Hogwarts Legacy, the new action RPG by Avalanche Software, offers an impressive open-world adaptation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the beloved Harry Potter series.
Despite some frame rate issues on the PC version, the game shines in its console iterations, where the engaging game play, broad spell selection, diverse game modes, and rich customisation options are best experienced.
The game begins as your created character, a Fifth Year transfer student, embarks on a magical journey to Hogwarts. Your character is immediately drawn into a conflict involving the wizarding world and a rising goblin threat, creating a narrative that, although somewhat clichéd, is immersive and rich in lore. The massive Hogwarts Castle and its grounds offer an abundance of collectables and quests, filled with familiar faces and monstrous threats.
Hogwarts Legacy boasts an in-depth magic system that enhances the game's exploration and interaction aspects. Spells familiar to Harry Potter fans are applied innovatively across game play, from capturing distant objects to revealing hidden areas. The main story unlocks much of the magic, but exploration and NPC interaction reveals a wealth of side quests that offer further powerful spells and gear.
Customization is a strong point, with options to tailor your character, wand and attire. The game's inventory system could be improved, however, as it can feel unnecessarily restrictive. Its spell-based combat is both intuitive and gradually complex, encouraging creativity. That said, it’s far from the kind of in-depth magic and combat system that fans of more experimental RPGs might long for, and managing spells could be smoother.
The PC version of the game requires a substantial setup and, despite that, has had performance issues with inconsistent frame rates. The game is more stable on PS5, suggesting that console versions offer the best Harry Potter experience right now.
Despite some flaws, Hogwarts Legacy creates a captivating and immersive world that's sure to thrill Harry Potter fans, particularly those playing on console.
The new Resident Evil 4 shows us what a remake should be
Capcom's 2023 remake of the seminal 2005 action-horror game, Resident Evil 4, surpasses its original in an astonishing way. The fully revitalised campaign offers 16 hours of tense, thrilling game play, introducing modernised controls that highlight its signature dynamic shooting mechanics. With a more menacing setting, improved pacing, and advanced movement capabilities, the game effectively recaptures the exhilaration that made the original a stand-out.
Returning to the original made it clear how necessary the remake was. The main character, Leon Kennedy, now moves and controls more fluidly, free from the frustrating restrictions of the original. Crucially, combat is more fluid and engaging without sacrificing challenge. The game offers an expanded toolset for Leon's survival but requires sharp wits and reflexes to overcome increasingly unpredictable enemies.
New mechanics, such as instant weapon switching and parrying attacks, in addition to the environment interactivity, enhance the gaming experience. The overall narrative retains its thrill, with several enhancements in game play pacing and enemy diversity, creating an ever-evolving challenge.
Resident Evil 4's 2023 remake is a no-brainer for both original fans and newcomers alike, offering action-packed horror game play at its finest. It's a testament to Capcom's commitment to delivering exciting gaming experiences, improving on the original in nearly every conceivable way. This is especially impressive considering the industry trend of publishing mediocre games to milk name recognition and nostalgia.
James Browning is a freelance tech writer and local music journalist.