Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, February 07, 2023
Deciding based on controls

If you pre-purchased the Deluxe Edition of Hogwarts Legacy on the Epic Games Store or Steam, you can play it on PC today. Early reports tell of some graphics problems on PC, but otherwise most reviewers are quite positive about the game. Me, I still don't know. After seeing more of the game, I have a concern: Do I really want to play this on a PC?

I do have an XBox controller on my PC that allows me to play games that require a controller. But that is not my preferred way of playing. I like keyboard and mouse controls, which are "lean forward" control schemes, where you sit upright in an office or gaming chair. Controllers work better "lean backward", you slouch on a couch or armchair in front of a console. When I look at Hogwarts Legacy, it very much seems as if it requires a controller. Even the user interface on the screen shows the spells you can use in combat arranged like the buttons on your controller. As there are only 4 buttons, if you want to cast any spell not mapped to the 4 current buttons, you need to switch to a different set of buttons, there being 4 sets of 4 buttons. Typical controller scheme, quite annoying if you play on a keyboard that happens to have more than 4 keys.

Yesterday I played Against the Storm again, a game which I still enjoy from time to time, although playing it less intensive now. Against the Storm is a typical keyboard and mouse controls game. I really wouldn't want to play this using a controller (and I don't even think the option exists). And I bought the controller for the PC because there are games that don't work very well with keyboard and mouse. Still, I prefer controller games on consoles, not on PC. I have no problem playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my docked Switch console. But sitting upright in my office chair with a controller in hand in front of the PC somehow isn't really comfortable, and doesn't feel right.

Related to that is that I am not a huge fan of combat systems that involve button mashing on a controller. Even for Breath of the Wild that is the part I like least and am worst at. From what I can see, Hogwarts Legacy is a lot more combat-heavy than the books and movies were. I would have hoped that they would have adapted open-world game design to the world of Hogwarts, instead of the other way around. I love Breath of the Wild because you can do a lot of things without constantly fighting, and had hoped that Hogwarts Legacy would be more like that. "Let me grind a few more goblins, so that I make another level" somehow doesn't feel like Harry Potter to me.

So, for the moment I am not buying the game yet. I need to wait for more people to play it, and hopefully get some feedback on the viability of keyboard / mouse controls. If I had a PS5, I'd buy that version, but the only current generation console I have is the Switch. The Switch release is on July 25, and I have some serious doubts about how well the game runs on that console, which is a bit underpowered compared to other consoles or a PC. So waiting for the Switch version might not be the best option either.

Have you thought about streaming the game to your TV using Steam Link? All you need is a device that can connect to your TV and that has a Bluetooth or USB connection for your controller. Any laptop will work and many phones and tablets can work. Some modern TVs can actually run the Steam Link app natively.
Interesting idea, I should look into that. Never tried Steam Link before.
I read a reddit thread that said M/K is good if you remap the key bindings since the default ones are not good. Also, Green Man Gaming has 15% off the deluxe version. I just bought it.
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