Review by Overlord Hikash

Reviewed: 11/07/03

Wizardry at It's Best

Wizardry; This name has been synonymous with dungeon crawling for the past twenty years. The games just kept getting better, with few exceptions. This isn't one of them.

Graphics: This game is presents itself with a beautiful landscape, from snowy mountains, to cavern waterfalls, to moss covered fortresses. Everything is sharp and crisp, especially the monsters. Usually Wizardry games had monsters that didn't really move, save for wobbling back and forth when they attacked, if that. This game has the beasts you fight have battle stances, defense stances, and them running up to attack when delivering a blow. Magic using monsters don't use normal attack actions to cast spells; it has it's own casting movement, which is usually very interesting.

Gameplay: Classic dungeon crawling. You don't see your characters when you move about, although the screen does kind of go up and down along with your footsteps (this can be turned off). Also, for the impatient ones, your party can sprint for a set amount of time, but them must rest for a bit. In battles, this game brings team attacks to the table. Depending on how high your ''trust'' bar is, you have access to different team attacks, such as double slashes and archers covering your fighters from attacks. The inventory system is as it always was; each character can hold ten or so items and trade between one of the other five party members. The magic system on the other hand, is completely different. As you gain levels, you can cast a certain amount of spells per spell level (like in all Wizardry's) but to acquire spells, you need to bring ''ingredients'', of sorts, that you find from monsters and such. Once you get the certain ingredients, one of the shops in town will combine them into a spell stone. This will teach a character the spell, or level it up, if the character already has it. The higher the level spell, the stronger it is, obviously.

Sound: Nothing to complain about. The battle music fits the mood, as do the boss theme(s). You can hear your feet crushing snow beneath your boot as you walk, or the echoes as you run through a cave corridor. Doors creak and elevators squeak from rusty chains. Your weapons make swinging or slicing sounds as you swing them in combat, and spells make sounds that would fit the spell; zaps for lightings, explosions from fireballs, etc.

Difficulty: As with any RPG, the difficulty can vary. If you go into the dungeon ill equipped and under leveled, you will undoubtedly get slaughtered by a group of rogues. If you level up a LOT and always have top of the line equipment and maxed out spells, chances are that you'll breeze through the game with no problem. It really depends on what kind of gamer you are. For the person who levels up occasionally and is well equipped, you'll run into a rut only but so often, say when you encounter a group of paralyzing monsters or a sudden boss fight. So in thus, the difficulty ranges from simple to very hard.

Fun Factor: I find this gamer very enjoyable, even though it can be aggravating from time to time, such as the Graveyard floor. Other than that, you'll have a good time setting up ''combos'' with team attacks and such, and watching the enemies get cut down by your well laid traps, as it were. Very entertaining. All in all, very fun.

Replayability: This is one of the few times I've reviewed a game before beating it. Since I haven't beaten it, I cannot really say anything about replayability. Just reflect on previous dungeon crawlers you've played, and think as to if you'd play those again. Should give you a good idea as to if you'd want to replay this as well.

Buy or Rent? Buy it, definitely. If you get the chance to buy it, do so. Renting an RPG/Dungeon Crawler isn't the same as owning it, and being able to take your time to enjoy it. It's most displeasing you have a few days time limit when you're so close to destroying etc. etc. etc.

So, in summary, this game rocks. Plain and simple. I love dungeon crawlers, and any fans of said genre should definitely invest in this.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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