Hogwart’s Legacy

My daughter who is closing in on 18, and my half century year old self have both been fans of Harry Potter and the Wizarding World. I read the books to her when she was younger and then on my own. We’ve watched the movies and it has always been great bonding for us.

We however are not huge Rowling’s fans after ever very biased, bigoted and hateful comments that should have just been kept to herself. Like too many authors and entertainers she amassed a huge following and decided she would use it as a platform to share her personal views. Which went largely against a large number of her fans who are more open and accepting of people than she is.

Luckily she had zero input into the game. Some people who are 100% J.K. fans automatically are going to miss out on about as good of game as Wizarding World fans could hope for in Hogwart’s Legacy. While Avalanche Games does throw a little shade a J.K. with some same sex relationships, transgender characters and the ability to make a fairly open character with pronouns left as they/them, they don’t go overboard with doing this.

They handle it tactfully even if for the time period the game is set turn of 1899, it’s a bit harder to imagine it being so open. Then again this is a game about magic wands, potions and dragons. Who knows maybe Wizards and Witches of the time were a century or so more progressive. Either way it doesn’t hurt the game or tone and if it does for you, you most likely have more issues to worry about than playing a video game.

I preordered the Deluxe edition on Steam when it first came available. I knew my Desktop would handle it but had some concerns about the Steam Deck which has become my device of choice to game on when I feel up to it health wise. Luckily it got Steam Deck Verified before early launch.

During early launch we spent about about 10 hours into the game. I put a couple hours in on my Steam Deck with no issues and it ran a solid 30 FPS except the very sparse drop to mid to high 20s on some cutscenes. Note that I made no changes to the stock installation settings. Also note that I play in performance mode as I am plugged in while in bed or on the sofa 99% of my playtime. My daughter had about 8 on our primary desktop which is an aging i5-7400 @ 3Ghz, 16GB RAM, SSD with a GeForce 1060 GTX and reported no issues either.

At this point we have over 35 hours in with the majority of them being my daughter on the PC and me making up about a third of the remaining hours on the Deck. During those hours we each experienced one crash. For her it was a CTD for myself it was a crash that locked up Proton causing a force restart of the switch. Note both of these crashes were prior to the Day 1 patch and we haven’t ran into any further issues since.

Gameplay is fun and a lot more interesting and in-depth than I expected. Learning the various arts like potion making, herbalism, and so long always gives you something to do. I am known for almost always turning off in game music but the soundtrack is perfect for reminding you what world you are in. There are more than enough side quests to keep you busy, to the point of falling behind and losing track of the main quest.

There are puzzles at every turn that are both hard but not impossible. I have yet to have to refer to a walkthrough as much as at times I wanted to. This game really keeps you wanting to avoid spoilers and accomplish things on your own. You will meet a lot of classmates and others on and off campus, however there is really a fairly limited pool that you regularly interact with. That said you will quickly make close friends and even your own Draco Malfoy types who you will hate but might end up have a truce with.

All in all my daughter and my biggest complaint is the lack of better character customization. There are a fair number of presets but there is no ability to adjust outside those presets such as adjust lips or cheeks, noses to your own design outside the presets slider. There is no hight or weight adjustment. I like the amount of control over skin tones and as mentioned there are a fair amount of sliders.

However by modern standards it’s barebones. It’s sad when I have played phone f2p games that have better character creation when you can only really only see your character at the selection screen than a $70-90 USD that everyone is going to want to go all out on character design. It is for this primary reason along with my dislike of how hard on the Deck and I assume PC selection of Foo Flame travel points is harder than it should be. I watched my daughter do fast travel via KVM and it was smooth as could be. I do so on the deck and I eventually give up and fly or walk there.

That said we still rate this game a very strong 9/10 and already call it GOTY for us.

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