For years, dedicated Harry Potter aficionados, like me, have been asking for an intricately detailed video game that truly makes you feel like an all-powerful witch or wizard. And now, every fan can live out this dream with the meticulous world of Hogwarts Legacy, showcasing a wide range of entertaining endeavors and arduous expeditions. However, while it triumphs in many aspects, there are a few instances where it falls short, primarily with the lack of interpersonal gameplay.
When approaching students, you’ll notice that there aren’t any options to talk to them apart from those who are a part of main quests and side missions.
Although I can understand why this feature was neglected, given how many objectives there are, it does make the experience feel isolating rather than inviting. Considering this aspect, I can’t help but make some comparisons to that of Rockstar’s Bully with the mischievous educational journey of Jimmy Hopkins.
Even if it is a game that launched in 2006, on the PlayStation 2 nonetheless, Bully’s unique gameplay style is a bit more realistic than Hogwarts Legacy. Not only can you talk to every single person in the town of Bullworth, but everyone will also treat you differently based on your popularity level, which is something I wanted to see in Hogwarts.
I’m not saying it has to be an elaborate dialogue scene, yet it could include mundane actions like small favors or hilarious greetings, as Bully has done in the past. Maybe there could be friendly rivalry talking points with the different houses or a subtle “Hey, fifth year!” as mentioned by Reddit user SplatDragon00. Of course, there are a few occasions like this, including when a shop owner will commend you for helping someone on a side quest or when you talk to a particular student about a previous adventure. Even so, these instances are relatively rare, and several characters often repeat the same greetings, making it almost robotic.
For example, the Floo Flame talking statues only have three lines (mostly about tips and tricks for the game), which can become tedious over time as you use the fast-travel frequently. On the other hand, every character in Rockstar’s game has multiple iconic lines that you can hear around the campus, with one of my favorite ones being “Am I handsome? Yes! Yes, I am!” That said, Hogwarts Legacy could take note of this humoristic feature and expand on some of the whimsical conversations I’ve heard around the castle.
Going back to the isolation factor, you can also see a significant difference in experience when traveling around both schools. While almost no one approaches you in Hogwarts, the characters of Bully generally have some sort of reaction when you walk by them. For instance, if you wear a funny outfit, everyone will laugh at you, or when you enter the jock’s territory, they will belittle you every chance they get. These instances may be on a smaller scale, but the little things do count, mainly as it builds up with the amount of time you put into the game.
Speaking of jocks, Hogwarts Legacy could incorporate more cliques around the castle that focuses more on personality and extracurricular activities instead of the separation of houses. And while we’re at it, why not add some romance options into the mix in light of the events that take place in the movies and books? Given that Harry Potter already had a couple of love interests by his fifth year, it should eventually be included in the game due to it being a major plot point in previous installments.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t have to be as extreme as Bully’s version, with several boyfriends/girlfriends, yet it can do something similar to make you feel like a genuine student. Still, what Hogwarts Legacy needs the most for the ultimate educational experience is Bullworth’s time mechanic, where players must go to class at specific times and return to the dormitory before curfew.
With one of the main missions at Hogwarts, Professor Weasley expresses her concerns about the main character’s dangerous late-night escapades; therefore, the game could add a clock system to set boundaries for the player. You could, of course, continue to travel around after hours or during class to increase the thrill of being caught by a teacher, demonstrating the delinquent adventures that Harry Potter has done in the past.
A student’s life is also all about having a routine, and it could really hit the nail on the head by allowing players to follow a strict schedule. Additionally, Hogwarts Legacy could expand on the time concept by featuring seasonal quests, similar to Jimmy Hopkins’ Halloween and holiday missions, considering the themed decorations for these events around the castle.
There are certainly more pointers that Hogwarts Legacy could take from Bully, including the complexity of classroom gameplay and the consequences of your actions. Regardless of these features, the game does stand on its own, and you’ll still have a lot of fun exploring the prodigious world filled with challenging affairs. These aspects of Bully are moreso of a way to further its potential, and hopefully, we could see a few of them with the highly-anticipated future updates or DLCs.
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