‘Hogwarts Legacy’ is gaming’s finest fan service

How do you manage to keep a series of fantasy novels relevant after more than two decades since its initial release? Milk it for all its worth, like that.

The “Harry Potter” series was a hit when it first came out, and it remained a household name for decades to come. From eight feature films, theme parks at Universal Studios, three feature films based on the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” spin-off, countless college merchandise, fan clubs, and Quidditch teams, “Harry Potter” is perhaps the most popular book series of all time .

The game has beautiful graphics.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Games

The “Hogwarts Legacy” game, released on February 10, was originally announced at a September 2020 PlayStation 5 event as a “full-fledged open-world RPG”. The events are set in the 1890s and take place a century before the events of the “Harry Potter” novels. You play as your own character, a fifth-year new student at Hogwarts who explores the secrets of ancient magic, attends class, and explores the school grounds.

The plot consists of your character traveling to Hogwarts by flying carriage on their first day with their mentor, Professor Fig. Suddenly a dragon attacks them and they fly away. As they fall, Fig casts a spell to reach a key that was inside an artifact. The key turns out to be a Portkey, which teleports them to Gringotts. The key leads them to an ancient vault filled with ancient magic, and the protagonist soon discovers that they have a rare ability to see ancient magic (yes, a hero arc where the protagonist can see and do things others can’t and eventually become the day saves). The protagonist and Professor Fig spend the rest of the game discovering the secrets of ancient magic, which are conveniently hidden in a room beneath the school.

“Hogwarts Legacy” was released on February 10. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Games

The main story is about 30 hours long, but after taking your time with side quests and taking all the lessons, the whole game actually takes about 70 hours. That means more than half of the game is spent on fun activities and Easter eggs for the fans. Sometimes it looks like it a lot to do that isn’t part of the main story.

Originally I was skeptical about the mechanics of the ‘open world RPG’. Hogwarts is a huge and intricate area to explore. It is essentially a giant royal castle. I thought the “open world” would only be open to certain areas, such as the common areas, the Great Hall, the library, and specific classrooms and halls.

To say I was surprised is an understatement. The entire castle is open for exploration right down to the bathrooms. It is beautifully rendered and incredibly detailed. It makes players feel like a king while exploring such a beautiful castle. In fact, Hogwarts isn’t the only area to explore; other areas in the magical world are also completely open-world, such as Hogsmeade, the Forbidden Forest, Azkaban, and several nearby valleys and coastlines.

I would find myself exploring the game rather than completing the quests. I was blown away by how beautiful everything was. Not a single detail was left behind. Each area looked identical to the movies and how they are described in the books. There’s a sense of real life when you play as a Hogwarts student. You get to walk around the school, make friends, duel with others, fight monsters, take lessons with fellow students, discover new secrets behind every door and end the day in your common room.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.  Games

There’s a sense of real life when you play as a Hogwarts student.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Games

Even the seasons change as the game progresses. You unlock new spells, potions, and equipment by going to class; it’s not just handed to you at the start of the game. It’s everything a “Harry Potter” fan could ask for. Being placed directly in the setting of the story while creating your own setting is a fan’s dream.

In addition to the game’s setting and beautiful graphics, “Hogwarts Legacy” is undeniably fan service. You can ride a broom, buy a wand at Ollivander’s, drink butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks and ride a Hippogriff. While these are fun activities, they add nothing to the game’s actual plot, which is a bit bland. The game fulfills every fan’s dream of wanting to visit the fantastic world of “Harry Potter”, but for a casual gamer, there isn’t much there.

While “Hogwarts Legacy” is a nice addition to the “Harry Potter” franchise, it adds little to the lore of the magical world. The game is mainly about transporting fans to a fantastic world that they have no doubt dreamed about. There is little to add to the story because JK Rowling finished it in 2007.

For a “Harry Potter” nerd, this game is a masterpiece, but for a casual gamer it’s fine. Once the hype for “Hogwarts Legacy” is over, it will be very difficult to create better fan service. Currently, JK Rowling and Warner Bros. their very best to make the most of their biggest franchise, even if it means shooting dead.

“Hogwarts Legacy” may be the last mainstream media hype for “Harry Potter” for a while. The series is over and it might be in his best interest to let him die. The game is a good addition to the “Harry Potter” universe, but I can’t imagine what else could be added to satisfy the fans.

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