Transcript #600


MuggleCast 600 Transcript


Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #600, ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ Review: Flying, Combat, Monies, Oh My!

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 600! Your weekly ride – for the 600th time – into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: This week, we are sharing our thoughts on Hogwarts Legacy, and to help us with today’s discussion, we have back one of the OG hosts of MuggleCast, from Episode 1 – and beyond – Kevin! Welcome back, Kevin.

Kevin Steck: Thank you. I’m excited. It’s been a while.

Andrew: It has. We started podcasting together 18 years ago this August; to still be able to have you on is really awesome. How have you been? How are you doing?

Kevin: Doing very well. Enjoying working and life, yeah.

Andrew: Some of the earliest jokes on the show involving Kevin were that he was backwards compatible with various Windows operating systems, and you were a Windows fan. You’ve seen the light, though. You’ve turned to the dark side. [laughs]

Kevin: I have, yes.

Eric: Kevin, no.

Andrew: Oh, thank God.

Kevin: I’m a programmer, so if you’re using anything but Mac, you’re doing it wrong.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Wow. This is such a 180 from the Kevin I remember from the early days of MuggleCast.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Not my Kevin!

Andrew: This is the Kevin I’ve wanted all along. The Macintosh Kevin.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Role model Kevin. I just looked this up; I think, Kevin, the last episode of MuggleCast we had you on was the one where we ended the show.

Kevin: Yes.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: Nearly 250 episodes ago, almost. Episode 269. Yeah, we actually had… so Jamie and Laura sent messages, but you were on as a host on that one. And yeah, congratulations. Welcome back. We didn’t end. We told you we ended, but we actually just kept going.

Kevin: I’ve gathered that, yeah

Andrew: That was just our way of getting you back.

Kevin: Yeah, something told me that you didn’t end; I don’t know why. This is Episode what, 600?

Andrew and Eric: 600.

Andrew: I look at the title in the doc and I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that milestone.

Eric: So I did the math wrong. It was over 350 episodes ago. [laughs]

Andrew: Well, whether you’ve been listening since Kevin, Ben, and I did Episode 1, or you just started last week, we really appreciate everybody’s support over the years, and here’s to the next 600. And I mean, the timing worked out well; we just finished reading Chamber of Secrets last week, and we’ll get started on Prisoner of Azkaban in a couple of weeks in our Chapter by Chapter series, but for now, we’re going to take a little break and talk about Hogwarts Legacy. Oh, actually, Kevin, so when we have guests on these days, we ask them for their fandom ID, and just so people can quickly get to know you in terms of what interests you in the Harry Potter fandom, what is your favorite Hogwarts House, your favorite book, and your favorite movie?

Kevin: I think favorite book is Prisoner of Azkaban. Hogwarts House is probably Ravenclaw. Favorite movie, probably Prisoner of Azkaban.

Eric and Laura: Nice.

Eric: One of those rare folk who can tolerate all the changes.

Kevin: The changes, yes.

Laura: Hey, it’s a great movie. Also, I just want to observe, three Ravenclaws on the panel today. Represent.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Well, is Micah still a Ravenclaw? Because he totally has been leaning towards Slytherin lately.

Andrew: Ooh.

Micah: I don’t know. We’ll have to find out.

Laura: We’re about to call that out. [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, where did he get Sorted in Hogwarts Legacy? I guess we’ll find out. Well, anyway, great to have you, Kevin; thanks so much for being on. And before we get into today’s review of Hogwarts Legacy, we want to acknowledge the conflict many in the fandom feel about supporting this game.

Eric: Yeah, the wizarding world fandom has been through very challenging times in recent years, and like many of you, our listeners, we’ve navigated an increasingly complicated landscape and have thought about what it means to be both a fan and an ally.

Micah: From the early stages of its development, Hogwarts Legacy has been a hotbed of controversy, which has stemmed largely from the uncertainty in the community of J.K. Rowling’s involvement in the game.

Laura: And as we’ve stated many times on this show, we do not agree with J.K. Rowling’s harmful views on trans people. We are continuously disappointed that the creator of the wizarding world expresses these views. Her views are very much her own, and do not reflect those of any member of this podcast.

Andrew: We have played Hogwarts Legacy, and we’ve mostly loved it. And we know that talking about it is what our listeners expect from us, and we are continuing to provide the escape into the wizarding world that we promise everyone. With that said, for listeners who want to enjoy the game but feel conflicted about purchasing it, we recommend used copies of the game, which are often available very soon after release.

Eric: Having played the game now, we feel that a lot of things contained within it align with our view of what the wizarding world should be, namely in its diversity and the sense of wonderment it recaptures from our youth. Candidly, we know not everyone will like that we’re talking about the game, but we believe that everyone who found an escape and a home at Hogwarts should continue to do so, if that’s what their heart is telling them. It’s a deeply personal decision, and it should not be solely decided by whatever you’re reading on social media.

Micah: And we encourage those who feel conflicted to join us in supporting organizations like Trans Lifeline, Lambda Legal, The Trevor Project, Transgender Law Center, and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.

Laura: We’ve spoken behind the scenes for a while about the approach we hope will have the greatest impact, and that is continuing to financially and vocally support the organizations that support trans people, while also celebrating and honoring a world that has shaped who we and so many others are as people. We did spend quite a bit of time talking about why we disagree with J.K. Rowling on previous episodes; go ahead and check out Episode 469 as well as another shorter episode from January of 2020 for more info. We’ll be sure to put links to these in the show notes.

Andrew: Ultimately, we are really excited for the potential of Hogwarts Legacy to attract and expand on an accepting, inclusive fandom, which we’ll touch on a little bit today. We love this community, and we are so glad to be a part of it despite its challenges.

Main Discussion: Hogwarts Legacy

Andrew: So with that all said, before we jump into this review, just for anybody who might be wondering… you might be wondering if we’re going to be spoiling the game today, and our goal is no major spoilers; maybe some minor bits here and there. But this game is huge, so our goal today is to talk about why we love it, and we’ll be criticizing it here and there. And we’re also going to make sure that playing the game remains an exciting experience for anyone, whether or not you’ve played it already. And we haven’t finished the game.

Micah: No way. [laughs]

Andrew: I think Eric is furthest?

Eric: Probably.

Kevin: Surprise.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I mean, it just came out recently.

Micah: Yeah, well, I was going to say, I’ve been battling COVID the last couple of days, and I haven’t had enough hours in the day to be able to go through and finish the game yet, so that should give you an idea.

Andrew: [laughs] You try any of the many spells that you wield in the game to get rid of your COVID, Kevin? Or, uh, Micah.

Micah: See, already, you can’t tell the difference between the two of us.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: It’s the New York accent.

Micah: I tried Evanesco. It didn’t work.

Andrew: Evanesco didn’t work? Darn.

Eric: You’ve got to Flipendo it out.

Andrew: Micah and I did share some brief reviews a few weeks ago, so let’s start with Laura, Eric, and Kevin, who hasn’t actually played it, but he’s been watching Twitch streams.

Kevin: I have played it now, yes.

Andrew: Oh, you have? Oh, sweet!

Kevin: I downloaded it last night and it’s why I’m a little fuzzy today, because I was playing way too long.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: I think we’re all in the same boat there. I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised by this game. I don’t think it’s a shock to most people listening that I haven’t been crazy about the more recent entries into the Wizarding World franchise. Didn’t love Cursed Child. Liked the first Fantastic Beasts movie; the other two were not great. But this is definitely a big step in the right direction just in terms of the attention to detail, and the fact that it’s so clear that the people who worked on this are fans and they get it. And there is so much that is done in this game that is emblematic of the wizarding world that any Harry Potter fan, whether you’re a casual fan or a hardcore fan, would recognize, and as a fan, it just makes me feel really appreciated for the first time in a while by this franchise if I’m being completely honest, so I’m pretty excited about it.

Eric: That’s well-worded. I will go and say, also pleasantly surprised here, and there’s a lot of elements that I was not expecting for them to have brought into Hogwarts Legacy from previous games, like way back to the original Sorcerer’s Stone/Chamber of Secrets games where you’re first learning a spell and you have to do the shape of the spell; things like that are just little callbacks to the entire history of Harry Potter video games, and they didn’t have to do that, but the sort of tilt of the head, little nod backwards, ultimately makes this game as nostalgic as we are in playing it.

