The month is full of new releases, but it also sees Portkey Games’ Hogwarts Legacy finally coming to Xbox One and PS4. As one of the most successful games this year, what can fans on previous-gen consoles expect when it releases on May 5th? Let’s take a closer look.
Taking place 100 years before the events of Harry Potter, Hogwarts Legacy is about the player character, who wields Ancient Magic that could spell doom for the Wizarding world. After accepting an invitation to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, albeit as a fifth-year student, they undertake a journey to learn more about magic. Various secrets lay uncovered at Hogwarts, but when do they not? You’ll eventually uncover some of them while running afoul of Viktor Rookwood, who leads some Dark Wizards, and Ranrok, leader of the Goblin rebellion, who are interested in the protagonist for their own ends.
Hogwarts Legacy provides several options to outfit and build your character. However, from the outset, you can customize their appearance in various ways. There are multiple presets to choose from, after which you can decide on the face shape, skin color, hairstyle, hair color, complexion, scars or markings, eye color, voice tones and whether to join the Witch or Wizard dormitory. While you can’t wholesale change your appearance in the middle of the game, hair color, hairstyle and so on can be adjusted.
As per Hogwarts tradition, you’ll go through the Sorting Hat ritual and choose one of four houses – Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. While the effect of these choices on the overall story is middling, each does have a unique Common Room that looks pretty good. Furthermore, it factors into the post-game, as you compete for the House Cup. If you’ve ever wanted to represent Ravenclaw and show those nerds in Gryffindor what for, now’s your chance.
Along with walking around and exploring Hogwarts and the surrounding highlands, you also have a broom to fly around in. Mounts are also used as transportation. Sadly, one thing that hasn’t changed since launch is that there’s still no Quidditch, not even as a mini-game separate from the story. Some will no doubt be disappointed, but on the bright side, pre-registrations for the Harry Potter: Quidditch Champions playtests. So there is that.
Activities and Over 100 Side Quests
Portkey Games and Avalanche Software touted over 100 side quests before release, and you’ll indulge in activities like Dark Arts Combat Arenas, which are wave-based challenges against enemies, Broom Races, Cairn Dungeons and much more. You also have Infamous Foes (tougher enemies in the open world), and potion brewing. Of course, you can also expect dozens of collectibles, from Revelio Pages and Floo Flames to Balloon Sets and Butterflies. If you’re looking for everything, Hogwarts Legacy will keep you busy.
Characters and Companion Quests
We won’t spoil the story, but the real highlight of Hogwarts Legacy is its characters. Professor Eleazor Fig is your friend and mentor throughout the journey, and professors like Mirabel Garlick of Herbology, Dina Hecat of Defense Against the Dark Arts and Matilda Weasley for Transfiguration also appear. You’ll also meet various students you can become friends with, like Sebastian Sallow, Poppy Sweetings and Natsai Osanai. They also have companion quest chains which provide valuable rewards.
One thing, though – don’t believe the developer’s hype that its over 100 side quests can “manipulate the main campaign by virtue of the experiences they’ve had.” They don’t affect the ending in any major way, though companion quests add a few wrinkles once they’ve been completed.
Aside from exploration, you’ll be involved in a lot of combat. Hogwarts Legacy offers your basic damaging spell to attack from a distance, Lumos to light up the surroundings, Stupefy to confuse enemies, and Protego to cast a shield. Throughout the game, you’ll also unlock Repairo to restore any objects that have been destroyed, Incendio to ignite enemies, Expelliarmus to disarm them, and of course, Wingardium Leviosa to lift objects into the air. You can also unleash Ancient Magic for an additional advantage over enemies.
Following certain conditions, you can also unleash various Unforgivable Curses on foes. If you want to instantly kill an enemy with Avada Kedavra, damage them over time with Crucio and convert them to your side temporarily with Imperio, have at it. There are no consequences for doing so, though you can’t cast them on your classmates walking the halls.
Like your average open-world action RPG, Hogwarts Legacy has slots for different gear items to equip throughout the game. In increasing order of rarity, you have Standard, Well-Appointed, Superb, Extraordinary and Legendary items, which increase defense and can be upgraded. While lacking new abilities, they can have Traits to increase the effectiveness and damage of spells. The higher the rarity, the higher the Trait level.
More so than gear, cosmetics are plentiful throughout, as you equip different coats, robes, hats, glasses, gloves, masks and much more. Don the Dark Arts robes and (maybe) strike fear into allies or equip the Spider-Slayer armor, which is a full suit of armor, to channel some Dark Souls. Transmog is also available, so you can choose your appearance without sacrificing stats.
Room of Requirement
The Room of Requirement is your base, which you can change accordingly. It has a Loom for customizing and enchanting gear with different properties, brewing stations for creating potions, and even places to grow plants. Various decorations are available to dress up the place, like paintings and statues to architecture, and you can move things around as you see fit.
There’s also the Vivarium, where you can store magical beasts like Graphorns, Kneazles, Mooncalfs and more in different biomes and raise them. You can also name and play with them while adjusting the scenery. Taking care of beasts is worth doing since you can breed and sell them for profit and gain upgrade materials for gear.
Aside from the four difficulty options – Story, Easy, Normal and Hard – there is a range of accessibility options available. Text-to-speech, text scaling, high contrast text, compatibility with screen magnifiers, and colorblind presets for Protanopia, Deuteranopia and Tritanopia are available. High-contrast gameplay, which colors characters and enemies in high contrast while having a grayscale environment, is also included. You can also adjust the camera shake and disable motion blur, chromatic aberration, film grain and depth of field as necessary.
As per HowLongtoBeat, it takes 26 hours on average to complete the story in Hogwarts Legacy. With extra content, that balloons up to 43 to 44 hours on average. However, for completionists, about 66 to 67 hours of content await, and taking your time could raise that to 100 hours. Your stay in Hogwarts may not be months-long, but there’s still plenty to do in that time.
50 GB on Xbox One
Most conspicuously, no details are available currently on the game’s performance and resolution on Xbox One and PS4. The Xbox Store does indicate that it requires 50 GB of space and that HDR10 is supported, but that’s it. Cross-gen saves aren’t supported, so if you play on previous-gen consoles and want to carry progression over to Xbox Series X/S or PS5, that’s not possible.
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