-release technically and according to ACG and SKillUp there is a day 1 patch that should rollout on saturday to fix a lot of these kinds of issues.
 

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Love the use of FMA Brotherhood music in the latter half of the video.

The PS5 version is unoptimized to actually. It has LOADING TIMES!!!!! GAH!!! They are only 3-4 seconds but it has them and there is also sometimes a weird 1-2 second pause when trying to open a door as the next room loads. However we are in pre-release technically and according to ACG and SKillUp there is a day 1 patch that should rollout on saturday to fix a lot of these kinds of issues.
We are in the 9th generation of consoles, and we still have day one patches.
 

CriticalGaming

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We are in the 9th generation of consoles, and we still have day one patches.
I dunno why you are annoyed by this so much. Even when I was a QA tester for Activision back on xbox 360, the number of times the "release" build of a game was found to have some stupid fucking problem after it had already been approved and sent to manufactoring was astounding. They fact that we could get it fixed for a day 1 so that the end user experience was better was a massive positive. This isn't an oversight either, sometimes the final build ends up with something random breaking the systems and causing an issue.

Sometimes it's because of bullshit dev cycles and rushing to deadline, other times shit just happens. At least it can be fixed.
 

BrawlMan

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I dunno why you are annoyed by this so much.
You should already know the answer by now. These consoles cost $500 and most of these games are being charged at $70 plus. I prefer the days when the game worked right out of the box. I'm glad patches exist, but it also led the way of laziness.

Sometimes it's because of bullshit dev cycles and rushing to deadline, other times shit just happens.
Most of the time, patches happen because of the former two, and not the latter "shit just happens". It's a legit complaint and there's no reason to downplay the problem nor act like it's not a huge deal. I will forever call out things like this.
 
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CriticalGaming

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You should already know the answer by now. These consoles cost $500 and most of these games are being charged at $70 plus. I prefer the days when the game worked right out of the box. I'm glad patches exist, but it also lets the way of laziness.
This logic doesn't track thought dude, because before games could be patched, they literally shipped however buggy they ended up and there was nothing they could do about it. Don't act like those games released in a perfectly completed state because that is really really false.
 

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This logic doesn't track thought dude, because before games could be patched, they literally shipped however buggy they ended up and there was nothing they could do about it.
The logic does track. While patches are useful, they've also led to much laziness and fix it later mentality. I find it funny that most smaller games like The TakeOver, Ninja Saviors, Shovel Knight, Fight n' Rage, etc. usually work right out of the box or download. I know these games can get patches too, but the game is usually already polished and they're adding more bonus content. Yet a majority of these elite, premium price games, have to be given immediate patches because of rushed development or a screw up on publisher management's part. We've seen this time and time again. So excuse me for pointing out the huge Day 1 DLC/patches problem that still persists with this industry and not expecting more and better, and to just shut up and act like it's not a big deal. Have you already forgotten Gotham Knights and Callistol Protocol? Don't bother bringing up games like Ragnarök or Hi-Fi Rush. They're the exception and not the rule. Even God of War 4 needed a big ass patch update to skip most walking sequences and cut-scenes, that took about 4 months to come out.

For the record, I am not against additional content support, but I am sick and tired of games being broken at launch. Another reason why I am opting out of most AAA games. I know Hogwarts case is not that bad, it is something that should not be ignored and let be flown under the radar. You don't like opinion? Though luck for you; I am not budging on this. If it flusters you that badly, you might as well not even bother responding.

Don't act like those games released in a perfectly completed state because that is really really false.
I never implied or did. That's you assuming and putting words in my mouth again. Of course, I fucking know that. I was there like most of you on this site. Doesn't excuse the other extreme and the problems that exists today.