Nitpicky? Hell yes.

Main Menu

Hogwarts Legacy [The Playful Asmo]

Started by Asmodean, February 27, 2023, 02:47:40 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


A note for this series. You may notice that "most" games I review end with a positive recommendation. This is because currently, I only review the games I buy for myself, from my personal preferences and by word-of-mouth from people who would judge them similarly. I am "lucky" enough (in actuality, an experienced enough gamer) to very rarely buy games that I could not recommend to others. (As in, "negatively surprised" - most in this series meet or exceed expectations) However, if I do - my review shall reflect the fact. If you are contemplating buying a game and want it reviewed by my methods and/or through my lens, tell me and I may (or may not) give it a honest go. And, of course, if you buy a game off my recommendations, do keep the fine print in mind; "I can recommend it" does not at all mean "it's for everyone." Usually, I shall include a statement or two about who I think a game is for, and review it from that particular angle

I decided to try and reboot/re-brand my game review series - for we, gamers and others looking for some digital downtime. So, welcome, dear reader, to The Playful Asmo: Wizarding World edition. Specifically,

Hogwarts Legacy. (Avalanche/WB, 2023, "all" platforms, played on Xbox Series X)

First things first, I've never been a fan of the Harry Potter franchise, so I cannot, nor will I, say whether or not this is a good Harry Potter game. Additionally, I am not particularly interested in "woke on woke" controversy surrounding the game, so I will not discuss any political implications people may or may not see in it.

Also of note is the game's target audience, which I think is people from around 12 and up to their mid-to-late teens. Here I am, calling it my pastime for a week or two, while also pushing 40... In the immortal words of James May, Our Man In Japan, while queuing outside a teen boyband concert and looking ridiculous, surrounded by a bunch of Japanese teen girls, "I feel like a pervert."

Actually, jokes aside, this is a good place to start. Yes, it's a kids' game, however, thus far (I think I'm about 10% into it) it has been nothing but harmless fun - bordering on wholesome, in fact. The universe is large, largely-open and well-designed, with plenty to do and explore, and while I can say nothing about its accuracy when it comes to the established lore, I do find it immersive in a fairy tale-like way.

The story is that of your character enrolling at Hogwarts as a fifth year magic student and discovering the ability to sense ancient magic, which is almost unheard of, from what I understand. That gets you the attention of the bad guys and... That's as much as I know right now. The main (thus far) characters are well-written and relatable, and while the main (thus far) villain is obviously all sorts of evil, he's neither an over-the-top bloodthirsty monster nor a Disney-like "cartoon villain." If anything, he reminds me of a take-no-shit bar brawler from the former mining estates of North England.

Other noteworthy characters are Professor Fig, whose type I've had in a few university courses for some pleasing nostalgia, headmaster Black, who is a very stereotypical head of school, complete with semi-villainous moustache and to my in-this-setting-perversely-old self, giving off just the vibe of a guy who has... Reached the top, and now just wants to be left unmolested by children, if that makes sense. Then there is professor Weasley, who is good at reading students trying to be sneaky, a kid named Sebastian, whom your characrter ends up befriending, who is good at being sneaky, with some potentially-interesting side-story developing... There are several others of note already at my early stage of playing.

Thus far, the game gets top marks for character and environment design in my book, which may say a lot both one way and the other, it coming from an established universe I know nothing about.

On the technical side, the game is "easy" to play. I play it on the hardest difficulty, and it gives me - an experienced gamer - just enough challenge. It is not a bad thing, considering its story-driven nature and target audience, and what it does do, it does reasonably well. The combat system thus far consists entirely of the use of magic and there are ways of being clever and tactical with it for those so inclined. If not - brute force and a lot of dodging may get you at least to where I'm at in the story, and probably beyond. Blood, gore and general scariness are tastefully limited - I suspect so that the in-game universe may come across as largely good, which the developers pull off nicely.

That said, however, it's not all rainbows and pink elephants. The game does seem a tad rushed/lazy/cheap on some occasions. For example, in stead of recording two separate lines of dialogue based on the player's choice in character creation (i.e. whether you play as a boy or a girl) characters will refer to you as "they" in third person dialogue, which is somewhat immersion-breaking with you standing right there. That may of course have been a design choice rather than oversight, given where the game comes from, and in that case it was a poor one, but not enough to hurt the overall experience much. There are a few graphical bugs and glitches, a few places where I got stuck on malfunctioning collision meshes and such like, but I'd say it's overall less buggy than the average AAA title these days.