Kevin: See, for me, it feels like Skyrim.

Laura: Yep. [laughs]

Eric: Ooh.

Kevin: I started playing and immediately, the tracing of the spells, runes in Skyrim, it very much felt like a Skyrim game. Open world, just a different story. I do appreciate the story. And obviously, they put a lot of work into building the universe, but at the end of the day, it really feels like Skyrim to me, which is a bottomless bucket of just exploring around the world.

Andrew: That’s what I was looking forward to most. Hogwarts is still breathtaking. You cannot believe how big it is; it took me 18 hours to get into the Great Hall.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I thought you couldn’t get in there until Eric made a passing comment when we were talking last week. He was like, “Oh, yeah, you can get into the Great Hall,” or something like that, and then later that night, I went back into the game and I started actually looking for it. I was like, “Oh, that’s so funny that I didn’t accidentally stumble upon the Great Hall until I went looking for it,” and I think that really speaks to just how big the game is. And then you go into something like the Great Hall, and you’re like, “Oh my God, this is really amazing.” Seeing the points in the… I don’t know what you would call those.

Eric: Would-be hourglasses.

Micah: The vials?

Andrew: Hourglasses type things, yeah. Looking up to the ceiling and seeing the night sky. It’s just all so breathtaking. And like Kevin was saying, exploring is really, really fun, and collecting things. So yeah, I continue to really enjoy it.

Micah: One of the things we’d always talk about with the Lego Harry Potter games is that they were clearly developed by fans, and I think you can definitely say that about this game, too, because there are so many of those little intricacies – and I know we’re going to talk about some of those a little bit later on – but just those little touches that are made by the game developers of things that are in there that are strictly for Harry Potter fans, I would say more so book fans than movie fans; they did a tremendous job, and they really should be applauded for it.

Eric: Yeah. And unlike the LEGO games, where the levels are sort of restrictive – you can only go one direction – this open world-ness is a game changer. And really just there’s nowhere you can see where you can’t fly to. It’s really, really, really, really, really cool.

Kevin: It’s an experiment you do in Skyrim, which is you run in one direction and see how far you can go.

Micah: Oh.

[Andrew laughs]

Kevin: Seriously, yeah, because it’s so open world. It’s like, thousands of miles in every direction.

Andrew: I’m resisting reaching out too far into the map; I’m really trying to take my time with each area. I look at unexplored areas on the world map, and I’m like, “Oh, I really hope I don’t have to go there for a really, really long time,” just because I want to spend as much time as possible playing this game and getting the enjoyment, the discovery factor out of it. I felt the same way with Horizon Forbidden West and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s just by not exploring – and I tried to – but by not exploring as far as you can, you leave more to look forward to, so maybe that’s why I think I’ve played the least amount. I’ve been traveling the last few days, so I haven’t touched it in a few days.

Eric: So what percentage completion are we? Do we do we know our percents?

Andrew: I think like, 24%.

Kevin: I’m pretty low. I’m like, 10%.

Laura: I’m at 41%.

Micah: I think the high 20s. Something like that.

Eric: Okay, I’m 79%.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Eric.

Andrew: Eric is almost done.

Kevin: Eric is like, “I’ve explored the whole world.”

Eric: I didn’t want it to be over.

Andrew: “Where’s the DLC?” [laughs]

Eric: Well, that’s the thing: You can reach the further ends of the map, like you’re saying, and still they’ll add an element that has points and things to do all around the areas you’ve already explored, so it does keep renewing, or keeps getting fresh, or you’ll have a mission. Sometimes it’s better… I just took my broom and I flew as far south as I could – the south is the biggest direction you can head in this game – and I was glad I did because I ended up getting to some fast travel points that later I had a mission and I was like, “Where the heck is this? It’s way out.” I said, “Oh, wait, I’ve already been down there. I can just fast travel.” Good stuff. But something like a good sunset and you’re on your broom – when you get brooms in the game – and it’s just like, “I want to fly right to it.”

Andrew and Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: You know what this game really needs? And I’m sure they’re going to add this at some point. It needs a camera mode. Yeah, you can take a screenshot of your television screen through your video game console or on PC, but you need to be able to see through your character’s eyes and take a picture. A lot of games have this. Because to Eric’s point, there’s these beautiful vistas, the sunrise, the sunset, you get on a cliff overlooking Hogwarts, you’re flying along the water… it’s beautiful, but there’s no way to capture a good picture of that with all the extra stuff on the screen.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, I completely agree. It’s actually shocking it doesn’t have a photo mode built in, just because, like you said, Horizon, all of them have it.

Kevin: I’m honestly not surprised by that, though.

Eric: Really?

Kevin: Yeah. Because I mean, if you’re a game developer, you’re pushing to release the game.

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: It’s a lower priority? Yeah.

Kevin: Correct, the tertiary features are… you don’t want to hold up the game for a camera mode.

Andrew: And to that point, I think Horizon Forbidden West did release the camera mode in a subsequent update.

Kevin: They did, yeah. I believe so.

Eric: Ohh.

Andrew: Okay, there you go. Yeah, so they’re prioritizing; they’ll get there eventually. [laughs]

Kevin: They’re like, “Okay, it was successful. Now we can actually do the things we want it to do.”

Eric: It’s fun because you can watch your avatar in photo mode, you can have them be visible or invisible, but they could also do selfies and kind of do the things… and in this game, they would add a Niffler in the background; you would have all these… there would be a lot of fun little touches.

Andrew: Casting a spell pose type thing.

Eric: Yeah, so now I hope that that is something that they add later. But my biggest question – because I know what I’ve been doing – are you guys playing as yourselves? Because what I don’t think was publicized about Hogwarts Legacy is you could… it’s not that your character or your student has a name and depending on what gender you choose for the character it’s one of two names or anything. Your name is completely write-in-able, and I was not expecting this.

Andrew: Me neither! I wish they prepared me, because then I got to this, I’m like, “Oh, dang, what do I do?” I initially had Albus Scorbus, but then I realized that was redundant.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: So I decided to go for Andrew Scorbus, so I am using my real name, but also my ship.

Laura: I’m using what I use online, which is LauTee, just a shortened version of my name.

Eric: LauTee, okay.

Kevin: I’m using Filius Robus.

Eric: Oh, cool.

Micah: Ooh, I like that.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: You got really into Harry Potter-ness.

Kevin: Yeah. I figured when in Rome, might as well.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: There you go. I kept my first name, so I went Micah, but then added on a Lestrange.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Wow.

Micah: Maybe that’s what pushed it in the direction of Slytherin when I was Sorted.

Laura: Oh, that’s the Slytherin.

Andrew: Micah Lestrange. Maybe that’s a little easter egg; if you type in an evil wizard name, it’ll think about putting you in Slytherin. That’s interesting.

Eric: I wonder. No, so I didn’t go with my name at all. I knew I wanted to play as a witch, actually, for this game. And Harry Potter is such a boys’ club – we get Harry Potter, Dumbledore, Newt Scamander – I figured, I’m going to make this legacy about a young Hufflepuff witch. And I’m surprised the game let me get away with this, but I named her Eleanor Rigby.

Andrew: Oh, fun.

Eric: [laughs] Just classic. So it was like, “Eh, that sounds like it could be a 1800s name.” So yeah, that was what I did. But yeah, no trace of Eric in there.

Andrew: I went for… he doesn’t really look like me. He has Newt Scamander-style hair, though. He’s a good-looking wizard. I want to be him.

Eric: If you do say so. Yeah.

Andrew: I want to be Andrew Scorbus.

Micah: I have blue hair, actually, Laura.

Eric: Oh, really?

Micah: Blue hair, yeah.

Laura: No, it lets you totally customize the characters. They didn’t have quite blue hair, so I gave her purple hair. It’s close enough.

Micah: Does your character…? I mean, obviously everybody’s different, but I feel like my character sounds a lot like Dan Radcliffe.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: Yes, I thought that too. Pat also thought that. We’re wondering if they purposely picked that voice actor because he sounds like Dan Radcliffe/Harry Potter, because it is very close.

