Hogwarts Legacy Review - A Voice Actor's Take
The Harry Potter Universe game all Milllinieals have been waiting for!
As a voice actor, I have a different take on reviewing things and I really look for and recognize different aspects of games that other reviewers may not. And hey, this is just my opinion so I recommend checking the game out to form your own. This review is Spoiler & Drama Free for your reading pleasure! Enjoy!
The wizarding world is vast and wonderful! Let's be honest though, I'm not a die-hard Harry Potter fan... heck I haven't even read the books. That being said, I am an avid lover of fantasy worlds in the TTRPG, Video Games, and Theatrical space, and the Wizarding World universe is an amazing one that everyone should look into a bit more whether through the movies, traditional text, or maybe even this game 🤔. Read more to find out!
Having played on the Playstation 5, you are immediately drawn into the world from the main menu. The iconic music that started with Harry Potter (Composed by the greats of John Williams, Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper, and Alexandre Desplat) is omnipresent and pulls you into the world almost all times. After you create a character and the opening scene plays through, chills just go down your spine. (Shout out to Peter Murray, J. Scott Rakozy and Chuck Myers for composing Hogwarts Legacy and continuing to give us frisson).
Here you go for your listening pleasure 😁
The gameplay isn't revolutionary by any means but the minute you begin venturing with Professor Fig, you can feel the power that you have in your hands. As always when I begin a game I like to do some... interesting things to try and get ahold of the controls before the tutorial tells me what to do so I can really focus on other things. In this case, the classic jump, roll, and strafe were apparent and pretty standard. But... the wand's basic attack... whoa! instantly the haptic feedback on the controller sparked nothing but joy from my fat little fingers. The whippiness of the wand and how you just destroy pots and boxes with ease really made the intro fun rather than your typical tutorial.
Hogwarts Legacy has a couple of performance and graphic modes and played around with each during the tutorials and really noticed that performance mode made the game sooooo smooth and still was beautiful in its own right. Highly recommend that setting!
The world itself is alive and MASSIVE. I think I spent 30 hours and didn't even make it through half of the map. So much to do, so much to explore, and so many hidden gems littered throughout every cliff edge, poacher camp, ruined mansion, and mountain crevice. Revelio, Revelio, Revelio is the name of the game... and I would recommend waiting to explore until you get a broom. So much faster!
Spells, Spells, and more Spells
There are 31 totals spells and spell-like abilities:
4 Control Spells like Levioso
4 Force Spells like Accio
5 Damage Spells like Bombardo
4 Utility Spells like Lumos
3 Transfiguration Spells like Conjuring
3 Forbidden Curses like Avada Kedavra
3 Beast Care Spells (Yes you have a freaking ZOO!! and it's amazing!)
8 Essential Utility Spells and Abilities like Revelio
With all of that noted, there are countless... and when I say countless, I mean COUNTLESS, ways to use these spells in the world to dispatch enemies, solve puzzles, and find hidden locations throughout the world. I love the ability to just change up the way you fight throughout the game as you learn more and more spells. I highly recommend picking up the multiple spell slot options when you get access to the "Talents" tree as it really is a difference maker for quickly swapping to spells that are necessary to fight different enemies and to quickly solve puzzles.
The gameplay with spells is smooth in all aspects and it's just plain fun to hang a bad guy in the air with Levioso and Confringo them across the map or make a troll hit himself in the face with his own club.
Voice Actors GALORE!
As a voice actor myself, you may be expecting a wee little bit about the voice acting in
Hogwarts Legacy. Well, let me tell ya... It's GOOD..like really good... for the most part.
The characters are immediately likable, annoying, or despised based on their specific purposes and the cast of 40+ voice actors was able to pull nuance and drama as needed for most scenes. My only exception to this is during the extremely stressful scenes toward the end game for the main character. No spoilers, but the exclamations were leaving something to be desired. Speaking of the main voice actors, I played as a male and used the standard male voice. The really unique option that Hogwarts Legacy provides is not only to be able to identify however you want in terms of gender but more so that you can actually change how the voice sounds in regards to being more masculine and deeper or higher pitch.
Now that is a GREAT idea and feature, but the execution was lacking, unfortunately. They seemed to have used a pitch shifter in the game which causes the voice to have quite a few "artifacts" and can really take you out of the natural voice of the voice actor, and thus out of the story. I believe if they would have just provided three options (One Low, one standard, and one High pitch) for the voice, it would have turned out much cleaner and still provided the essence of the thoughts they were having there. But I do understand what they did is WAYY more cost-effective.
That was the Good... Here's the Bad
Now here is the part everyone wants to skip through or straight to, depending on your outlook on life. I won't berate things too much and will provide a possible solution to whatever issues I may have as I like to think I'm a critical thinker at times.
With my opinion on the voice acting noted already, I do think the standard voices for both the male and female characters sound almost too much like Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) for my liking but that's just my American ears being silly so no points from Gryffindor there! Speaking of the houses in Hogwarts Legacy, I was... disappointed in the lack of questions the sorting hat asked in order to get your selection. I don't mind the ability to choose whatever house you want, but I wish it was more thorough (like 10 questions even) during that process. I believe I had old Facebook quizzes that were more detailed. Does it really matter because, in the end, you can just choose whatever house you want? No. But if they provided the option to make it permanent, a longer sorting hat questionnaire would be awesome.
There were a few odd camera angle happenings during dialogue cut scenes where you would just be looking into a wall while choosing what your characters say. I believe they fixed that pretty quickly in a patchy, but it happened often enough in the first few hours that I should note it. The only other graphical issues I really saw were during the maze puzzles if an enemy was near and saw you while you were in the maze, the maze would disappear and so would the treasure. Also, depending on the cloak you wore, it will do some odd things while running.
Hogwarts Legacy is an exciting and wonderous journey that will keep you coming back for more of its intriguing story, lovable characters, myriad and numerous puzzles, and continuation of world building in the Wizarding World Universe. The small gripes and complaints that occur are minuscule at best compared to how well the game is produced and composed. If there was a way for friends to join in on your journey, it would be the perfect game for the Hogwarts Universe.