I give the technical aspect a solid 6/10 - perhaps even 7, provided that the few things that I attributed to laziness or poor attempts at reducing cost were actual choices, as in that case, whatever I may think of said choices, they were not badly implemented.

The story itself... I can't really say much more than I already have, as I am still in the stages of it unfolding/being set up, but given the time and the attention to detail in its setup, I'm not too worried.

I'll give the story so far a nice 7/10 as while it doesn't precisely wow me, it is interesting enough for me to want to explore it further. It also helps a lot that the game does not preach at me or try to teach me moral lessons about the many woes of life in current year California. I semi-expected it to, given it's background, and was going to let this title pass for that reason, but then people whose opinion I do not distrust on such matters said that it did not, and they seem to have been correct.

The voice acting is hit-and-miss, though where it "hits," it generally does so to a greater degree than where it "misses." I'm not sure what score to give it... It's between mid-five and mid-seven, somewhere. Might update as I progress through the story.

Overall, what I have seen of Hogwarts Legacy calls for a score of 8/10. It's a very solid B, with some aspirations to a weak A-.

If any-one is contemplating getting it for themselves or the kids in the family - I think you should. Maybe be a little careful if you or the end-recepient is a fan of the universe, with all the books and/or movies under their belt, but if not... Then it may be just the source of harmless fairy-tale fun that has been so lacking in the industry for a very long time.

TL;DR: Can recommend? Yes.
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.


I've heard very good things about that game. It's not my cup of tea. Currently playing Hollow Knight waiting on Silksong to be released.

"Amazing what chimney sweeping can teach us, no? Keep your fire hot and
your flue clean."  - Ecurb Noselrub

"I'd be incensed by your impudence were I not so impressed by your memory." - Siz


It's not my cup of tea either - except it is.

I've managed to make it this far in life barely aware of the existence of Harry Potter and the surrounding universe. What's more, I'm not precisely the target audience both in age and my general lack of woke-like attitudes.

Still, I do like open world, story-driven games and taking it for no more or less than what it is... It's good, simple as.
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.

The Magic Pudding.

Quote from: Asmodean on February 27, 2023, 05:56:00 PMIt's not my cup of tea either - except it is.

Did you watch Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies?
No school children in them.


Watched some Fantastic Beasts... Didn't like enough to go on. Still, I think I'll give it a other chance.
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.


A slightly-belated game completion update;

Upon re-reading my initial review after having completed the game, I see that I was pretty spot-on in my assessment.

Some extra honour points go to character writing. (Gave it full score before - therefore "just" honour points) It's been some time since I've seen a non-player character go through so much development or have such depth of lore as some in Hogwarts Legacy.

A high point was the conclusion of Sebastian's "road to hell, paved with good intentions" story line. It was not the most unpredictable or complex, but believable and well-executed. Isadora's/The Keepers' story ark coming as a very close second. None of the other characters "dropped the ball" to any noteworthy degree either, and in the entire game, I've only come across two, maybe three minor characters whom I did not like (Speaking from the perspective of them being well-created and conducive to maintaining immersion - not from their goals and personality) While the plot was generally-predictable from its gradual development, the writers managed to pull off an interesting story through putting their devils into details, as in "I see where this is going, but what happens to [character A], what's the purpose of [event B] and can I save [Person C]?"

The game also offers a player "base," where there is quite a lot to do - from growing veggies that bite (Which The Asmo has been insisting for years that they do. Vindication!) to breeding beasts or just conjuring yourself-self a nice couch just so.

The world is expansive and for the most part, does not feel repetitive. There are some side quests and mini-games that are, but the vast majority of side quests are, in fact, unique, mostly taking the form of villagers, fellow students and whoever-else-have-you having some problems you need to solve.

Gameplay-wise, the mission where... How do I not spoil it? Where you play as a different character, was the one that stood out to me the most. It was not very long, nor particularly challenging, but it had "harmless fun" oozing from it from start to conclusion.

Having completed the game, I'll actually adjust my score upwards a little, from solid B to A- or 8,5/10.

If you enjoy open world role-playing fantasy adventures, this game has a lot to offer.
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on July 25, 2013, 08:18:52 PM
In Asmo's grey lump,
wrath and dark clouds gather force.
Luxembourg trembles.


Not a gamer (though I did complete Myst back when it was a thing  ;D ) but I have been enjoying your reviews. Thank you!  :thumbsup:
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
"Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt." ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.