Eric: What’s so interesting about that is you can also… so in addition to choosing the voice actor being more of a femme or more of a masculine voice, you can also change the pitch of that voice. And this is such an interesting feature, because you can slide the pitch either down two or up two depending on what fits your character the most, and it’s still the same voice actor but they’ve adjusted the pitch even more. So I chose, I think, for the female voice, the one lower option. I think you can hear… I guess editors would call it “artifacts.” I think you can hear a little bit more of a… I don’t know. It’s something in the speech to tell it’s slowed, so I’m glad I didn’t go one lower. But yeah, it’s a really neat feature because the customizability is endless.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, it’s really nice. In terms of the game living up to expectations, I continue, like I said earlier, to really enjoy it. One of the first things I felt about the game is the castle and the wizarding world is just alive. They really did run the risk of this game being flat and not feeling whimsical; it feels like the first two Harry Potter movies to me in that there’s magic everywhere. You’re overhearing students talking about what’s going on in their daily wizarding lives. Like I mentioned I think a couple of weeks ago, I heard a passing mention to Ilvermorny, which was pretty exciting, and that made me feel like, “Oh, there are real fans working on the game; they thought to include little things like that.”

Eric: I’ll just say, too, this game really was what I wanted in terms of scope, because they couldn’t make a fully free-roaming Hogwarts in the early years when Harry Potter was first blowing up. I remember the load times on one of the Chamber of Secrets games just to go outdoors being preventative, so this really was the update modern era game that I would have wanted 10-15 years ago, for sure.

Micah: I really love the way they just seamlessly opened the world and made it feel so rich and believable. To your point, Andrew, it just feels alive.

Andrew: Yeah, and I think one of the really exciting things to think about in terms of the future is that now that they’ve got the wizarding world built, there could be a sequel one day that is based on the map and the world that they already have, so another game could come sooner rather than later.

Kevin: Yeah, there is no doubt a DLC is on the way.

Andrew: Yeah, that will come.

Kevin: Without a question, they’re going to expand that map.

Andrew: Yeah, but they could also maybe just do a more modern-day Hogwarts game if they wanted. They’ll have to update Hogwarts a bit; this game is set in the 1800s. I could see them updating the map to a more modern-day Hogwarts and do a sequel, or maybe not exactly a sequel, but just using the existing world. And it might not take as long to develop; this one was in development for probably six, seven, eight years? The next one could come in three or four years, maybe.

Eric: What’s really cool is the seasons change throughout the game, so every building, every tree, every blade of grass has been textured for all four different seasons, so that’s the coolest thing about the open world, is if you fly somewhere, it’s going to look totally different in winter than it did in summer. And in the case of, for instance, even the Great Hall being decorated…

Micah: Pumpkins.

Eric: These are things that are classic, absolute, but they had to do everything four times, which is impressive when you consider the size.

Andrew: Yeah, it’s like, “Oh, wait, no. They didn’t. They didn’t. Different seasons?”

Micah: They did.

Andrew: Or “Wait, no, I can’t swim, can I? Can I really swim? Oh, dang, I can swim.”

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: And I guess for anyone who hasn’t played or watched some videos – there’s plenty of people playing on YouTube – the game is not just Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. There’s actually… they built out an entire… basically, all across I guess the Scottish Highlands, these little what they call hamlets, tiny little towns, little villages, and it goes for quite a while. It goes for quite a way that there is a surrounding community. Some are similarly named; there’s Hogsfield, Upper Hogsfield, Lower Hogsfield…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: … and others will blow you away, so I’m just shocked at how big they went, because I think trying to set a game in Hogwarts with the option of Hogsmeade weekends would have also worked, but I’m glad they didn’t do that because you can basically spend as much time away from Hogwarts or at Hogwarts as you want.

Laura: And don’t forget the Forbidden Forest. Also very expansive. A ton to do in there.

Kevin: So what’s funny is that as a Skyrim player, you’re all surprised by the seasons and the change, but it’s like Skyrim. Like literally Skyrim.

[Andrew laughs]

Kevin: What’s shocking is if you play a Bethesda game, you will experience this in those games as well.

Eric: This is the standard of what to expect from modern gaming, essentially.

Kevin: Correct.

Eric: That’s what every modern game wants to, or is expected to do.

Andrew: And I think we’ve been waiting so long for something like this that we continue to be blown away by the fact that they actually are living up to expectations because sometimes what happens with so many things in life, you set the bar so high, you’re like, “Oh my God, I can’t wait, I can’t wait,” and then you play something or you experience something and you’re like, “Eh.” But with this, it’s like, “Wow, okay, they really did live up to what we were hoping for.”

Laura: Yeah, I think the thing is as an open world RPG, it’s pretty standard, right? Like Kevin is saying. But we’ve never received the standard from this franchise before.

Andrew: [laughs] Right.

Laura: So just as a gamer, this game is really good. But as a Harry Potter fan, it’s great, because it’s what we’ve been waiting for for two decades.

Andrew: Totally.

Eric: Yeah, I mean, we had some really creative early games in the sphere of Harry Potter gaming, but then it quickly devolved into the movie tie-in games, which were not even as good as some of those movies, which is saying something. And besides the LEGO game – maybe the Quidditch World Cup game – creativity was very lacking, and moments that you really wanted to spend time and live at Hogwarts were very fleeting. Even the LEGO games had to follow the plot of four of the movies, so it was very limited to that. Whereas this being on its own, its own story, feels like freedom, and that’s exactly it.

Andrew: Living the unwritten.

Micah: Just to go back for one second to the point about… we keep bringing up Skyrim and Breath of the Wild and our surprise at just how amazing this world is. I think part of it, though, is we don’t necessarily have a personal connection to the Skyrim world or the Breath of the Wild world, and maybe some people do and there are places that they want to go and things that they want to see, but I feel like for us… you can literally walk into any shop in Hogsmeade; they spared no expense on this, right? You can go into Zonko’s, you can go into the Three Broomsticks, and on and on and on it goes, and that’s just one example. But I just feel like there’s literally no place in this world that you can’t go. It may take you some time to get there, you may need to be at a certain point in the game, but you will inevitably get the opportunity to explore pretty much everything that you’ve ever wanted to in this world, and I think that’s just so cool.

Andrew: And that’s why it’s doing so well. And that’s what we’ve wanted; we just wanted to explore the wizarding world period. So let’s talk more about what we’re enjoying, and then we will get to some criticisms; I, at least, definitely have some. Let’s start with the flying. So this is one you get, I don’t know, maybe five to ten hours into the game. This is one of those things where you do it for the first time, and I had one of those “I love magic” moments.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: It’s just really amazing being able to fly around Hogwarts, and they guide you around the castle the first time you fly. I think, Micah, you had a similar feeling the first time.

Micah: Yeah, I mean, I really liked flying on the broom. That’s very cool. But when you get to fly on the hippogriff and you can use Highwing to go pretty much anywhere… and as Eric was talking about earlier, it’s probably worth jumping on her to go all the way south unless you want to just transport yourself there, but I would recommend doing the ride. It’s just so cool, and you see some of those landscape shots, those sunsets or those sunrises coming up over Hogwarts, depending on what season it is, and you’re on the back of Highwing. It’s just really cool.

Laura: Yeah, plus one to that.

Micah: I enjoyed that. I had a similar moment to you, Andrew. I love magic.

Andrew: I love magic!

[Everyone laughs]

Kevin: See, now I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t gotten that far yet.

Laura: It’s great.

Andrew: They also try to steer you into doing broom upgrades and I’m like, “I don’t know; my broom seems fine. I don’t think I need anything more here.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Micah: You should just be like, “My hippogriff is fine.”

Andrew: [laughs] I haven’t gotten my bird yet.

Eric: Here’s my first played-further-than-you tip: Don’t worry about the broom upgrades. Get the first one, but after that, I don’t really notice much of a change, and the later ones cost a lot more.

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: They’re expensive; I was going to say that. The first one is like, 1,000 coins and it’s like, “I don’t have that kind of money.”

Eric: The next is 4,000.

Andrew: Galleons?

Eric: I call them monies. [laughs] When the icon comes up.

Andrew: Yeah, what currency is this?

Micah: I’ve heard them say Knut at some point.

