With little fanfare, Hogwarts Legacy finally released on Switch today, and it came out about how one might expect on the weaker hardware. The game, with sprawling open worlds, truly next-generation graphics, and particle-effect-generating spells, was never going to port well to the Nintendo Switch, which sometimes struggles to run games with half the fidelity from a generation prior. As such, it is no surprise that the Switch port of Hogwarts Legacy looks… Well… About how one would expect.
Still, that doesn’t have to mean much; Switch users know what they are getting, and the ability to have the Wizarding World on the go without having to invest in a Steam Deck (or similar device) is handy. So long as the game feels the same, who cares how it looks? And, for the most part, the Switch version plays like a stuttering, 30-FPS locked version of the base game.
However, the biggest change is to the game’s open-world, which is a bit less open. As opposed to the seemlessness with which character could enter and leave Hogwarts and Hogsmeade (and a few other locations), now a jarring loading screen separates each from the open world, subdividing the game into distinct (if large) “levels” and slowing gameplay to a crawl. Each one reportedly takes between 30-50 seconds; a notable chunk of time considering that times of less than that were a cause of concern 15 years ago for games like Mass Effect and Fallout: New Vegas. Ultimately, that increased loading time is going to be what frustrates players the most in the new Switch version.
And so, while not unexpected, the Switch port of Hogwarts Legacy has already proven to be a bit of a disappointment. While it is serviceable and will let Switch players enjoy being the game in a portable format, it should probably be a last resort for would-be-wizards. Considering that this has become such a norm for post-release Switch ports, perhaps it is even about time to start asking questions about whether developer resources could’ve been better spent elsewhere… But that is a topic for another time.
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Graves is an avid writer, web designer, and gamer, with more ideas than he could hope to achieve in a lifetime. But, armed with a mug of coffee and an overactive imagination, he’ll try. When he isn’t working on a creative project, he is painting miniatures, reading cheesy sci-fi novels, or making music.