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Wizardry 8 Review
developer: Sir-Tech Canada
PII-300, 64MB RAM, 1.2GB HDD, 8MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Nov 14, 01
|» All About Wizardry 8 on ActionTrip|
Branislav "Bane" Babovic
Far before most of the gaming population today started realizing what computers are, the first six parts of the Wizardry serial had already been on the market for various platforms - from consoles to personal computers with but a couple of megabytes of RAM on them, for quite some time. Those were the days when skilful programmers actually managed to create firm and functional code in harsh hardware conditions without the help of modern 3D acceleration and superior CPUs.
The last Wizardry that appeared on the market, Wizardry VII - Crusaders of Dark Savant (appeared in 1992, and got re-released in 1999 as Wizardry Gold), really made a breakthrough in computer RP/FRP games. Wizardry VIII follows the footsteps of its predecessor. The developers added a lot of technical details to make the old system use all the benefits of the modern 3D technology. Everything in the game is in 3D apart from the character portraits and stats.
Wizardry VIII uses the standard first-person view. The interface is crowded with various elements that reduce the size of the view, but you will be able to turn some of those elements (like character portraits or the radar) off at any time. This latest 3D reincarnation of the Wizardry serial looks very impressive, especially if you run it at maximum supported resolution of 1280 x 1024. The terrain and the monsters and very detailed (still not as much as in the latest FPS titles), and the lighting and shadow effects only further improve the fantastic atmosphere in dungeons, temples, wastelands and swamps.
I would also like to mention the excellent sound (EAX and 3D surround are fully supported), and the numerous voices you can assign to your characters at party creation. There are many dialogues with the NPCs in the game, and they all feature some great voice acting.
Now for the plot: Before time started, the Cosmic Lords created three powerful artifacts: The Astral Domininae - which contains the secrets of all life, Chaos Molarae - which contains all changes that happen and the Destiny Dominus - which contains all knowledge. When the cosmic forge got stolen, the secrets of the artifacts were spread across the galaxy. Destiny Dominus had been hidden deep under a monastery on planet Dominus for millennia, but some unknown madman recently stole it. After a great battle, Dark Savant, one of the worst villains in the Wizardry serial managed to acquire Astral Dominae and headed towards Dominus in search for the remaining artifacts. In the meantime, your coterie work as bodyguards for a mysterious little man who is also headed for Dominus. As you approach the planet, Dark Savant attacks your space-ship and your coterie barely survives the crash. You decide to find the artifacts and take the Astral Dominae from Dark Savant, which would turn you into deities on the same level as the Cosmic Lords. The entire planet Dominus is full of futuristic devices, flashy computers and holograms, but all this has been designed so well that it really becomes the fantasy atmosphere.
The player controls a six-member coterie, which can increase up to eight members in the game. You can also import your characters from Wizardry VII or Wizardry Gold. Wizardry VIII has multiple endings just like all the games in the series.
The first thing you have to do (like in any other RPG) is to create your characters. The game features a lot of different races (Elves, Faeries, Gnomes, Felpurrs, Hobbits, Lizardmen, Humans, Rawulfs, Mooks, Dracons and Dwarves) and fifteen character classes (Bard, Bishop, Fighter, Monk, Ninja, Priest, Ranger, Gadgeteer, Alchemist, Valkyrie, Lord, Mage, Rogue, Samurai and Psionic). Each race can choose any class, but some races will gain bonuses in certain classes. For instance, Rawulfs will make excellent warriors, and Elves and Faeries great mages. Even though Wizardry is primarily a fantasy game, it features one character class that would be more typical for SF - the Gadgeteer, which is capable of combining various items and using advanced technology. He starts the game with an Omni Gun; a weapon capable of launching all sorts of projectiles, from rocks to rockets!
A huge RPG, detailed graphics, wide range of professions and races, interesting gameplay;
Fights with several opponents can get very tedious and way too hard.