Andrew: Knuts?

Eric: Well, they talk about Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts, but the money is not delineated in that way. When you get money, it’s just a gold coin.

Laura: Yeah, I’m just saying gold.

Eric: Monies, gold.

Laura: Can we do a money check-in? Because I’ve seen some comments in this doc about people being concerned about money.

Micah: I’m poor.

Laura: How much money do y’all have right now in Hogwarts Legacy?

Micah: Not much.

Kevin: Very little.

Andrew: Not much, because I spend it as soon as I save up a little bit. Here’s my issue: Initially, you need to gather these random bits of clothing around the wizarding world that you then sell, or you keep ones that will upgrade your defense and offense, and at least for me, it was a little hard to grasp the whole system at first. And here’s one criticism that I think everybody has: You run out of storage slots very quickly unless you complete certain challenges, so it’s frustrating. You need a bigger backpack, so to speak. But one thing I didn’t realize is that there’s these chests with these giant eyeballs on them, and each of those has 500 coins in it. However, I thought you couldn’t open those till a lot later in the game. I didn’t realize you just need to make yourself invisible, sneak up to it, and then you open it up and boom, there’s 500. So once I heard that… shout-out to… I’ve been chatting with MuggleCast listeners in the Discord. We have a video game channel; people have been talking about the game there. I learned that from them, and that was a game-changer for me, because once you can open those chests – and there’s a lot of those – then you start making a lot of money.

Eric: Yeah, that was how I got my initial… I just saw on YouTube, happened to pass by because I follow the channel of the guy doing it named JorRaptor, and he had one that’s like, “Get 10,000 gold in the first 10 minutes of Hogwarts Legacy,” because as soon as you have the invisibility charm, you can go do that. Yeah, those are the best source of income. There’s just not enough sources of income in the game. Money was a constant struggle for me, and everything you want to buy – like, say, a bigger potions table, which will help you later on, when you need to stock up your potions – is like, 3,000 monies.

Andrew: [laughs] Monies.

Eric: And that’s a lot, considering you…

Laura: But you only have to buy it once.

Eric: You only have to buy it once, but your clothing options, even the best clothing option sells for 150 or 200 monies, so that’s like, 60… I mean, I haven’t done the math, but how many clothing options do you need to sell just to get a potions table? It’s not balanced. And you’re also saying goodbye to cool gear, just to get a potions table.

Andrew: I do hate selling cool gear. That’s bummed me out.

Eric: Here’s a tip. The gear is my favorite part of the game. I love accessorizing; I also love being… because all of the other characters are in their Hogwarts robes, so it’s cool just sliding all up into Charms class and you’re wearing huge newt glasses and a hoodie and a mask and all this other stuff, so that’s been really fun. A lot of what you have gotten even discarded in the game as clothing, there’s something called gear appearance options…

Andrew: Okay.

Eric: … and it’s when you’re in the gear menu and hit square over any particular thing. Some of the items you’ve gotten rid of, you can actually change the appearance of your current gear to look like other gear that you’ve had. So I have no idea why they did this, because the gear slot thing is super frustrating.

Kevin: But you do, right? The whole purpose is to keep you playing. They want to put that carrot out and have you chase the carrot.

Eric: But any one dungeon or any one cave that you go into in the game can have five or six chests, which most of them have gear, and so you’re constantly cycling through… I couldn’t complete… in order to get more gear slots, you need to do these Merlin challenges. Throwback because Merlin was a Slytherin; that’s known from extended canon, very much brought into this game. To do the Merlin challenges, I didn’t have enough ability to do enough of those because I didn’t have enough spells unlocked. It was just a constant struggle to have to shed my gear because I couldn’t get more gear slots. It was very annoying.

Andrew: And that feature that you’re describing, Eric, maybe I just missed it, but I feel like they need to do a better job of telling you about that, because HufflepuffTeach is bringing that up in our Discord now as well. And even after hearing about that a couple weeks ago, because Pat mentioned that to me, too, I don’t know where to activate that in the game, so it needs to be more readily apparent.

Kevin: I just hope they don’t add a buy option where it’s…

Eric: Oh, like in-game purchases? Yeah.

Kevin: Exactly, because that diminishes a game.

Eric: It does.

Laura: I want to go back to money, though, y’all.

Micah: I’m basically a Weasley.

Laura: I feel like you’re doing it wrong.

Eric: Wait, how am I doing it wrong?

Laura: Because okay, I constantly have 8,000 to 10,000 gold all the time.

Eric: What?!

Andrew: Whoa!

Laura: I am not struggling with this.

Eric: Are you running a beast-trading ring? [laughs]

Laura: No, not at all.

Micah: You’ve gone down the dark path, haven’t you?

Laura: So what you do is you’ve got to get that disillusionment charm like Andrew was talking about. Get into the eyeball little crates. Also, when you’re completing side missions, you’ve got to ask people to pay you. You can do that. [laughs]

Andrew: Oh yeah, I keep forgetting to do that.

Eric: I could never. I could never, no.

Laura: Why?!

Eric: Because you’re doing something out of the goodness of your heart.

Laura: I’m not!

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Eric: You’re doing an adventure.

Andrew: Laura is there for the monies.

Eric: There is always an option to say, “I have this thing for you that you’ve asked me to find, but I will give it to you for a price,” or in some cases it says, “I think I’ll keep it, actually.” It’s just like, “Oh.”

Laura: Yeah, that’s really mean. But no, you ask them for money and they’ll be like, “Okay, here’s 500 gold.” Easy.

Andrew: Oh, that’s a lot. I didn’t expect that much.

[Laura laughs]

Kevin: Andrew is like, “I just changed.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: I’m always tapping through the menu so fast that I accidentally avoid collecting money.

Micah: To that point, I think it was last night I did a side mission, and when I got back and I brought the thing, I demanded some money, and they actually paid; it was like, 300 or 500 gold coins, so it does work. It’s a tough practice to take, I guess, if you have a bit of morality, Eric, but it is just a video game at the end of the day.

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Eric: No, no.

Kevin: So I haven’t played enough of the game to feel this out, but does the response of the character that you’re interacting with change because of the money you requested? Because in Skyrim, what would happen is that you have some sort of reputation, and that reputation is on a scale, and you don’t see the scale, but your reputation fluctuates based on the responses you give to individual NPCs, non-playable characters.

Eric: The short answer is no.

Kevin: No, okay, so there’s no reputation.

Laura: Right.

Eric: In the moment you’ll get a character respond negatively to that, or like, “Oh, my feelings are hurt,” and you can hurt some feelings in this game, but yeah, it ultimately doesn’t change anything.

Laura: Yeah, we’ll get to that with criticisms.

Micah: My guy was totally cool with it. He was like, “I understand.” I was like, “Okay, I should ask for more.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Moving along here, the Room of Requirement…

Laura: Oh my God.

Andrew: I’m sure this has been a surprise for everybody. I was not expecting Animal Crossing-level customization in the Room of Requirement, basically building your own little house. [laughs]

Eric: It’s like The Sims.

Andrew: Yeah. Great game.

Eric: You can choose furniture and portraits. Yeah, the Room of Requirement, for those who don’t know, in this game is used as a hub where you can brew potions away from prying eyes; you can also eventually bring beasts into there, into their own little almost Newt Scamander suitcase kind of a thing. And they have various environments, and you can change the environment; you can change the layout, the design… it’s an entire game in and of itself, essentially.

Laura: Yeah, I love going in there and taking care of my beasts. And you can breed them, too.

Eric: Well, you can brush them.

Micah: Feed them.

Eric: Conjure a brush and brush them and then they purr.

Andrew: I was seeing in our Discord, you can breed them and sell them for money, so maybe, Laura, that’s another reason why you’ve got a lot of coins.

[Kevin laughs]

Laura: Yes.

Eric: But only 120 money. It’s not worth the 30 minutes that it takes to breed these things if you’re only going to get 120 gold.

Laura: I mean, what you do is you set them to breed and then you go do something else. You go…

Eric: You don’t have to watch them?

Laura: No!

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: You don’t have to be in the…?

Laura: Wouldn’t that be weird to be like, “I’m going to sit here and watch my Thestrals get it on”?

