News game Hogwarts Legacy: “it feels a bit empty”… Are concerns for the Harry Potter game justified?
Published on 16/11/2022 at 06:50
While we were enjoying a little holiday, Hogwarts Legacy invited itself to the party by offering us 45 minutes of new gameplay. On the program: discovery of the customization tool, stroll through Hogwarts and introduction to the basics of the combat system. A rich and reassuring presentation on certain points, but which nevertheless aroused new concerns…
A presentation of gameplay as we do more
Announced the day before for the next day, this gameplay presentation for Hogwarts Legacy: Hogwarts Legacy turned out to be as long as it was rich. We were able to discover the character creation tool, venture into the detailed corridors of Hogwarts and learn the basics of magical combat. Everything was led by Chandler Wood (community manager) who welcomed two members of the development team but also James Whitehead, member of the Youtuber duo XpectoGO. An interesting proposal, since it allowed someone who was not part of the team working on the game to discover it with us and ask their own questions. This diagram allowed the presentation to gain in consistency and interest. So much so that most spectators said they were satisfied with the presentation, both in form and content.
It was already the case before this stream but now I confirm it: #HogwartsLegacy is definitely THE game I’m most looking forward to in 2023. It looks so amazing for Harry Potter fans! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/THdJzHrDnH
— Matthieu Collin (@Matthiew_BC) November 11, 2022
Also, what Avalanche Software offered us was pretty solid. The customization tool proved to be comprehensive and the castle particularly detailed and pleasing to the eye. But it is above all the combat system that was expected at the turn and it seems to have reassured the skeptics. In Hogwarts Legacy, you shouldn’t just spam a key. The latency times, the enemy defense system and the choreography of the fights will push you to move from one spell to another in a strategic way. If you feel like it, you can find many details on this point and many more in our brand new we take stock of Hogwarts Legacy.
What positive for this presentation then? Well not really. Because if she succeeded in effectively sweeping away some concerns, they were immediately replaced by news for many spectators. Or rather a question in particular: as beautiful as it is, isn’t Hogwarts castle a bit empty for a game?
Pretty but empty?
If some were amazed by discovering the corridors of Hogwarts, others, like GaGzZz, lingered on rather worrying points. So much so that the Lead Systems Designer at WolfEye Studios (Weird West) and youtuber in his spare time released a video entitled FEAR for HOGWARTS LEGACY… 🧙♂️😨”. In the latter, he shares his concerns about the game, concerns shared by many players including Panthaa and Kaname who reacted to this gameplay showcase on JV’s Youtube channel. No need to beat around the bush for hours: this gameplay presentation reveals a game that is unfortunately quite empty.
We cannot honestly say that Hogwarts exudes the joy of living, quite the contrary. NPCs remain fairly static, just standing or sitting chatting. No dynamic events on the horizon or even activities for his students who still look bored in the halls of the school of sorcery. Over these 45 minutes, no animation was out of the ordinary, except for the appearance of the mischievous Peeves. Does this mean that our character will also be bored? Nothing is less sure…
Especially since the developers have taught us that activities like bavboules and wizard-style chess will not be part of the game. Add to that the fact that there will be no quidditch in play and you get little to do between classes. So what are we left with? Collectibles, Hogwarts secrets, duels, training and quests. And there too the shoe pinches… Once again, it lacks life. The NPCs delivering the quests to us are planted in the middle of a corridor or a courtyard, without even bothering to hail us or give us a sign. It doesn’t really make you want to come talk to them, especially since the sequel isn’t very dynamic either.
The staging during the dialogues unfortunately breaks the immersion. Static faces, camera shots, absence of background music… There is enough to grimace and unfortunately it does not stop there. The quests introduced during the presentation feel like not-so-thrilling Fedex quests and are always introduced the same way (no dynamic events to report yet).
Add to that the lack of soundscape (discussions, footsteps, etc.) in the corridors or the lack of inventiveness in the quests and other animations and there is something to start wondering if Avalanche Software has broad enough shoulders to host such an ambitious project. To tell the truth, the question had already tormented our minds last March in the article Hogwarts Legacy: A magic trick too good to be true?. In the latter, we returned in detail to the prize list of the studio Avalanche Software, which had reason to worry in view of the titanic ambitions advanced for the title Harry Potter. But already at the time, we insisted on the big advantage of this team certainly not having the experience of the big AAA but being animated by a real passion for the Harry Potter universe.
Is Hogwarts enough on its own?
The least we can say is that this presentation was legitimately cause for concern. And yet, overall, great satisfaction emerges and the opinions are rather positive, as we have seen. But why ? Personally, I am both worried and excited. And if the first feeling didn’t take precedence over the second, it’s for a very simple reason: I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter universe. And I’m not the only one. Unsurprisingly, Hogwarts Legacy capitalizes heavily on the enthusiasm of fans of the saga, even those who are not regular players. This shows through the difficulty modes, which are clearly designed to allow all types of players to enjoy the experience, but also through the responses of the developers present during the presentation.
During the gameplay showcase, to the question “what aspect of the game are you most looking forward to for the fans to discover?” the answer was the same for everyone: appropriate Hogwarts and its surroundings. Exploring the castle and rereading the books afterwards in order to have a more personal relationship with these places and this lore, that’s what will add value to the game for the developers. And that’s good, since it is exactly what many nostalgic gamers will come looking for in Hogwarts Legacy.
If Hogwarts Legacy can be scary, it’s only if you take away the magical effect of the universe it transmits. And at this level, the work is as we expected colossal, especially in terms of sets. It is not for nothing if Boston Madsen, artist who notably shaped the castle of Hogwarts Legacy, was present during this presentation. The reconstruction of Hogwarts and its surroundings is as detailed and varied as it is successful, and the studio intends to highlight it as the main asset of the game. Will that be enough to make you forget the rest? Everything will depend on your expectations.
But note that if, for you, the magic of the Harry Potter universe will not be enough to have a good time, you should not be totally pessimistic. We have only seen a small part of a game that promises to be full. It cannot therefore be judged as representative of the entire gaming experience. One can imagine that the main or companion quests will be better brought and much more dynamic. In addition, the version presented is a version under development. If there will be no major changes made given the few months left to the developers, small improvements or corrections can be made and thus alleviate the bitter impression described above… at least we hope.
And you? What is your opinion following the Hogwarts Legacy gameplay presentation?
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