Hogwarts Legacy is a dream comes true for every Harry Potter lover: the review of Avalanche Software’s new open world
September 2018. I had just received a copy of Spider-Man from Insomniac Games, and upon starting the game, my first reaction was to call my father, the first true fan of wall-climbing, to show him the realism in the movements with which the Marvel hero twirled through the skyscrapers of New York City.
Almost five years have passed since that day. Faccio partire Hogwarts Legacy e, ancora una volta, ho chiamato la mia ragazza per iniziare insieme la nuova avventura di Avalanche Software. Just like the books first and the movies later, the new open world video game inspired by JK Rowling’s literary universe has also been, these days, our refuge, a reference point to hole up in, like when it’s raining outside and the only solution is to turn on the bluray player, cover on your lap, Harry Potter collection and off with the marathon.
The choice of the house
Time flies. After an hour-long prologue that, so to speak, also took me full speed through Gringott’s winding tunnels. (in the meantime, sequence after sequence, a thirty-two-toothed smile mixed with astonishment and tears of joy was building on my face), I finally arrive at Hogwarts ready to be sorted into one of the four houses. I had already taken the test on Pottermore: the result of the questionnaire had given me Hufflepuff, whose crest is immortalized proudly on my leg (follow Arianna FreezingMoon Tattoo on Instagram).
However, I am forced to take the test again because I do not remember my login information-I could have skipped the sorting if I had entered the right credentials-and coincidentally I am again, after answering a couple of questions from the Talking Hat, a Hufflepuff. I reach the common room: time to close my eyes to let a few hours pass before taking part in my first class ever, Defense Against the Dark Arts.
I finally learn to shoot spells, not even if I had a revolver in my hands, at the speed of light. I knock out my partner Sebastian Sallow, and I also find out that to annihilate my rival’s “Protego,” I have to cast a spell of the same color as his protective barrier: for example, Fire is red while Accio is blue.
It will then be crucial to understand the importance of concatenating different spells-and possibly enhancing them by spending experience in the available talents-to quickly reduce the enemy’s health. With Glacius I freeze that damned spider that has decided to charge me mercilessly, and afterwards, with Incendio, I make it literally catch fire, maximizing the damage. If Ron Weasley had known about this devastating combo. Some spells, however, we will “unlock” by participating in a variety of private lessons, subject to the completion of specific assignments required by professors, totally unrelated to the spell itself, which break in some ways “the magic” of learning with classmates: try that potion, break that balloon, and, only after that, can you learn Repulso.
The arrival in Hogsmeade
Another three hours pass and I find myself in Hogsmeade. A quick hop, to enjoy a Burrobirra, at the Three Broomsticks, and then move on from Olivander (not our Olivander mind you) to get my new wand: to find the right one, I turned all the shelves carefully ordered by the store owner upside down, in one of many homages to the Harry Potter books (here our Matthew reveals some curiosities related to the saga).
Finally, before returning to the castle, I buy my first broomstick. Here then is where Hogwarts Legacy gives me another nostalgia operation, probably the strongest (personal) moment of the entire production. I rise into the air and take off at full speed in the direction of the school. A feeling of freedom invades me: how wonderful to fly on my broomstick and fly over the castle spires, dive down to the Quidditch pitch, touch the surface of the lake near Hogwarts and cast an eye over that bridge that, dozens and dozens of years from now, will collapse thanks to Neville during Deathly Hallows Part 2, when one boy managed to stop half an army of You Know Who (which, for the record, is missing as never before from a story that will ask us to investigate ancient magic since we seem to be the only ones who can master it).
The sense of discovery is most powerful both outside the walls of the school of magic and witchcraft and within them. Take a tour of the Bath of the Prefects, after opening the lock with Alohomora (it took me 30 years to understand the minigame); have a chat with Almost Headless Nick; sneak into the forbidden section of the library in an attempt to escape the Pix and finally, enter the Room of Requirement to build your own little haven of the heart (but also take on slow crafting). As much as everything works, and frankly I would be perfectly fine with it, there are some critical issues that I feel I must point out.
The dangerous dungeons
Of course, our life at Hogwarts will not be all peaches and cream. From time to time, he will have to venture into dangerous but at the same time wonderful dungeons, for, after all, who is better prepared than a fifth-year student to face giant cave trolls. The atmosphere, as a whole, works, the fighting also, too bad that one will feel, in the long run, a certain underlying repetitiveness, especially in the environmental puzzles, which will be reiterated several times within the same areas to be explored.
In addition, the open world of Hogwarts Legacy, despite being beautiful to look at, will feel a bit empty-as one moves away from the castle-and filled with assignments and side quests typical of the video game genre to which it belongs. However, I think that, in general, it can be particularly difficult to develop a video game that manages, at the same time, to build a great story, to evolve all its characters, and to make us play and experience a thousand adventures as Hogwarts and the vast countryside around it explode with life. In any case, I think it is only fair to give kudos to Avalanche Software for making a game that is a real love letter to all Potterheads.
“There is something about Harry Potter that makes life richer, like when things get really dark and times are really hard. His stories give us places where we can go, where we can rest, feel embraced….” Emma Watson – Harry Potter Reunion. Replacing Harry Potter with Hogwarts Legacy.