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Kevin: Laura has a breeding factory. This is happening.

Eric: I’ve wasted so much time just petting the Kneazles while my unicorn is getting… oh, man.

Laura: Because the thing is, you eventually run out of space in your vivariums and you have no choice but to sell excess species. And there is a shop in Hogsmeade that you can sell them to that is allegedly reputable, so I think you’re led to believe that the animals will come to no harm by being sold there.

Kevin: So you’re the capitalist.

Laura: Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: You kind of have to be.

Eric: Essentially, the whole beast angle, which is really cool and very much taking from Fantastic Beasts… the whole beast angle in the game very much owes it to those movies and Newt’s mission. You’re fighting against poachers the whole game; the greater surrounding Hogwarts area is at risk. All the beasts are at risk from poachers, so when you catch a beast in the wild, it says, “You have rescued a Kneazle. You have rescued…” No matter what, you can do no wrong. Your character is providing a home and protection, and that’s such a neat way to swing the fact that you are taking these beasts from their natural environment.

Kevin: But you could imagine the audience is likely… they’re applying to the audience, right? My nephews are likely playing this game, and you don’t want… it’s a child playing this game. You don’t want to be involving a moral conundrum.

Andrew: Scaring them.

Kevin: Correct.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, but it’s very much… again, that element feels more like Pokémon. You have to maybe use a freeze charm to get some of them to slow down a little bit, while you catch them in your knapsack.

Micah: To your point, it’s very much a nod to the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and being able to incorporate that into this game in a way that’s actually a lot of fun. I think we all enjoy Pokémon and we all enjoy going out and trying to catch all these different creatures, and the fact that we can bring them back home with us and breed them, I guess, and sell them…

Andrew: MuggleCast Episode 600: “Laura’s Breeding Factory.”

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Thank you, Kevin, for that title.

Laura: I don’t know if we want to make that the title. That might create some perceptions.

Andrew: Yeah, nope, nope.

Eric: Wow.

Micah: From “Laura’s Pants” to “Laura’s Breeding Factory.”

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: Patreon-only title.

Micah: Do you remember that episode, Kevin? “Laura’s Pants”?

Laura: I do remember that episode vividly. It gets brought up all the time.

[Kevin and Laura laugh]

Eric: So you’re not hurting for monies, Laura?

Laura: No, not at all.

Andrew: She’s got a breeding factory. [laughs]

Eric: I agonize over every large purchase I make; it’s been a real… I’m fine now, but it’s a pain.

Micah: Can I ask a legit question? Can you not sell ingredients or things that you pick up?

Andrew: I wish you could. It doesn’t seem like you can.

Micah: I have so much of that stuff. I would make bank if I could sell some of that fur or Inferi.

Eric: All the beast products allow you to upgrade some of the gear that you’re still holding on to. But yeah, just still in the realm of things I love, honestly, there are so many characters in this game that aren’t from the books. There are a few that are, of course; namely, we talked about Headmaster Phineas Nigellus black, although he’s not really in the game so much.

Andrew: Yeah, I’ve noticed that too.

Eric: In fact, instead, your classmates that you meet along the way, and the other professors that are teaching you these spells, are so unique and different, and yet feel that they fit in this world. That’s something that I think is a huge plus. A lot of times characters, especially NPCs, can feel flat, or maybe you have one or two good scenes with them, but there’s entire relationship trees that go… basically the end of your relationship line is five, six, seven episodes with each of these different students that you can find, and that’s way different. And you really get to learn about them as a person, and they’re interacting with you, and it’s like having friends at Hogwarts. It really is well done.

Kevin: The other thing I was going to say is that just out of the gate starting the game, it’s an impressive story, right? The ancient magic line.

Andrew: It’s cool.

Kevin: It makes you realize, “Wow, I’m not as creative as the people who wrote this story.” [laughs] You’re doing very well.

Andrew: Let’s talk about combat, Laura.

Laura: Yeah, I wanted to call this out, and it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword, so I’m going to start here with what I like about it, and I do have a little bit of a criticism that comes later when we get into things that we don’t like as much. I think overall, the combat is super fun. I’ve really been enjoying unlocking spells, leveling up my spells, going around in search of fights, to be honest with you, to level my character up…

Andrew: What a baddie.

Kevin: Breeding factory and a gangster.

[Kevin and Laura laugh]

Eric: Laura’s character is in a leather jacket, just a greaser, like, “Come pay your money to me.”

Laura: Actually, I am wearing a dragon-hide jacket at this point in the game.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: [toughly] “Don’t mess with Laura.”

Laura: But it makes you be very creative, right, depending on the types of level-ups that you choose for your spells, depending on if you’re paying attention to the enemy guides. So if you go into your inventory, there are enemy guides for all of the different types of wizards, goblins, creatures that you’ll run across, that will specifically tell you which spells are most effective against them. So it allows you to be really, really strategic, and I have found that element of the game to be really, really fun.

Andrew: The combat is really cool. We were cautiously optimistic about it, I think, going into the game because spellwork in previous Harry Potter games, it was always just like, “Meh,” but this is really good, really fluid. Switching spells can be a challenge. There’s a lot of spells they give you and some of them seem redundant; I don’t know if they needed to give us all these spells. On the other hand, we might be complaining if they didn’t give us enough, so maybe it was a tough situation for them to be in. Because I find myself getting stuck switching between spell sets that you can customize, and then having to load back in spells to the various sets that you have. It’s just a little wonky. I don’t love it. But when you do get into battle with somebody and you have your four that you like, and you go through these combos, it’s really satisfying. Dragging somebody towards you, throwing them up in the air, throwing three spells at them, setting them on fire… [laughs] It sounds violent, but is a lot of fun.

Kevin: Well, if it’s anything like Skyrim, it should be a bottomless bucket. You should always have something to do and achieve, so spells seems like a natural way of assuring that.

Andrew: Let’s get a little more critical now; what we don’t like about the game. Maybe this reveals itself later in the game – I’m not sure I want anybody to tell me, Eric – we don’t know early on why our character is joining Hogwarts so late. We just know that they can wield ancient magic, and the ancient magic stuff, especially early on in the game, it’s really cool. It’s really trippy and original; I was very blown away by how they kicked off the game. But the whole late-blooming wizard angle was one of the earliest things we had heard about this game, and we were really intrigued by that, like, “Oh, late-blooming, that’s a refreshing take on Harry Potter,” instead of going through the, “You’re a wizard, Andrew Scorbus,” at 11 years old, and you start off as a kid. You’re starting off as more of an adult in this game, but we don’t know why. Is that addressed?

Eric: I think that why they did it… and I do agree, from a Harry Potter book fan standpoint, “Ooh, a late-blooming wizard, how exciting.” But they don’t really go into who your character was the first 14 years of their life. There’s not… your parent is not going to write you an owl. It’s like you are a blank slate. And the reason they make you a fifth year is just because that’s probably the youngest they can possibly make you for a game where you’re fighting adult wizards, dark wizards, and trolls and goblins, and doing the kinds of things that you have to do in the combat in this game. It wouldn’t make sense for an 11-year-old to do it, and I get the feeling that that’s exactly why you’re a fifth year, because they have you facing off against these…

Andrew: I see.

Kevin: That makes a lot of sense, yeah. It allows them to accelerate the story without having you go through the years.

Eric: Right, then your character would age, and they’ve just removed all of that because 15 is like, “Okay, you’re old enough; you could reasonably survive a goblin.”

Micah: But my character looks like he’s in his early 20s, honestly, not 15.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, they do look older.

Eric: Well, that’s the movie adaptation version.

Andrew: [laughs] Some of the dialogue as you walk around is very, very repetitive. I don’t know if this is a bug; maybe they needed to record a lot more. They need to get everybody back into the studio and record 30 new lines each. You hear the same comments over and over again, as you enter Hogsmeade, for example. The Floo Network lady is saying the same two things.

Laura: Oh my God.

Andrew: It’s like, why? They need to release an update where those are being heard less.

Kevin: That’s pretty common in Skyrim. Not to keep bringing it back to Skyrim, but…

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: I’m all excited for our Skyrim review episode.

Andrew: Is this a Skyrim review?

