Skip to content
free 3-day shipping on orders $65+

Hogwarts Legacy | Game Review | Magic in the Making

Discover the highly anticipated open-world Harry Potter RPG, Hogwarts Legacy. Read our review of the immersive gameplay, authentic visuals and magical combat. See if Hogwarts Legacy lives up to the hype!


Mike Alexander

February 28, 2023

Harry Potter Legacy Scenery Harry Potter Legacy Scenery

Check out our review in video form!


Fans of the Harry Potter franchise have been waiting for an open-world RPG set in that universe for just as long as the series has been popular, just over two decades. After twenty years of film adaptations, spin-offs, and experimental games set in the Harry Potter universe, the fantasy Wizarding World RPG we all hoped for is finally here. How did it turn out? Is it just as magical as the world it portrays? Let’s find out in this review of Hogwarts Legacy.

Developed in Secret

Hogwarts Legacy was officially announced in 2020, but it had been in the works long before that, with the details of the project kept under wraps. At least, until gameplay footage was leaked just a few months into that development cycle. That leak got the hype train rolling, but there was essentially dead silence for a few years following that.

When that blurry project was formally announced, I was pretty happy to hear who was in charge of this massively ambitious game. “Avalanche Software? The studio that makes Just Cause and that fantastic Mad Max game from 2015?!? What a great pick!”. However, that turned out to be a misunderstanding. Avalanche STUDIOS makes those games. Avalanche SOFTWARE makes… Disney Infinity and video game adaptations of Disney movies. Expectations were tempered a little bit with this revelation, but the outcome of those four years of development is pretty surprising.

Hogwarts Legacy Petting the Cat GIF

Bringing the Wizarding World to Life

Before you get to any actual gameplay, it’s worth noting how authentic every aspect of Hogwarts Legacy feels to what was established with the Harry Potter films. That very specific visual language has been fully translated, and it looks fantastic. Hazy mist hangs in the air around Hogwarts in the early morning, The apparition visual is directly lifted from the movies, and the fantastical yet realistic shapes of structures all carry over successfully.

The quality of the graphics and textures is pretty top-notch as well. Which, combined with the previously mentioned features results in what essentially feels like playing through an interactive Harry Potter film. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the art direction or visuals in Hogwarts Legacy, and its gameplay holds up almost as well.

Harry Potter Legacy Dark Water

Attending Class, Kicking Ass

While you’re being whisked away by the incredibly familiar visuals and settings, there is in fact an actual game to be played here. On its face, Hogwarts Legacy is a pretty standard open-world RPG by today’s standards. There’s an absolutely massive map full of things to do and places to explore, various enemy encampments to crash that are spread out through that map, and lots of opportunities to use your magic in puzzle-solving. There is also a large number of side quests that flesh out the world and your relationships with the many characters in and around Hogwarts, which is pretty important given the main narrative isn’t very strong.

Again, nothing too groundbreaking here besides the fact that you are actually in Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and a smattering of other iconic locations including Azkaban (if you happen to be placed in Hufflepuff, for some reason). Where Hogwarts Legacy does manage to stand out is its unique combination of gameplay features and how they are implemented.

First and foremost, you have a really engaging spell-flinging combat system that looks as awesome as it feels. There are 27 spells in all that are broken up into several different categories, and mixing and matching these spells to find their synergies in combat is actually great fun. Enemies will sometimes have shields that are color-coded to a specific type of spell, so only spells of that nature will be able to break it, and when you’re facing powerful witches and wizards who all have different colored shields, things get very interesting.

You feel incredibly powerful from the jump, but Hogwarts Legacy isn’t an easy game. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in enemy encounters and you’ll probably face a restart screen more than a handful of times in big fights. But most importantly, combat remains fun through that challenge, rather than becoming grueling. Especially when you have a bag full of delightful combat aids, including things like a cabbage that will chomp down on targets and a potion that will turn you to stone.

Items like those two previously mentioned bring us to another facet of Hogwarts Legacy: attending classes. You’ll need to actually show up and participate in potions, defense against the dark arts, and herbology classes in order to learn new things to craft, brew, grow, and cast. It’s a very engaging system, and just contributes more to that feeling of being in the movies. You’ll also tame fantastic beasts and build a home base with a startling level of scale and customization in the Room of Requirement.

Harry Potter Legacy Owl

Not the Stellar Story You’d Expect

As a video game, Hogwarts Legacy is really great. All of the video game aspects and interactivity you would want to work, absolutely do work, but the reason for doing the things you do doesn’t really hold up to much scrutiny. There’s an evil goblin, an ancient and mysterious power that only the protagonist can wield, and some less interesting story beats that happen in between until those two forces collide.

As an explanation for getting to do more video game stuff, it's serviceable. But for something that is set within a franchise that is known for its stories, Hogwarts Legacy doesn’t really compare. Some of the coolest narrative things in the game occur outside of the main quest, but at least there is a cast of interesting, diverse characters to interact and form bonds with. Some will get you into trouble, some will lift you up, but they all teach you something worthwhile whether it’s a new spell, where to find something, or something more intangible like revealing new information and lore about a world that happens to be much bigger than what we’ve known for twenty years.

Hogwarts Legacy Running Scenery

Performance Issues You Can’t Reparo

This review covers the PC version of Hogwarts Legacy, which has suffered greatly in terms of performance. Even now, over two weeks since launch, the game has serious issues even for users with fully-kitted-out systems. My more humble 2080 ti/Ryzen 5 3600 combo manages to produce something steady at 1080p with high settings, but you just can’t get around the stuttering, frame drops, and loading issues that pervade the experience.

I would take a wild guess and assume that the PS5 was the lead platform for Hogwarts Legacy, as that version appears to be the one that has fared the best from what I’ve seen. As is pretty common with PC ports of games that were console-forward in development, there are a few confusing issues. The biggest one would have to be: there is no way to run the game in fullscreen mode. You only have options for windowed and windowed borderless, which means you can’t change the in-game resolution without changing the display resolution for your entire system. It’s bizarre, especially when turning down the resolution obviously helps with the frame rate woes. There has been a patch since the game’s release, but it has either not helped at all or made some aspects of the performance even worse, depending on who you ask.

Aside from PC-specific issues, there is also the matter of a minor nuisance that affects every version of the game. For some reason, there are several doors within Hogwarts that make you stop dead while the next area loads in. It’s understandable, it’s a massive location, but you can traverse so much of the world without a loading screen that being faced with one of even two to three seconds after just waiting for one minutes before just makes you wonder, “why?”. This is of course a first-world problem and becomes part of the experience before too long.

Harry Potter Legacy Spell Attack


Overall, Hogwarts Legacy is a mostly successful first attempt at a massive Wizarding World RPG. News broke just recently that the game has made $850 million in its first two weeks on the market, so it’s clearly a financial success, which means there will be more before too long.

The story can be improved going forward, especially with the stable of characters that have been introduced, and the gameplay foundations are absolutely solid. Whether you’re a big fan or a casual observer of the Harry Potter franchise, the work Avalanche Software has put into Hogwarts Legacy is clear to see, along with their passion for the franchise.

Final Score: 8/10

Previous article Gunfire Reborn: Lei Luo Build Guide
Next article Harvest Moon: Back to Nature on PS Plus


What is Hogwarts Legacy?


Who developed Hogwarts Legacy?


How does Hogwarts Legacy capture the Harry Potter universe?


What's the gameplay like in Hogwarts Legacy?


How is the story quality in Hogwarts Legacy?


Are there performance issues in Hogwarts Legacy?