Today is the day. Hogwarts Legacy is finally here. Well, if you pre-ordered the game. If you had the cojones to do so, you’ll be extremely glad to know that the risk paid off. We would know. We got to review the thing. If you, like many, didn’t pre-order Hogwarts Legacy just in case the reviews were… sub-optimal, you’ll be stuck waiting until this Friday to start your journey at Hogwarts.
But that’s okay. Friday is only three days away (depending on when you’re reading this). Until then, there are a bunch of other Harry Potter games to hold you over until then. Provided you’ve got a compatible console to play some of the earlier titles on. Otherwise, we hope you’re okay with watching some gameplay on YouTube. Unless you’re proficient in the ways of the computer, but we’ll say no more about that.
1. Harry Potter and the PS1 Era (The Philosopher’s Stone) (2001)
You’ve definitely heard of this one, even if you’ve never played it. Just look at that awkward-as-hell Hagrid character model up there. The game that started it all, based on the movie under the same name, was originally released on the Game Boy Advance and Colour, and the Sony PlayStation, which is where the game grew the large majority of its fanbase.
Filled with either the stellar voice acting (Ron Weasley) or so-so voice-acting (Dumbledore) you’d expect a PS1 game to have, The Philosopher’s Stone is a perfect encapsulation of what gaming at the time was like. Because of this, it has a sort of The Legend of Zelda feel to it. There’re puzzles to solve, dedicated levels, collectible beans to find, and spells to master throughout the game. It even managed to incorporate broomsticks – something we had entirely forgotten about before writing this up. We love this one a little more than it deserves – the second and third games are so much better – because it gave us a blueprint of what a great Harry Potter game could look like. Oh, and it brought us the above image of Hagrid. We can never thank it enough for that.
2. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets (2002)
There’s no doubt in our minds that the game’s first sequel, The Chamber of Secrets, is better in every single way than its older sibling. It takes everything that was perfect about the first game and expands upon it greatly. Voice acting, story beats and graphics are far better here. And we’re glad to say that our favourite character – Gilderoy Lockhart – is just as eccentric as he is in the movie this game set out to adapt. It’s got new spells, and more beans to collect.
Argonaut Games, the developers behind the Chamber of Secrets, decided to keep the game available for both the Gameboy Colour and Advance, though it expanded to include the original Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo’s GameCube. There’s a PC version too, and you can still buy a physical copy off of Amazon should you so desire. We’re not sure about you, but spending $81 dollars for a 2002 game isn’t something we’d consider a sound investment. No matter how good it is.
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
We’ve come to the end of the good movie tie-in games. Everything that was released post-Prisoner of Azkaban looked better graphically, and that’s about it. The Goblet of Fire in particular is one of the worst Harry Potter titles we’ve ever had the misfortune of touching. But that’s a conversation for another day.
Of the first three titles, this one is probably our least favourite. Maybe we didn’t play it as much as we did the previous installments, or the spells that the trio learned in this one didn’t appeal to us as the others did when we were kids. Still, it’s a great game that does well at continuing the puzzle/action gameplay loop the previous two games set up.
The game shared the same rollout schedule as the Chamber of Secrets, released on the Xbox, PS2, and GameCube. Again, the Gameboy Advance and Colour were included.
4. The Lego Harry Potter Collection
After the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in 2004, it was a rough couple of years for Harry Potter gamers. First, they had to deal with the flak of being a Harry Potter game fan, and second, there weren’t any good titles to help stave off the abuse. That is until 2010 saw the release of Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4. Just over a year later, Years 5-7 was released before eventually being sold under the larger umbrella known as the Lego Harry Potter Collection.
These games are some of the most faithful adaptations of the movies and books that we’ve experienced. Yes, Hogwarts Legacy does better in terms of world-building, but where the original Harry Potter story is concerned, the Lego games do an excellent job. It’s concise, funny, and extremely fun to play. And it manages to do all that without a word of dialogue. Back then, Lego games leaned heavily on visual humour to get the point across. Now… not so much.
The games make use of Diagon Alley as the main hub, giving the player the chance to explore the wider wizarding world a bit more than other games may have done. It’s also one of the more widely available games that’s still available today. It’s available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 onwards, the Wii, DS, PC, Nintendo Switch, and even saw an iOS and Android release.
5. Hogwarts Legacy
How could we not include Hogwarts Legacy on this list? It’s by far the best Harry Potter game we’ve ever played, all while never mentioning the original Harry Potter storyline. That’s because it’s set in the late 1800s and follows a new kid joining Hogwarts in their fifth year. Ignoring the few issues we experienced with the game, it’s hard to deny just how good Hogwarts Legacy is at introducing a wholly new story and concepts to the world. Add in the fact that the main castle, Hogsmeade, and the pretty massive overworld are a blast to explore and you’ve got the best Harry Potter game of all time.
If you’d like to read our full review of the PS5 version, you should do so. Many of the fans that pre-ordered the game are opening it up for the first time this evening, while the rest of the world must wait until Friday for the full release. The PS4 and Xbox One versions are set to release on 4 April. A release for the Switch is coming on the 25 July. You probably don’t want to wait that long. Trust us on this.