Kevin: No, but it really is. And what it is is just it’s too expensive, so what ends up happening is a world is too large, and they’d have to record thousands of audio clips for it to actually be immersive enough for you to feel like they’re not repeating themselves.

Andrew: But can we just hear the Hogsmeade and – I almost said Skyrim – Hogsmeade and Floo Network lady stuff less?

Kevin: And that’s fair, yeah.

Andrew: Reduce how often we hear that?

Eric: Yeah, with the Floo Network, you’re going to use that function so much, so that’s the number one pain point, if you get tired of hearing her three lines. I love the idea that Ignatia Wildsmith, who invented Floo Powder, who by the way, is a little statue you go up to to use the Floo Network, a.k.a. fast travel in this game, is so vain that she just keeps bragging about her invention. I like that as a character moment.

Andrew: Okay, yeah, that’s a way to look at it.

Eric: Because she says things like, “You won’t believe how inconvenient travel was before I invented Floo Powder,” but when you hear it after the 300th time, you’re like, “Okay, okay, thank you. Just going to use your network, okay.”

Laura: This is something that I want to address that’s kind of the other side of the coin from my complimentary take on the combat. It’s something that both Kevin and Eric touched on a little early: The lack of karma/morality system in this game feels like a miss. It’s probably pretty clear from how I’ve been talking about it, I’ve been definitely playing as a vigilante…

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: … and there just don’t seem to be any repercussions good or bad for the choices that you make in the game, including the use of Unforgivable Curses. There really aren’t any downsides to using them. I have straight-up used Crucio in front of characters who you would think would be anti-use of Unforgivable Curses, and they don’t say a damn thing. [laughs] They don’t say anything.

Eric: Does that embolden you to continue to be the badass witch you are?

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Laura: No, so the thing is, the second you whip out an Unforgivable Curse, the combat becomes a lot less interesting, I think, because it nerfs everybody else, right? So I feel like there needs to be something to create a cost here. Like, they’re Unforgivable Curses.

Kevin: A reputation.

Laura: Yeah, Aurors should be descending on you when you’re using Unforgivable Curses. You should have to flee and you should have to fight Aurors in addition to the other people that you’re fighting. There needs to be more of a cost. There needs to be more weight to using them. An even more simple system would be, use Unforgivable Curses? You’re really powerful, but none of the characters want to help you and you have to go it alone. Or you go the good path, you’re not as powerful, but you get more help from other characters. That would make a lot more sense to me.

Eric: Here’s the thing for me: There seems to be some remnants of maybe they almost did that, or maybe they went a little further in doing that. Some of your talents which allow you to upgrade spells allow you to use Expelliarmus and Arresto Momentum as if it were an Unforgivable Curse, by way of saying your victim is cursed. Your target is cursed after doing that. So you have an alternate option if you don’t want to use the Unforgivable Curse; you also have an option not to learn the Unforgivable Curses. Each time one comes up is in a big story moment; it gives you a choice whether you want to learn it, or whether you want to see it be used, because the story treats them with this weight and the game allows you a presumed alternative, but they don’t go so far as to saying you can’t use the spell. The only thing that stopped… yeah.

Kevin: And I wonder if this is not just a, I don’t know, hit against the audience, which is they’re trying to apply this game to a broad, very broad audience. Skyrim, you would never play as a child, right? Because it’s too mature of a game. And as a result, they’re creating this broad swath of, I don’t know, 11-year-olds to 40-year-olds that are playing this game, and as a result, they don’t want to introduce these concepts that might be complicated for a younger audience.

Eric: I mean, I did learn Crucio as part of the gameplay, but when I used it, I quickly stopped using it. And the reason is, I used it against this big old guy who’s real tall, 6’6″ wizard, and when you use it, it does a thunderclap and he gets all subdued and actually has time to say, “What have you done? What are you doing?” And he’s suffering and you’re just like, “Oh my God, what have I done?”

Andrew: Oh, whatever. I love killing people.

[Andrew and Kevin laugh]

Laura: Here’s the thing, though: You can transfigure enemies into barrels and then blow them up with Confringo. You’re killing them when you do that.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: But they don’t ask you “What are you doing to me?”

[Laura laughs]

Kevin: What’s your address, Andrew? We might call the cops.

[Kevin and Laura laugh]

Andrew: If anybody ever wants to get something out of Eric, just be like, “What are you doing to me?” And he’ll be like, “Oh gosh, I can’t handle this.” [laughs]

Eric: Absolutely, no! That deterred me more than any game storyline mission character dialogue could deter me. It made me think, “What am I doing? I’m using an Unforgivable.”

Kevin: That’s brutal. Yeah, that’s really brutal.

Andrew: It does bring up interesting questions about those spells in the wizarding world and the repercussions.

Eric: That’s what I’m talking about. So it’s your own choice to be using those spells or not. I do like that the game vaguely put in an alternative, but you mostly need to learn it because the character that you’re doing it in front of is going to be a major person that influences the story. I would say, too, combat can seem repetitive, not just because I’m using the same spells that aren’t the Unforgivables, but it’s really… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into a cave and there’s a troll and I sigh, not because I ever feel like I’m in danger, but just because trolls take more hits to get past. I want to move the story along. I want to get past here, there’s a troll, oh God, I’m going to be throwing so many barrels now. It would be different if there were, again, certain specific ways in which you could intelligently and sneakily dispatch these faster, but no, it’s basically just mashing buttons until you get them down.

Andrew: I guess you could maybe use some potions to help you kill them faster, or some plants.

Eric: Yeah, that’s one area that I haven’t explored. I have a full set of… there’s a Maxima potion, a Focus potion, an Edurus which is your defense. But yeah, I haven’t yet experimented with using too many of the plant assistants. Maybe that will diversify the battle option for me, but mostly I just go in and do a spell.

Laura: They’re fun. And also, between cooldowns on your spell set, if you’re just hitting them repeatedly with your R2, it levels up your ancient magic meter so that you get ancient magic sooner and you can take them down a peg sooner and you’re not stuck in that battle as long.

Andrew: I really like the Pikachu thunderbolt you can do with the ancient magic.

Laura: Yep. [laughs]

Eric: Now every time I do that, I’m going, “Pikachuuuu!”

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I think we touched on this a little bit earlier when talking about finding crates and things when you’re working on a mission; if you take down a really big cave of goblins, for example, where you’re extremely outnumbered, and you have to navigate your way through to the very end, and there’s this really promising crate waiting for you, and you’ll open it up and it’s like, gloves! Sometimes that can seem a little random, so it’ll feel like you work really hard to get through something, but then the reward at the end sometimes isn’t substantial.

Eric: It did call them unbeatable Quidditch gloves, so I was very excited.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: But it turned out my current gloves were better, so I didn’t… [laughs]

Laura: Right.

Andrew: I was surprised clothing and accessories were such a big part of the game in terms of opening chests and stuff. Not the most exciting thing. But there is other stuff to collect; I’d prefer those things that you can get for the Room or Requirement, or just more monies.

Micah: And Laura, that’s presuming your gear slots aren’t full when you get to the end of the…

Laura: Yeah, you’ve got to get through those Merlin trials.

Eric: Yeah, which, that kind of goes into… are we ready to move to the things that make us smile? Or Micah, did you want to mention the controls?

Micah: Yeah, just one thing on my end, and this could just be a PS5 thing and I’m using a wireless controller. But I find the controls to be a little wonky sometimes, and it’s not because I casted a spell and it’s restoring itself; it’s literally I’m pressing the button to cast the normal spell and it’s not going through, so I don’t know if it’s a wireless thing or what the issue is, but…

Kevin: It’s a fair question. What platforms are everyone playing on? I’m playing on PC.

Laura: PS5.

Eric: PlayStation.

Andrew: Okay. Yeah, all of us are on PS5, except for Kevin.

Kevin: And the reason I mention that is that when I played on PC, it very much felt like a sandboxed version of an Xbox game, so they probably did some sort of multi-platform translation layer, for lack of a better description, and that type of thing tends to lead to this, which is you have control issues, or the controls differ from Xbox to PlayStation to PC.

