Sirtech’s last and probably last role-playing game, Wizardy 8, was in development for a whopping 4 years. During this time, the developer lost not only common US publishers, but also massive development changes. Because of all these difficulties in bringing a game like this to the market, you may find that a game like Wizardy needs a little bit of attention.
A good thing in Wizardy 8 is how the game appears. The environment looks surprisingly good, but this is Sirtech’s first game in full 3D polygons… For example, the monsters in this game are represented by high quality 3D models, so graphically everything is fine. Still, some of the outdoor locations (especially the expansive ones) are a bit blocky, but they did their best at Sirtech with quest graphics.
Sound & Voice
The sound also looks good. For example, if you are exploring the world, you will hear an amusing sound with all the background noises such as birds and the like. Then when you are defeating one or more monsters, you will hear the sound of steel against steel and many magic spells being cast.
The voice sounds are funny because both the playing and the non-players (NPCs) were recorded by the same actor, but that doesn’t matter, because the sound changes a lot. This, by the way, was done by the same actors as those of the Jagged Alliance series. For example, you can create different characters that have an Italian accent or that speak heavy German, which comes across very well.
There is plenty of time to explore the world (that’s okay with a game of 3 CDs or 1.8 GGB install size) as there are many expansive locations and alternations between dark dungeons, green forests and many densely populated cities. The estimated playing time is more than 70 hours, so Wizardy certainly does not fall short of that compared to Half-life: Blue Shift…
There are also plenty of quests that follow the storyline and sub-quests that you can choose whether to complete or not.
You will have to do a lot of hacking & slashing in this game. And because you look through a first-person view, this is not always easy, although this is nicely remedied here. Of course this is not a game like Diablo where you have to click like crazy, but this is more of a hardcore RPG game that the real enthusiasts will certainly like. Some experience is not really required, but it is a bonus.
You can also set the battle formations of your choice (normally the first half of your party is covered in the first row and the second half in the back) to make it easier to fight against larger groups of monsters. Wizardy 8 has a good variety of monsters that use simple but effective strategies to dominate you like in group attacks.
The most interesting thing about this game is watching your party members grow and get stronger with every hit or thrust. This is truly addictive! It is clear to see that with each level that you gain more and more power, and can balance yourself more in different skills.
The skill system is very similar to that of Everquest and Asheron’s Call; you can improve the skill by spending points on different skills, the so-called “skill points”. That is why there is another reason to play this game several times: try out a different race / class with different skills and who again have a drooling mouth …
2001 was not a great year for the (many) RPG fans, so you better ram this game into your computer quickly because this is the last game that Sirtech will ever make … It therefore deserves one of the best RPG games of the year with its surprisingly good looks and highly addictive gameplay!
- Gameplay: 10
- Graphics: 8
- Sound: 8
- Addiction level: 10
- Total: 92/100
Minimum requirements: PII 233 or equal, 64 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 3D Accelerator, 8MB VRAM, 1229 MB disk space, mouse, soundcard.
(Screens source: Ironworks Gaming)
(This review is originally written in Dutch, in 2002)