It has promise, but also potential pitfalls
Sony and Warner Bros. hosted a State of Play presentation just for Hogwarts Legacy today (no other games slipped in), and aside from a wide-ranging gameplay overview, we also learned the release window: it’s set for holiday 2022 across PC, PlayStation, and Xbox.
It’s been a year since we last touched on Avalanche Software’s magical action RPG, so the stream had a ton of ground to cover. For folks that are (or were) tapped into the wider Wizarding World, that means lots of references to spot. As someone who feels very far removed from Harry Potter, I was just curious to see how the open world is shaping up.
On that front, I see some elements that I’m into, whether it’s customizing a space for magical beasts, searching for secret passageways between classes like Herbology and Defense Against the Dark Arts, and flying around the countryside, especially as winter sets in. I also like the custom-character setup and everything that (hopefully) entails.
On the flip side, coming off of Elden Ring, which has absolutely sucked up all of the open-world energy in my room, some parts of the State of Play stream looked too… standard? Growing plants is all well and good, but the countdown timers definitely stand out.
And while the premise of exploring magical grounds is enticing, I’m less convinced by the spell-casting combat at this point — it’s flashy, but it seems like it’ll get old in terms of run-of-the-mill encounters. Story-wise, there are rumors of a “mounting goblin rebellion,” to say nothing of dark wizards in the mix, and you’re coming in as a fifth-year student.
Admittedly, Hogwarts Legacy has a bigger scope than I was expecting — and I’m sure it’ll be open-world RPG comfort food for a lot of players. I imagine it’ll sell very well, and there’s already excitement. That said, J.K. Rowling continues to do this game zero favors, and so far, I’m not convinced I need to play it. I guess Witchbrook is more my speed.
For folks who are resonating with Hogwarts Legacy, even tentatively, I hope the familiar big-budget open-world elements don’t get in the way of what should be a cool game.