Eric: Some of my… so you can control which slot goes into “Push circle and R2,” “Push square and R2,” all that stuff. And I have seen it fire without me asking it to sometimes; I mean, combat, so I don’t necessarily care, but I have accidentally sent the wrong spell or something. I’m like, “Damn, now I need to wait for that to cool down. I was only preparing to use that after this one.” So I have seen the buttons get a little wonky.

Andrew: And again, my biggest hangup is switching spell sets that you can customize.

Micah: Yeah, that’s tough.

Andrew: And if you’ve got to put in a new spell to one of your sets during combat, that’s been really tough for me to do. I know it pauses when you bring up the full spell menu, but still, I don’t know. Something’s not fluid about it.

Laura: I think you’ll get used to it.

Micah: Yeah, it’s just the normal R2, no combination needed. You just tap R2 and it fires your normal spell.

Andrew: The normal basic, yeah.

Micah: But sometimes when I hit R2, it won’t fire it, and I don’t know why.

Andrew: Because you have to press it all the way down? Is that…?

Micah: Maybe that’s it.

Andrew: I think I know what you’re talking about.

Micah: This other point that got brought up by the Half-Blood House-Elf in our Discord: “My issue is in combat, it focuses on someone way far away when I’m trying to hit somebody right in front of me.” I’ve had that problem too.

Andrew: Oh, yeah. You can turn that off if you want, but it is just easier for it to auto-highlight, I think.

Laura: I just like to use R3 to select whichever enemy is closest to me, and it keeps your camera focused.

Eric: Oh yeah, it locks. It locks on.

Laura: Yeah, it keeps your… mhmm.

Eric: Yeah, that’s useful.

Andrew: Little things that make us smile, as we get towards the end of our review here.

Eric: Quick shout-out to diversity. I was thinking about this as I was preparing to talk about it, but there is more diversity in 15 minutes of cutscenes in this game than there are in all the Harry Potter books.

Laura: Yep.

Eric: Combined. Combined! There is so much diversity. Your characters that you meet around Hogwarts have been at Uagadou. One of your teachers studied at Mahoutokoro. They talk about it. This is all brought into the wider world, and the world feels bigger for it and better for it. The fact that you are part of a whole, that Hogwarts isn’t everything, your characters are from everywhere, they look like everything… this is so important, for every reason.

Andrew: Yeah, there’s a trans person in the game. There’s a lesbian woman in the game who mentions being married to another woman. Yeah, 1800s Hogwarts is more diverse than the 1990s Hogwarts. [laughs]

Eric: And anything we’ve ever seen before, yeah.

Andrew: But shout-out to the creators; they set out with an intention to make the game more diverse than the core seven books.

Eric: There’s a blind character as well.

Andrew: There is a blind character, yeah, a Gaunt is blind. I don’t want to spoil this; I’ll just say there’s a very cool Thestrals moment early on in the game and I think that again speaks to that real fans are working on this game. I heard this line – again, fans working on the game – it was something to the effect of one student says, “Of course, you could use Accio on a human,” and then another student replies, “Well, you’d be using it on clothing. You know you can’t actually use Accio on humans.” I thought that was great because there’s been a lot of debate about what you can Accio amongst fans. [laughs]

Micah: So it just rips their clothes off? Is that what happens?

[Kevin laughs]

Andrew: No, it uses the clothes to pull them towards you if you’re Accio-ing them. I thought that was a thoughtful line to include.

Eric: Yeah, those conversations, it’s so rich with that, and that’s everything. This game, because it has been made after Pottermore and all of the extended writings and all of the other world-building things that we’ve seen, incorporates them all. There are things like… the other wizarding schools is just one example where now, “Okay, so we know this about it, but let’s have characters talk about what it was like there. Let’s have characters mention it.” Merlin being a Slytherin, which was just an old J.K. Rowling webchat answer, I think, is canon in the game. They talk about his Slytherin roots and how he’s set you these challenges because he’s very ambitious and trying to cull less accomplished magicians. All this amazing stuff that is all worked in, coupled with when you’re walking around Hogwarts, there are things you wouldn’t expect. There’s a tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy. There’s Baruffio. There’s paintings, portraits, statues, that are all these little references that you’re like, “Of course that would be there, but what does it actually look like?” It’s amazing to see how far they’ve pulled from little teeny corners and put it into this game, and that’s very satisfying. Not to mention areas that you think should be there, like the first floor bathroom, where we know is the entrance of the Chamber of Secrets; you can go visit it. And there’s a page of your field guide, which we haven’t talked about yet, but it’s kind of like your Pokédex.

Micah: Oh, I’ll have to go there. Haven’t been there yet.

Eric: When you go there, something happens. It’s really neat.

Laura: And I think on that note, there’s some significant opportunities for DLC. We’ve already talked about Chamber of Secrets being a big one; there’s what Eric just referenced, but there’s another pretty strong reference to the Chamber of Secrets that I won’t spoil here. Obviously, Quidditch. It gets mentioned multiple times throughout the game that Quidditch has been canceled this year; feels like that’s probably the next thing we’re going to get. As others have mentioned, other wizarding schools, and then I think there could even be an opportunity to expand on what you’re doing with beasts in this game. I’ve really actually been pleasantly surprised by how that’s been done, and I would like to see more of it.

Andrew: I still want there to be a separate Quidditch game in the line of Quidditch World Cup, which we’ve brought up on the show before. However, I am now convinced there will be a Quidditch DLC because they keep mentioning Quidditch in the game.

[Eric and Laura laugh]

Andrew: It’s not like they’re brushing it under the rug and hoping people forget about Quidditch. It’s addressed in the start of term speech from the headmaster, it’s brought up a couple more times… I think they want us to think about it so that one day we are excited when they announce a Quidditch DLC. The Quidditch pitch is there; you can visit it. There are some activities to do around it. But yeah, you can’t actually play a game of Quidditch. So I previously thought, “Eh. maybe they will, maybe they won’t,” but now, because they keep reminding us about Quidditch, I think they’re going to do a Quidditch DLC.

Micah: Yeah, I think that’s definitely coming. And I just want to know, can I fly on the hippogriff instead of the broom?

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Because I find it easier to fly on a hippogriff than it is to fly on a broom.

Laura: It is easier.

Andrew: Oh, is it?

Micah: That’s just me.

Andrew: Here’s one more complaint: You look stiff on the broom. It doesn’t look natural to me. They could have worked a little more on that, I think. And the ghosts that fly around the school, too; sometimes they’re just stagnant. Like, yeah, they’re floating, but they’re not moving. Their bodies aren’t moving.

Micah: And Laura, to your point about the Chamber of Secrets, there’s definitely a very cool reference that’s made at one point in the game, and there’s a letter that you find that references what’s inside of the Chamber, so not to spoil anything too much, but I do think they’re moving potentially in that direction. So actually, when I went through that, I didn’t know, “Oh, is the Chamber of Secrets going to be something that you get to later on in the game?” But it doesn’t seem like that’s the case. And then for me, yeah, I love seeing Peeves just flying around, being up to his normal antics like sliding down banisters and causing problems for you. And then the secret passageways, right? When we talk about them really doing everything, they did everything. And I’ll just use the example of the One-Eyed Witch secret passageway that goes into Honeydukes. It’s not just you press a button and you go from being at the One-Eyed Witch into Honeydukes. You actually have to go through the process of getting from point A to point B, and it’s not that easy, honestly; they really they make you work for it. But there’s a lot of those little secret areas that are so fun to explore.

Eric: After putting many hours to this game, I still find new secret passageways. I froze a fireplace and you can crawl through in one of the offices. It’s really, really cool; leads to this whole area you didn’t expect. One of the bathroom stalls, if you go through it, there’s actually a tiny little boiler room with a chest.

Andrew: I think I saw that, yeah.

Eric: There’s just so many unique, cool things.

Andrew: Some areas, you just go up and up and up stairwells, and it’s like, “I can’t believe they built all of this out.” There’s so much.

Eric: Yeah, the clock tower, which, the clock tower was added to the movies for no reason other than to be an aesthetic thing, but this game had to figure out, “Okay, how would that work? How does that actually…? Structurally, how does the clock tower do it?” And they had to build it, because you have to be able to walk around and climb it.

