Hogwarts Legacy missed a trick by not doing more with its companions

Hogwarts Legacy
(Image credit: WB)

"I wish someone was here to see that", says my fifth-year Hogwarts Legacy student to literally no one. It's a lament I hear a lot outside of missions, but this particular uttering happens just seconds after pulling off a combo of spells and attacks that I'm unashamedly proud of. But, as we stand among the fallen goblins and dark wizards, there isn't anyone to see what we've achieved in that moment – or on many of our adventures through the wizarding world.

Instead, the characters I've come to see as friends over the course of the game are probably in class somewhere, noses buried in textbooks, or frolicking in the common rooms thinking about Quidditch or potions. The only times I've been able to spend time with them – beyond a passing comment in a corridor – are the set missions that Hogwarts Legacy has allowed me to have with them. For a game based on a series of books with friendship so firmly at their core, Hogwarts Legacy is an oddly isolated experience.

Companion retraction

Hogwarts Legacy

(Image credit: WB)

It's in those quests and relationship-focused side missions that you do get to know and love the five characters that make your core Hogwarts Legacy companions. They're brilliantly written, fun to be around, and have interesting storylines of their own away from talk of map chambers and trials. There's Sebastian Sallow, the dark-magic-obsessed Slytherin trying to cure his sister's curse, his blind and concerned friend and fellow Slytherin Ominis Gaunt, Poppy Sweeting who lives up to her name as a softly spoken, magical beast-loving Hufflepuff, and Natsai (Natty) Onai, the brave, justice-seeking Griffindor. There's also the astrology-obsessed Ravenclaw Amit Thakkar, who although not as well-rounded as the others, still has a certain comedic charm. 

But, those missions are the only way to spend time with these characters – there's no option to take those companions with you on other adventures. The idea of being able to have someone flying on a broom alongside you as you explore the Forbidden Forest, or walking the shores in search of a Merlin Trial or some Troll Bogeys would have made the entire experience more authentic to what's always been the core of the books. 

Interestingly enough, if you wind back time to the Hogwarts Legacy State of Play where the very first gameplay reveal happened, developer Avalanche teased such mechanics. "As you develop relationships with these school mates, they can accompany you on your journey as your companions", came the voiceover against footage of a player running through the stone arches on the Hogwarts grounds alongside Natty. Fans, myself included, expected that to mean the option of having your companion accompany you on whatever you chose to do during your time at Hogwarts. Maybe not quite summoning them like a Hippogriff, but close enough. 

After all, Harry Potter would be nothing without Ron and Hermione, and Hogwarts Legacy's narrative is all the richer for those adventures you have with Seb and Ominis, Poppy, and Natty. Even your relationship with Professor Fig becomes a core pillar of your experiences in the game. But, what's missing is that sense of companionship.

Hogwarts Legacy

(Image credit: WB)

"So while I do love the companions in Hogwarts Legacy, I just want to see more of them".

As Josh West noted in his Hogwarts Legacy review, there's often a sense of emptiness in your experiences at Hogwarts. "For a school of 1,000, the hallways, classrooms, and common rooms are surprisingly sparse, and the students you do come across have infrequent points of dialogue and interaction," he wrote, and it's not helped by the fact that you're on your own for a substantial portion of the game. Even the missions you do have with Natty, Seb, and co are regularly just a chat rather than a romp you'll go on as a team. In fact, the game never goes as far as to bring all your friends together either for one massive adventure. Can you imagine the Harry Potter books or movies where Harry only interacts with one of his pals at a time? Without those moments where it's the students together against adversity? Yeah, I didn't think so. 

So while I do love the companions in Hogwarts Legacy, I just want to see more of them. Take in the sights on a broom ride, swig some butterbeer in the Hog's Head Inn (or turn it into a pub crawl), or have some fun taking down dark wizards or giant purple toads together. Maybe then the world wouldn't feel quite so empty – and my character might pipe down about it too. 

The release of Hogwarts Legacy has been the subject of criticism and debate due to J.K. Rowling's public stance on gender identity, which continues to challenge the inclusivity at the heart of the Harry Potter community. Here is our explainer on the Hogwarts Legacy controversy.

Need more magic? Here are some games like Hogwarts Legacy

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.