There’s a lot to like about Hogwarts Legacy and the impressive job Avalanche Software has done bringing the Wizarding World to life in its new open world action RPG, from the incredible level of detail and dedication that is displayed in every nook and cranny of Hogwarts Castle to how fun the combat tends to be when it’s in full flow. Like every game, however, Hogwarts Legacy is not without its flaws, and here, we’re going to talk about a few of them.
We’ll start with the one that’s been brought up most often, since before the game even launched, in fact. Being able to play Quidditch is a big part of the Hogwarts fantasy, and the sport not being available in the game has been a disappointment to many. You can fly your broom across the map, which is incredible, but not being able to take it to the Quidditch pitch in the middle of an intense map feels like a missed opportunity. Here’s hoping Avalanche Software is keeping that in its back pocket for DLC down the road.
NOT ENOUGH EMPHASIS ON STUDENT LIFE
There were many who wanted Hogwarts Legacy to be a Hogwarts simulator first and foremost, and there are, of course, many aspects of that experience that the game nails. The one area where it falls short, however, is making you feel like you’re actually a student at the wizarding school. The classes that you attend serve as little more than set dressing for side quests, and the game is largely more focused on delivering a modern open world action RPG experience rather than immersing you in the life of a student at Hogwarts. Don’t get us wrong, Hogwarts Legacy is obviously very good at what it does- we just hope it put greater focus on having players actively participate in curricular and school-related activities.
This, too, contributes to you never feeling fully immersed in a Hogwarts student’s life- because you never form the friendships, rivalries, and relationships with your fellow students the way you’d expect to in such a setting. The game’s cast of characters is never allowed to properly breathe, and a lot of that couldhave been remedied if it had companion characters, or even did something similar to, say, Mass Effect 2’s Loyalty Missions, where a core cast of secondary characters not only has individual arcs to flesh them out further, but also forms a deeper bond with you as you progress further in the game.
Hogwarts Legacy is billed as an action RPG, but it does feel a little light on the role playing side of things, especially where its progression mechanics are concerned. There’s the skill tree – or the Talent tree, as it’s called here – which does feature upgrade options across a number of categories, though the range of options it provides doesn’t quite feel expansive enough. The loot system, too, feels quite cursory, in that it largely only revolves around increasing just three stats – your health, your offense, and your defense – or applying Traits to your gear for incremental perks. Overall, there’s very little scope for meaningful build variety.
MISSING ICONIC LOCATIONS
This one feels like a nitpick, because Hogwarts Legacy honestly goes above and beyond in its attempts to deliver a barrage of wonderfully recreated iconic locations from the Harry Potter franchise, not only within Hogwarts Castle itself, but even outside of it (though the majority of it is obviously in the school). Given how impressive of a job it does with that though, you can’t help but wonder how well some other things and locations could have been recreated in the game but are missing- like the Chamber of Secrets, for instance, which remains inaccessible so the game can remain consistent with Harry Potter canon. The Hogwarts Express, too, can only be seen barreling through the tracks outside the castle at random, and you never get to see its interiors.
CHOICE AND CONSEQUENCE MECHANICS
Hogwarts Legacy does flirt a little bit with player choice in its story, with dialogue choices and story decisions having some impact on both side and story quests- but it never goes all in on it. Not every game needs to have choice and consequence mechanics, obviously, but when you do dabble with it, it’s far better to just do it right. Building a game of this size and scope is obviously a long and complicated process, and you can see that Avalanche Software decided to prioritize other areas that ultimately serve this experience very well- but you can’t help but wonder how much more engaging Hogwarts Legacy could have been with proper choice and consequence mechanics that not only allowed you to choose what kind of a witch or wizard you want to be, but also shaped the story around those decisions.
FORMULAIC SIDE QUESTS
As open world games have become more and more prevalent over the years, they’ve adopted a very recognizable formula for side quests that very few games choose to steer away from. Hogwarts Legacy doesn’t do much of that either, which is a bit of a bummer. The side quest design is quite formulaic for the most part- sure, there are a handful of quests that stand out, but by and large, from the objectives to their characters to their story arcs, they don’t do much that leaves a lasting impression. Thankfully for Hogwarts Legacy, it’s an inherently fun game at its core, so it’s hard to be bored even when you’re taking on such side quests, but there’s no denying that this is an area where plenty of room for improvement.
Something else that you expect from pretty much every massive open world game being released in today’s day and age is plenty of technical issues. Hogwarts Legacy, to its credits, very rarely has anything that’s even close to game-breaking, but it can be a bit rough around the edges. Doors can take a couple of seconds to open while the game loads in what’s beyond them, facial animations look a bit wonky when you’re conversing with NPCs, objects can sometimes clip through the environment or even each other, and there’s plenty of texture and asset pop in. Avalanche Software has already started the process of patching these issues out, so here’s hoping the developer keeps that going.
Hogwarts Legacy also comes with a few other relatively minor (almost nitpicky) issues that can still be a bit annoying, largely because they’re recurring ones. Most of these are quality of life oversights. Like when you cast Lumos, for instance, and the light atop your wand gets extinguished as soon as you cast another spell or even climb over another object. Having to cast the spell again and again when you’re in a dimly lit dungeon can be a bit annoying, and it would have worked a lot better if Lumos worked like the Disillusionment Charm does. The spell sets system can also be a bit finnicky, especially when you’re in the middle of a hectic combat encounter and are having to swap between four sets of spells (and you might not necessarily remember where you put the spell shortcut you’re looking for). Again, these aren’t really major issues, but it sure would be nice if future patches found ways to address them.