If there is a game that the whole video game world is waiting for with feverish impatience, it is Hogwarts Legacy. Since its announcement in September 2020, the title from Warner Bros Games and the Avalanche Software studio has crystallized a childhood fantasy: that of being able to embody a wizard in the magical world of Harry Potter, all with total freedom. After more than 5 years of development, the game is coming to its final stretch and the February 10, 2023 release is fully maintained. Proof that Hogwarts Legacy will be released on time and will not be postponed for the umpteenth time: we were able to play it last week in the French premises of Warner Bros Games. We created our own wizard, we walked through Hogwarts castle and explored the surrounding world, we tell you all about our little hour spent with Hogwarts Legacy.
For confidentiality reasons and to protect themselves from any spoilers, the Avalanche Software and Warner Bros Games teams marked our hands-on session. Of the 60 minutes of play planned so that we can get a first idea of the game, we started the adventure by creating our character. An aspect that had already been shown by the developers in one of their livestream shows, but that we were able to test ourselves. As usual, it is possible to customize everything: gender, ethnicity, face, hair color, eyes, nose, mouth, hairiness, scar, voice tone, etc, etc. But for people like me who hate spending hours shaping their avatar, there are presets that won’t waste too much time. So, you can see it in the video, I made a fairly classic character, not too crazy, because the hands-on session was timed. In any case, know that this character editor allows you to create facetious and even grotesque characters, you will be completely free in your actions.
THE MAGIC OF THE DRAWER
Once our wizard has been created and dressed, because yes, you will also have a whole bunch of cosmetic choices so that he looks devastating in the middle of Hogwarts; personally, we opted for the full white pajamas (for comfort), fitted with a split cape in the middle (for swag), we can finally go on an adventure. It was therefore the discovery of Hogwarts, of its garden to begin with before entering the enclosure of the castle. First observation, the game is really pretty. We are not on an ultra next gen rendering, but there is enough to indulge in contemplation. Like this sequence at the beginning of the adventure, which makes us discover a castle located on a rock in the middle of the sea. Between the wind, the swell, the sound of the sea, all combined with a well-placed camera, the wow effect was present. We notice it quite early: the environments are rich, they are teeming with details, the textures are fine, the animations neat, there is a real atmosphere, an atmosphere that emerges directly from the game. that we realize that the world of Hogwarts Legacy is alive. It’s teeming with people, students go about their business and it’s even possible to interact with almost all the NPCs you meet. So admittedly, they don’t all have something interesting to tell, but this lively crowd allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the world of the Harry Potter era.
And it is while strolling in Hogwarts that we realize that the world of Hogwarts Legacy is alive. It’s teeming with people, students go about their business and it’s even possible to interact with almost all the NPCs you meet.
And it’s the same observation inside the castle, with even more characters circulating in the halls, corridors, bedrooms, library and other balconies. You literally have the feeling of being immersed in this wizarding world, and there is a certain magic to be there. Unfortunately, as already explained, the demo was marked out and above all timid, impossible to waste your time and you had to chain the first missions. We started with a small favor for Enora Everleigh, who asked us to solve the secret of the painting. It was necessary to find a butterfly hidden in the decor, located either from the place of departure. Nothing very complicated, but a way to familiarize ourselves with the controls of the game and how to trigger the first magic spells. This is where we realize that by holding down the R2 button, we can cast spells assigned to each button on the controller. Magic spells that can obviously be combined, and that can even be assigned by going to the options. It will then suffice to press the left or right directions of the directional cross to switch from one series of powers to another. Moreover, to put all these powers into practice, there is nothing like going to talk to Lucan Brattleby to trigger a fight in a team of two and practice launching Incendio, Accio, Levioso, Diffindo or even Lumos correctly. You will also notice that each time you use a spell, a cooldown is set up, forcing you to wait several tens of seconds before being able to trigger the same spell again.
MY BELOVED SORCERER
To go a little further in our game session, the developers invited us to trigger one of the missions offered by Poppy Sweating and its story of poachers. The opportunity to play Sherlock Holmes by searching a makeshift camp and going to an area infested with guards who must be taken by surprise. A shot of invisibility and we’re ready to play Sam Fischer by swinging Petrificus Totalus to transform these tracking poachers into frozen pieces of wood. It’s pretty well found and it forces the player not to venture too much into frontal combat, because the enemies are not only tough, but in addition, they attack in groups. This is also where we realize the limit of the clashes, the game being devoid of a melee attack system. Everything is done using the magic wand, which is quite frustrating when no finds himself glued to the enemy, this is where we realize that something is missing in the game design. Fortunately, after a stage, the powers become more effective and impressive, which gives way to rather explosive clashes, provided you switch magic spells well.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to go further in the analysis of Hogwarts Legacy, Warner having meticulously marked out the demo. But at least we were able to taste the open world by moving around with the broom. Here again, the zones not to be exceeded were understood, but the little that we were able to experience was quite exhilarating. If the brush lacked a bit of speed, know that it will be possible to make it evolve and even to customize it; without forgetting that the game includes other means of transport. But we will come back to this in the full test when the time comes.