Hogwarts Legacy’s Dark Arts Battle Arena, Combat Mechanics Revealed in Gameplay Showcase II

Hogwarts Legacy’s Gameplay Showcase II was today, and in it, we learned more about the game’s open world, the Room of Requirement, and got to see a lot of combat in the Dark Arts Arena. In this article, we’ll be taking a close look at the combat section of the gameplay showcase, detailing what was said and shown regarding the Dark Arts Arena and the combat that took place within.


We learned today that the Dark Arts Battle Arena is included in the Deluxe edition, but will be available as a separate purchase for players who bought the standard version of the game. Players who don’t purchase access to the Dark Arts Battle Arena will still be able to participate in the game’s other two arenas, but the Dark Arts arena is unique: It is apparently the only arena that allows you to test spells that you haven’t already unlocked, giving players a chance to “try before they buy”.

You reach the battle arena by going into the Forbidden Forest, where an entrance deep in the forest lets you access the arena. Once you enter it, you’ll need to choose what spells you want to equip. Since the menu for this section of the walkthrough was hidden, it isn’t clear whether you’ll have access to the maximum number of equipped spells (16, as far as we know), or if you’ll only have the slots you’ve already unlocked.

entering dark arts battle arena hogwarts legacy gameplay showcase ii
It’s a shame that content is locked behind a paywall on day 1, but this sort of thing is becoming an industry standard

In the arena, you’ll face waves of progressively tougher enemies. It’s certainly a good way to practice combat, as the enemies are quite varied, with melee and ranged foes present; in addition to dwarves and humans, a couple of trolls made appearances as well. The arena encourages you to experiment with new spells and combos by giving you Duelling[sic] Feats to accomplish (though it isn’t clear what rewards, if any, completing these will grant you).

The trial had a timer, though there wasn’t any score screen that gave bonus rewards for time or other factors. In the showcase, there were 5 waves; it’s unclear if you can try different scenarios or difficulty levels — when the Victory screen came up, the only options were to restart the challenge or return to the open world.

We saw a lot of spells that have been previously revealed in today’s showcase. A common tactic was using Wingardium Leviosa to lift a target into the air, and then smash them to the ground with Descendo. Another combo involves the parry system: by holding a button after using Protego (the game’s block spell), you can stun your attacker with Stupefy. A spell that was likely Incendio did a lot of damage and knocked the target backwards, so for people who don’t want to bother with complex combos, there are probably still options available.

Some of the game’s tools were shown off, including the Rockskin potion. It lasted 20 seconds, which seems like a reasonable length of time for a buff that offers serious protection against enemy attacks. A Focus potion was also used — this one lowers spell cooldowns, letting you cast your powerful spells more often. Finally, we saw the Venomous Tentacula, a plant that acts as a turret, spitting poison at your enemies. It didn’t last very long, but perhaps the character in the showcase was more into the Dark Arts than Herbology.

It’s clear that the goal with combat is to make it fast-paced and frenetic, with even the longest cooldowns becoming available multiple times over the course of the fight. Additionally, some enemies will cast area-of-effect spells that force you to move — it’s always lame when standing still is the best option, so this was nice to see. Another reason to move is the Ancient Magic essence that enemies will drop, allowing you to fill your Ancient Magic Meter.

Speaking of which — Ancient Magic, which will be an integral part of Hogwarts Legacy’s plot and gameplay, is another aspect of the game that we got more info on today. It was confirmed that the blue meter above the health bar is the Ancient Magic meter, and it fills as you land combos on enemies (or when picking up the essence as described above). Thanks to Ancient Magic, you won’t need to use spell cooldowns to fling rocks and barrels around — one of the abilities you can unlock is throwing environmental objects at your foes.

It didn’t seem to have a cooldown, but rather was available any time there was a tossable object in view. Once the meter had a full bar, another option would appear above enemies. This spell does a lot of damage, but apparently in different ways depending on the enemy targeted — we saw one enemy get turned into a chicken, while another straight up exploded.

Today’s combat showcase included the Unforgivable Curses: spells so powerful — and unforgivably evil — that using them on another person lands you in Azkaban for life. It seems unlikely that the player can end up in wizard prison, but it’s clear the game will let you cast these spells on other wizards if you so choose.

The combat opened up with the player casting Avada Kedavra, the Killing Curse. True to the books and its name, the targeted enemy died immediately. Interestingly, a nearby enemy can be seen cowering after Avada Kedavra is cast, so it may be that the Unforgivable Curses cause special reactions from your foes. The cooldown on Avada Kedavra is very long, an obvious necessity for balance given its power. The next foe ate a Crucio, the Cruciatus Curse — they reacted in an appropriately pain-stricken manner. The third Unforgivable Curse was showcased immediately after the first two — Imperio, the Imperius Curse, causes enemies to fight on your side for a brief period of time.

Using curses on enemies marks them with a green X. It was stated by one of the devs that using Avada Kedavra will kill all the marked enemies, rewarding players that carefully choose the order in which they cast spells.

The more of Hogwarts Legacy’s combat we see, the more we like it. Whether you want to fight foes with damage spells, be clever with environmental objects, or rely on plants and potions to do your dirty work, it seems like you’ll be able to craft a combat style that works for you. While we aren’t happy about the Dark Arts Battle Arena being unavailable to standard edition players, most of what we learned in today’s showcase got us excited about the game’s combat systems.


Given how awesome the Unforgivable Curses are, we just might have to do an evil playthrough of Hogwarts Legacy at some point. Will you succumb to the temptation of the game’s dark magic? Let us know in the comments!

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DanielD
DanielD

Unabashed FromSoftware fanboy still learning to take his time with games (and everything else, really). The time he doesn't spend on games is spent on music, books, or occasionally going outside.

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