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My First 10 Hours with Hogwarts Legacy

My First 10 Hours with Hogwarts Legacy

For those who are on the fence about the game, I'd like to help you out by telling you about my experience with the game's first 10 hours.

I'll start with a disclaimer, however! I may have lied; I've played eight hours, not 10. But I had to get this article out to help you all out with your decision! The disclaimer, of course, is that I am quite a slow-paced gamer. I take my time, I look around, I explore, and I get sidetracked. Keep this in mind whilst judging the pace of the game!

Hogwarts Legacy doesn't take a second before it throws you into the middle of action story-wise. This took me a bit by surprise, as I was expecting something along the lines of Harry Potter's plot — you go to the school, you get sorted, and then you go from normal student to suddenly facing a three-headed dog. The game is quite the opposite of that: you find out you're special, you get into a mini adventure, and then you get sorted into your house. 

Hogwarts Legacy screenshot 1 Cropped

The mini adventure serves as a combat tutorial. Although I haven't gotten to fight a whole lot — aside from the first boss (or mini boss?) and some duels — it feels very fluid and quite fun! It's a lot about blocking at the right moment (by pressing Q and casting Protego) and then taking advantage of the counter-attack to finish off your enemy. You can also cast spells to stop them from protecting themselves! Overall, it's probably the most fun I've ever had whilst being a mage in a videogame. 

After said adventure, you get to be a student for a while. And whilst this is a bit slow — perhaps particularly to those who don't know much about the Potterverse, the movies, or the books — I found it quite charming! Walking around talking to the NPCs, exploring the castle, and learning your ropes is a very otherworldly experience for those who love the idea of living in a magical world. 

The classes I've had have been quite short. You just go in, the teacher explains some stuff, and then you go learn the new spell through a short minigame. I don't see how they could've made it longer without it becoming a bit too "actual school" for a game, so I was quite pleased with it! Additionally, you also get to meet the companions you will have throughout the game, which include a Ugandan Gryffindor girl and a — surprisingly — nice Slytherin boy. I don't know much about them yet, but I appreciated the inclusion of a girl of colour and a nice boy from Slytherin.

Hogwarts Legacy screenshot 2 Cropped

When you're not going to school or advancing missions, you can also do some sidequests. While I've not done too many, the ones I've completed were quite simple yet fun. The NPCs will have you running around the school grounds using spells — such as Accio, as it's one of the few I know — to get their stuff back. Another one served as a tutorial to teach me how to solve a puzzle that you can find around Hogwarts. 

Which leads me to exploration and the RPG elements. These two things were the main selling points to me, as I'm a big fan of making my own character and having my own story, and I also love getting sidetracked discovering collectibles and exploring new areas. Whilst I have absolutely loved walking around Hogwarts finding puzzles, chests, and hidden areas, I don't know if these will get boring or repetitive over time. Once you know how to solve a certain puzzle type, you'll basically not need to think anymore when you see it again. As an example, one of them will show you an image of a place, and you have to go there to bring back an item to solve said puzzle. You only really have to put thought into it the first time — thenceforth, I just went to the place and brought back the item. That being said, I still think it's quite fun! The school is large enough that you can get lost exploring it, and whilst I've only discovered two puzzle types, they're very different from each other, making it feel varied. 

Unfortunately, if you were looking forward to the RPG elements, you won't find many in Hogwarts Legacy. The character creation is quite limiting, as you can't mess around with the faces but rather choose from a set given; you have two lines as an option to respond, which gives little space for agency; and the world doesn't seem affected by you at all. So if you're expecting a Skyrim-like experience, where you have to choose between good and evil, and you can spend your time sneaking into people's homes to steal, you'll be very disappointed. You can walk straight into a shop and loot the chest behind the shopkeeper, and they won't say a word. You can change your character's clothes, choose who you befriend, and even go "dark wizard", but it's all very superficial RPG. 

Hogwarts Legacy screenshot 3 Cropped

As a last warning, I do want to mention that the game’s optimisation is definitely not great. Every time I encounter something new, there’s an enormous amount of lag, which has caused me to miss out on some pretty cool cutscenes and “first times”! If this is a big issue to you, definitely take it into consideration, and perhaps do some research on it.

Overall, I think if you want an adventure title with tons of magical elements, it's definitely worth considering pre-ordering the game. Whilst it's not exactly what I expected, I found a ton of love for it as I adjusted my expectations. Exploring the areas is very fun, the combat seems quite promising, and the usage of spells is very creative. This is all I've been able to gather from my first few hours with it: Hogwarts Legacy is a fun exploration adventure game, especially if you like having tons of collectibles. 

Violet Plata

Violet Plata

Staff Writer

Liable to jump at her own shadow.

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