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Is the Harry Potter game magic? Examining Hogwarts Legacy reviews

Is the Harry Potter game magic? Analyzing Hogwarts Legacy reviews

Books, movies and even Broadway – the world of Harry Potter has spread its magic across almost all entertainment formats. Nonetheless, other than some movie-based entries with questionable graphics, the bespectacled wizard has yet to conquer the world of gaming. However, a new entry has apparated onto the scene set to change that. We examined users’ Hogwarts Legacy reviews to find out if the wizarding world has finally conquered gaming.

Set 100 years before the books, the game launched on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S last month. It comes to the Xbox One and PS4 in April and Nintendo Switch in July. This staggered release offers developer Avalanche Software and franchise owner Warner Bros. the opportunity to iterate both the game itself and how they market it – based on what PC and next-gen console players say.

Historically, understanding players’ views required manually reading and coding feedback – a laborious, inefficient process. Text analysis removes the need for manual processes, improving time to insight and eliminating the potential for human bias. To demonstrate how, we used text analytics to find insights in Hogwarts Legacy reviews. To begin, we took positive and negative reviews – consisting of hundreds of thousands of words – from gaming hub Steam. After gathering each text data set, we uploaded them both to our reviews analysis platform.

Relative Insight brings quantitative rigor to qualitative data. The platform uses AI-powered natural language processing to categorize linguistic features within text data, including topics, grammar, phrases, words and emotions. It then calculates which of these features are more likely to appear in each data set using relative difference – offering a meaningful metric for insights teams.

Or, to put it another way, the software casts its version of a “Revelio” spell to uncover the insights within.

Is Hogwarts Legacy good? The nostalgia seekers think so…

The prospect of exploring Hogwarts had fans practising their ‘swish and flicks’ long before the game’s release. Once it was available to download, there’s a split in whether their expectations have been met.

Unsurprisingly, positive Hogwarts Legacy reviews indicated that the game was everything players hoped for. Participating in the ‘wizarding world’ was enough for them – they were 5.5x more likely to use this phrase and 9.7x more likely call it an ‘amazing world’.

Faithfulness to the source material was also important for these gamers. They were 4.3x more likely to talk about the books and referenced the movies 3.9x more, with many stating that playing the game took them back to their ‘childhood’, with this word overindexing by 5.1x.

The game does a great job of capturing the magic and wonder of the Harry Potter universe, and is sure to bring back fond memories for fans of the books and movies. It’s the childhood experience you’ve been waiting for, and I highly recommend it!

But the RPG enthusiasts are feeling let down

However, some gamers wanted more. Negative reviewers were infinitely more likely to use the phrase ‘open world RPG’ and the word ‘advertised’. Their thought process is clear – Hogwarts Legacy is advertised as an open world role playing game, but they don’t believe it fulfils that description. They were also 4.7x more likely to use the word ‘matter’, stating that their in-game choices didn’t appear to make a difference to the storyline – a key element of an RPG.

How disappointed I am in this game. This was advertised as “make your own path” kind of game, yet it can’t be further away from the truth.

Mentions of ‘cats’ greatly over-indexed with positive reviewers. In fact, our review analysis found that gamers leaving positive feedback were 20.0x more likely to use the word, 5.2x more likely to talk about ‘pets’ and used the phrase ‘petting cats’ infinitely more. While their emphasis on being able to pet cats was slightly tongue-in-cheek, those who view the game favorably are genuinely enthused by this niche addition.

10/10 you can pet cats. No but seriously I can’t walk past a single cat without petting it at least 2 times.

Repetitive and boring storylines are a chief complaint

While positive reviewers liked the repeatable opportunity of petting cats, other areas of repetition grated with negative reviewers. They were 6.6x more likely to describe the game as ‘shallow’, used the word ‘boring’ 5.6x more and were 6.2x more likely to say it was ‘bland’.

Gamers posting negative Hogwarts Legacy reviews were also 4.2x more likely to describe aspects of the game as ‘pointless’ and infinitely more likely to use the word ‘repeating’ to highlight the nature of some quests.

The activities are just a joke. The map is huge and has only 3 types of activities that are repeating, repeating, repeating and repeating… Neverending dungeons with goblins and spiders, and even in main quests and side quests they are sending you to the same caves and dungeons to fight spiders, trolls and goblins. Again and again.

Quantify what gamers are saying

The varying styles Hogwarts Legacy reviews

Interestingly, reviewers with varying mindsets stated their opinions in different ways.

Those leaving negative Hogwarts Legacy reviews used traditional sentence structures which offered detail into what they disliked about the game. This largely consisted of bugs and performance issues. They were 10.8x more likely to use words related to the topic of ‘file sharing’ – relating to gamers losing their save files – and talked about ‘fps drops’ (frames per second drops) 4.0x more. This led to them using the phrases ‘poor performance’ and ‘terrible performance’ infinitely more.

The poor performance is so brutal that I can’t recommend the game at this time. I really hope they fix this soon. The day 1 patch did not help.

For some positive reviewers, the structure was very different. They were more likely to use checkboxes to communicate how they felt about different elements of the game. These appeared infinitely more, meaning that negative reviewers didn’t mimic this method of communicating (by using crosses instead of check marks).

Perfect game for Harry Potter fans!! —{graphics}— ☐ you forget what reality is ☑ beautiful ☐ good ☐ decent ☐ bad ☐ don’t look too long at it ☐ ms-Dos —{gameplay}— ☐ very good ☑ good ☐ it’s just gameplay ☐ mehh ☐ watch paint dry instead ☐ just don’t…

This variation in communication styles is fascinating, perhaps reflecting that positive reviewers want to talk about all aspects of the game as succinctly as possible, while negative reviewers want to focus on the areas which irritate them most.

Reviews analysis identifies game’s successes and challenges

By conducting text analysis on Hogwarts Legacy reviews, we’ve uncovered customer insights which the game’s developers can use as they ready themselves to launch the title on other consoles.

Promoting the game’s faithfulness to the wizarding world is paramount in attracting new players, while using in-game clips and perhaps even images of cats to help stand out to prospective purchasers. Avalanche and Warner Bros. could also tailor messaging and communications to include checkbox-style lists as a way to distil information in a way which speaks to gamers.

In terms of improving the product, focusing development work on performance issues is top priority. However, adding in extra quests and storylines which offer variety and allow players to make choices which have a tangible impact on the storyline should also be something the developers consider.

Customer reviews have always contained valuable insights, but at a volume which makes manual analysis a headache for insights teams. Text analytics software removes that challenge, meaning you can mine reviews for insights in minutes. Speak to one of our experts to discover how we can help you find insights from your review data.