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Hogwarts Legacy Proves Single Player Games Aren’t Dead

Greg Devine


Picture of Hogwarts Legacy

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Single-player games have been a rarity in recent years. The gaming industry has been taken over by the free-to-play model, simply because, in the long run, it can make more money for the developers. What it doesn’t equal, however, is better games. The last true masterpiece of a game I played was Red Dead Redemption 2. Its single-player story was incredible and, in truth, emotional. Since then, no video game has truly wowed me until now.

Hogwarts Legacy is breathtaking. The way the developers have created the Harry Potter world is stunning. I can easily waste hours just running around the castle, exploring locations from the films that have been reproduced in great detail, and even discovering areas only ever mentioned in the books. It feels like the developers didn’t just put hard work into this game but also some love. The latter is especially important when creating a game based on a very popular franchise. It would’ve been so easy to create a game with the sole purpose of making money, but this doesn’t seem the case with Hogwarts Legacy.

Currently, the game doesn’t include any microtransactions, which have been a staple of video games during the last five years. Instead, the game focuses on telling a great story, having fun combat mechanics, and having a massive, detailed open world for players to explore. This, to me, is what games should all be about. The most important thing should always be the gameplay, but more recently, video games have become more focused on generating profit than being the artforms I thought they were meant to be.

Casting spells as a student in a virtual Hogwarts is incredibly enjoyable. Combat spells have a small cool-down on them, so you can’t just spam them, so they constitute a good skill to master. Chaining different spells together in order to defeat an enemy is great fun and it often feels very rewarding. Hogwarts Legacy provides the best combat mechanics I’ve seen in a game for a long time. It only helps prove my earlier point, where I believe the developers have really cared for the game they’ve made. EA cannot be proud of FIFA right now, but the team behind Hogwarts Legacy must know that they’ve created nothing short of a masterpiece.

You can easily spend hours flying your broom around, exploring the open world the game provides. Hogwarts Castle is incredibly detailed and feels alive during the day and night. The halls are full of students during the day, as you’d expect, but come night-time, you’ll see familiar and loved faces from the franchise in the form of ghosts. One example is Peeves, who is constantly trying to catch you doing the wrong thing. His characterisation is perfect, and he’s bound to make you chuckle.

If you leave the castle and explore the Scottish Highlands, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views. You can visit Hogsmeade where almost every building and shop can be entered and explored. The game is set in 1890, so you won’t find any faces you recognise, but this has given the game-makers the opportunity to introduce new characters. The wand shop, Ollivander’s, is still present, and there’s still a Mr Ollivander, only this one is from a few generations prior to the one we see in the films and books.

You’re not just restricted to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, either. The map is full of little hamlets, forests, caves and more; I actually don’t want to say more, as I don’t want to spoil it for you, in case you pick up the game yourself. Along the way, you’ll encounter enemies in many forms, such as spiders, trolls, skeletons and hostile wizards and witches, which provide enough of a challenge without being too difficult to overcome. Should you want more of a contest, the game provides a range of difficulty modes to suit every player. I’m pleased to see a ‘story’ difficulty in this consideration; this makes the game incredibly easy and allows non-gamers to still experience the world of Harry Potter should they wish. It also means the game can be played by younger children. This is important when you consider that Harry Potter is supposed to be a fictional series for children.

Screenshot from H

I feel that the story of Hogwarts Legacy isn’t as good as that offered by Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption, but maybe this is because it isn’t really tailored to me. I’m not a huge Harry Potter fan, but the fact that this game can still keep me entertained for hours shows what a good job the developers have done. I’ve not known one game be so appropriate for so many different audiences. It’s very impressive.

Should you be thinking about buying Hogwart’s Legacy, I recommend you should. It’s not cheap at around £50, but I’m constantly seeing deals online. I paid £35 for the PC version, which is fantastic value for money when I consider the amount of time I’ll spend playing the game. 

I personally rate a game’s value for money at a minimum of £1 an hour. If I spend £10 on a game, I expect to get, at a minimum, 10 hours of gameplay from it. I think, even at £50, you’ll get your money’s worth from Hogwart’s Legacy. The game is a work of art, which is the best complement I could possibly give.

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