The traditional dungeon crawler game has been done to death. However, they are still popular. Wizardry is one such game and its got such a rich and long history behind it. This franchise has been going since the 1980’s and is very well backed by many fans. You lead a team of adventurers along many a dark dungeon in search of daemons, evil creatures and loot. This game has all the exploration elements you could ask for and is accompanied by some nice manga-style cartoon graphics and decent gameplay.
You are a citizen of Darua, when king Athals becomes mad the land is divided into three pieces and whilst a peace is formed the monsters and demons begun to rise up. It’s your job to lead a group of explorers (up to six) into the dark corridors of dungeons to find seals that locked the creatures away and pick up some nifty weapons and spells along the way. When you begin the game you need to create your character, this involves picking between male and female, then choosing one of the races available in the game: Human, Elf, Gnome, Dwarf and Porklu. Then you must choose between a good or evil alignment, you should also know that good characters can’t be with evil ones so this adds a good choice for the gamer. It’s also worth mentioning that you need healers and magicians in your ranks to provide you with support as well. Basically, you need to choose a balanced team.
Then you must assign points to various stats as per normal in these kind of games. Once done, you are transported to the hub of this game, a town called Aitox. This where you can buy weapons and potions, get quests, revive fallen comrades and everything else you need to do. Now on to the meat of this game, the exploration aspect. It’s done one step at a time, yes, I said ‘one step’. You move along a grid-like board and the walking and fighting is done in first person. The fighting is turn-based, once you encounter beasts they line up in a row and you can fight them one at a time. You give commands to your party and fights play out as attacks and magic animations. The winner is a combination of who has the best stats and skills, and alignment even has an impact. As you win your characters gain experience points that you use for levelling up. It’s a typical RPG with an added turn -based element just like your favourite table top game.
Party members that have died are taken to the Temple and you must pay to place a prayer that will hopefully bring them back. The controls are very simple and everything is easy to access and learn, you also have to do a trial quest first before the main quests from the guild, this is good at teaching you how to do things. The graphics are not the amazing 3D ones that the game is advertised to have. They are nicely drawn and the manga-style is very cool but the fighting sequences are not very 3D, the enemies that approach you look like they are just getting bigger not actually moving. When your moving through the dungeons the torches and doors are pretty much the only thing you see. The animations for the attacks and spells are good enough and some of them look very mystical.
The music is good, there is a good feeling of old style RPG and it ties into to the medieval theme very well. The character animations are not that well done and the voices are cheesy at best. They do feel right though, it’s an odd mix of cheese and authenticity. The writing is well done and the story is progressed at a good pace. You don’t actually need to perform that many quests to complete this game, but the sheer amount of loot on offer will get you playing for hours. This is easily a game in which you can pour a lot of time into and lose a good chunk of your life.
Overall, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is a nice dungeon crawler game. Its comprises all the elements you would expect from a turn-based RPG game. The story is a typical one and the combat is as expected. The graphics are nice to look at but sadly not the amazing 3D as thought. The levelling up system is well implemented and there is a lot of reward to be had in this game. The loot is varied as are the evil creatures and beasts lurking in the dungeons. A decent game with some good combat, I can’t help feeling a little flat though whilst playing it as it’s very repetitive. Fans of the franchise will love it and spend a good amount of time getting lost in this. Turn-based combat at its best? Possibly.
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