Micah: And the boathouse. They kept that.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Eric: Oh, the underground lake is a thing! The harbor, I mean, the underground harbor where the first years dock. You can get there. And not to mention your common rooms. I’m surprised we actually didn’t talk about the common rooms before, but as a thing that makes me very happy, the Hufflepuff common room, and it’s basically the doors are all Hobbit doors; they’re all circular, and they actually look quite similar. The only thing I’ll say about as far as criticism regarding this, you can’t sit down on the couch and just exist in your common room.

Andrew: Yeah, it does seem… yeah, you can’t seem to sit anywhere, actually. [laughs]

Eric: There’s just no opportunity. For a game that sent out in advance ASMR videos of just “Experience the wizarding world in winter…”

Andrew: Right.

Eric: … you should be able to just take a seat. Lots of games have this where you just take a seat, and then things happen around you or behind you, and it’s this whole thing. That doesn’t exist in this game. And in fact, maybe it’s because everyone is a different House when you play; you could choose your own. But absolutely nothing happens in your common room.

Micah: No. Well…

Eric: There’s just nothing to do. You meet a few students at first, but you never go back there. You don’t even end the day there. The only thing that’s there is your owl, who can read you the letters, but you can do that from the pause menu.

Micah: The other cool thing I like that you can do – you made me think of this – when you’re walking around, you can chug a butterbeer or you can eat an apple, and actually, it made me think about… I was in a certain place – I won’t say where I was – and my character picked up the butterbeer and drank it, and I’m like, “Dude, this has probably been sitting here for a couple hundred years…”

[Everyone laughs]

Laura: Yep, I know what you’re talking about.

Eric: I had the same thought!

Micah: I’m surprised he didn’t keel over and I had to start from the beginning or something.

Kevin: Skyrim: “You died.”

Laura: [laughs] I will say, I’ve seen… so I’m a Ravenclaw. I’ve seen the Slytherin common room because my boyfriend is a Slytherin and so I’ve been watching him play. Slytherin common room? Way cooler. Coolest common room, I think, in the game.

Andrew: Yeah, it is.

Eric: I’m a little jealous. I mean, Hufflepuff’s is very good; I don’t think I would like Gryffindor or Ravenclaw’s as much. But I was flying around the other day outside the castle and I came upon, first of all, the exterior of where the Hufflepuff common room is, which is awesome – it’s just some garden above it – but then I flew up a waterfall and I found what must be the Slytherin common room, the long windows that go underwater, but I can’t see them from the other side because I can’t get into the common room.

Andrew: Ohh.

Eric: There should have been… I was so excited, too, to have found the exit, the outside part of the Slytherin common room, but there really should have been a mission or some way of gaining access to the other common rooms.

Andrew: Yeah, the fans want that for sure.

Eric: Well, and you’re friends with people from each House. There are relationship goals and missions that allow you to become good enough friends with a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw, a Slytherin, that you should be invited up, even just to hang out during the day so that you can see all the… why not make the most out of this game and limit you? But maybe that’s the authentic Hogwarts experience.

Micah: Eric, here’s the Ravenclaw common room right behind me.

[Kevin laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, now you’ve seen it.

Eric: Oh!

Andrew: Just go on YouTube. There we go.

[Micah laughs]

Laura: Are y’all on Hogwarts Legacy TikTok?

Andrew: No.

Laura: Because that is a headcanon of Hogwarts Legacy TikTok, is that Slytherin throws all the bangers and Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw are invited, but Gryffindor is not invited to any of those parties.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: So that is the 2023 headcanon of relationships between the Houses.

Micah: We’ve spent plenty of time in the Gryffindor common room. We don’t need to spend more time with them.

Laura: Yeah. We’re over it. [laughs]

Andrew: Final thoughts, I think we’re all blown away by the game. The one thing I do want to address still is people who normally don’t play video games, should you get a whole video game system for this? That’s a complicated question. I think you should wait for maybe one of the cheaper systems, like PlayStation 4 or Xbox S and… or sorry, Xbox 360. I can’t keep track. Xbox One! That’s what I’m thinking of. Or Nintendo Switch. It’s going to look the best on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X and PC, but I don’t think you want to buy a whole system for this. But I do understand why people want to maybe buy a system just for this game, because you do get to explore Hogwarts, which is what people have wanted. So I’m a little torn on this, but I’d say wait. I think that’s my short answer. Wait for a cheaper console.

Eric: We heard from our Slug Club members that are waiting for it on Switch. If you have a Switch, that’s fine. That’ll be out in July. You can survive the wait; it’s worth it.

Andrew: Or just watch on YouTube. [laughs]

Eric: But I will say, and this is a moment where I want to call attention to: I got the game a week after it came out and I bought it used, and that was because the game, people play them and then they sell them right back to the store for store credit, and this was so reliable that I only had to wait five or six days and I got a used copy of the game. I would tell everyone, wait the extra six days, because that way no money directly funnels any negative causes. Unless Gamestop is toxic. I don’t know. I haven’t looked too deeply into it.

Laura: They are.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh God.

Laura: Sorry. Sorry to break the news.

Eric: What have I done? Cast Crucio. What have I done? Anyway, but if you can, try and procure the game used, is my highest recommendation.

Laura: I think we also learned in our Slug Club meeting that if you’re not really a gamer, you haven’t had a ton of experience with games like this, it can be a little bit intimidating because of all the controls and options. There is a story mode where you can mainly focus on the story of the game and not so much on the mechanics, so it is very accessible, depending on your level of comfort with gaming.

Andrew: All right, well, those are our thoughts on Hogwarts Legacy for now. If you have any feedback about anything we’ve shared today, if you want to share your thoughts on Hogwarts Legacy, you can email or you can use the contact form on You can also send a voice message; just record it using the Voice Memo app on your phone and then email us that file, or you can use our phone number, which is 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. And next week’s episode will be a Muggle Mail episode, so we’ll get to some of that Hogwarts Legacy feedback as we start our next 600 episodes of MuggleCast. [laughs] We’ll also wrap up our reread of Chamber of Secrets a little bit, in part by deciding which Seven-Word Summary we are going to redo from Chamber of Secrets. So no Quizzitch this week; we’ll get back to it next week. Kevin, it’s been so great having you on today. Thanks so much for coming back.

Kevin: It’s been fun, yeah. It’s a throwback for sure.

Andrew: Yeah, so good to hang out with you again. [emotionally] After all this time, we can still connect, which is really nice.

Kevin: I hate you all, as you know.

[Everyone laughs]

Kevin: Let’s insert some drama.

Eric: We’re paying him some substantial amount to come on and not badmouth us.

Laura: Kevin won’t be back for another 600 episodes.

[Everyone laughs]

Andrew: We’ll have to tell him the show’s ending again. [laughs]

Eric: This episode was quite an ad for Skyrim in the end.

Kevin: Right. [laughs]

Andrew: This is a Skyrim podcast.

Eric: I’ve got to play… is there more than one?

Kevin: No, I mean, Skyrim has multiple DLCs at this point. It is an endless game, so I would recommend not going into Skyrim, because you will waste your life in it.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh, okay.

Andrew: Couple of reminders before we wrap up the show. There’s much more MuggleCast waiting for everybody on our Patreon, which is We’re about to record and release a new bonus MuggleCast installment; a little delayed, but that’s okay. It’s going to be a Valentine’s Day… let’s call it a romance-themed bonus MuggleCast. We’re going to share some new dirty Harry Potter pickup lines and we’re going to be reading a sample of a fanfiction that Micah selected for us to narrate.

Micah: I also selected the pickup lines.

Andrew: And the pickup lines, so you all know what to expect from Micah. And we’ll also touch on what is one couple we would have loved to have seen as canon in the Potter series. So we’re doing two bonus MuggleCast installments per month now; again, that’s That’s where you can support us. We would not be at 600 episodes without the support of our patrons and those who subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, and those who come through with supporting our advertisers. And thanks also to everybody who tells a friend about the show, and of course, everybody who listens to the show! No matter how you support us, we really appreciate it. And that does it for this week’s episode of MuggleCast. Happy 600. Thanks, everybody, for listening. [imitating Dumbledore] After all this time.

[Laura laughs]

Andrew: I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: I’m Laura.

Kevin: And I’m Kevin.

Andrew: Bye, everybody.

Laura: Bye, y’all.

Micah: Bye.