Friday, February 10, 2023
Bought at launch
Hogwarts Legacy was clearly a game I was on the fence about. But in the end I decided to buy it today, on launch day. At full price, because I don't trust cheap game keys on launch day. I read up some more about mouse and keyboard controls, and that is something that seems doable. I was also a bit worried about "souls-like" combat, which might not be very enjoyable to me, but then realized that unlike Elden Ring, Hogwarts Legacy has difficulty settings, and I can adjust the combat difficulty to my reaction time, which is slowing with age.
I watched that Hogwarts Legacy stream further, and about 10 hours into the game, the world opens up a lot more. Now Hogwarts Legacy for me will be the open world game I play between a replay of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. I don't think it will stand the comparison very well. From all that I can see, it is a lot closer to the Ubisoft style of open world games than to the Zelda open world games. Pretty, but with less soul.
So why did I still buy it? Part of it has to do with the complete failure of the boycott. I fully expected there to be some version of something we have seen often before: High critic ratings contrasted by low user ratings, with the low user ratings being motivated by something other than the actual quality of the product. Instead it turns out that the user ratings on Metacritic for Hogwarts Legacy are actually *higher* than the critic ratings. Hundreds and hundreds of positive ratings from people who really like the game are completely drowning out the protests by the boycotters. And while a few woke trolls are harassing streamers of the game, on Twitch Hogwarts Legacy is the most watched single-player game at launch ever. Hogwarts Legacy is the biggest game release of 2023 up to now, and certainly already a contender for various Game of the Year awards. So the game felt both like something I shouldn't miss, and like something where me buying the game makes a political statement against harassment and trolls. Of course that is as weak a political statement as the failed boycott is, but I want to put my money where my mouth is and be on the right side of history here. Gamers should sometimes stand up against political activists from both sides and tell them to fuck off and leave us alone to our fun.
Personally I don't expect this to be my game of the year. But while the Ubisoft style of open worlds are sometimes a bit formulaic with too many collectibles and checklists of things to do, they can still be fun if you aren't a completionist. I had fun with several Assassin's Creed games, although I think the only one I ever finished was Black Flag. I think I can spend a few weeks in the Wizarding World and enjoy myself, without taking the game too seriously. I mean, even Elden Ring was a decent enough experience for me, once I decided to visit it more like a tourist than with any idea to "git gud" and beat it. Hogwarts Legacy sure is a lot more accessible and there are so many different sub-activities and mini games that I'm likely to find something that is fun to me.