By ArbitraryWater 30 Comments
Let's get something out of the way right now: There is no actual revenge in this thread. But since it's the first game I have blogged about since the 1 year anniversary of medoing this stupid crap, I think it deserved a better title. Oh, and let's get something else out of the way: 80's cartoon themes are insanely catchy. You all know what I mean.
Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah. Wizardry 8. It's rad. Oh, I'm not allowed to make a blog that short? Ok, fine. Made by the now-defunct (notice a trend?) Sir Tech and released in late 2001, Wizardry 8 represents an end of an era, not just because it's the last game in the series that pretty much created the entire RPG genre (along with Ultima) as we know it, but also because it's the last game of the First-Person-Party-Based-Dungeon-Crawling-RPG subgenre that wasn't an unfinished piece of mediocrity ( Might and Magic IX) or a sadistic, Japanese developed throwback ( Etrian Odyssey, The Dark Spire) that take after the very first games in the genre (i.e. Before it was good). That's pretty dang significant, and even if you dang kids and your dang Mass Effects and what have you don't get it, it's a fairly big deal. Really.
Much like a lot of the RPGs I like, Wizardry 8 doesn't exactly have an oscar winning screenplay for a story. It merely serves as context for your party to fuck shit up and is at least competent enough to keep me invested in the world. Weirdly enough, the world of Wizardry flaunts its sci-fi themes much, much, much more oververtly than Might and Magic, which at least for 6 and 7 didn't have you fighting robots with overpowered laser guns until the last 5 hours of the game or so. Sadly, you don't get laser guns in Wiz 8, but you do have the opportunity to recruit a robot into your party, which sort of makes up for it. But despite these similarities Wizardry and Might and Magic are very different takes on the same genre. Much like Might and Magic, you create a party with the intention to fuck shit up with it, and if you are crazy you can import a party from Wizardry 7 (which just happens to have came out in 1992). In this aspect alone, Wiz 8 is awesome. There are 15 different classes and 11 different races (really, if you want details on this just take a look at this game's wiki page. It's well made) to choose from to form a party of 6 (8 with NPC characters). The classes manage to differentiate themselves quite nicely, but perhaps the greatest part of character customization is giving your guys voices. The surprising amount of voices, ranging from "generic fantasy" to "borderline racist" are invoked quite often to great effect. Want a Fairy Ninja with a hispanic accent who talks in the 3rd person as if he were narrating an epic adventure? That is possible.
But what is the actual flow of the gameplay? Slow. After the initial dungeon, your party goes down a (long) and difficult (Wiz 8 is unapologetic in it's difficulty, but it's not sadistic) road to the first town, where they get the game's overlying quest (get 3 artifacts and ascend to the cosmic circle) as well as introductions to the two warring factions that will help you reach that goal. (Militaristic Rhino people and Cult-like spider people). Unfortunately, one of my few gripes with Wiz 8 is that practically every quest is required, unless you want to go out of your way to make things difficult. There is also a lot of walking going on in some otherwise empty maps, only to be broken up by combat encounters, which frankly take too long even when the speed is cranked up all the way. The combat itself is probably the greatest part of the game though. It requires a lot of thinking, and unlike plenty of other games, Wiz 8 has status effect spells that work, and without them the combat is significantly harder. Direct Damage spells, by comparison, aren't quite as useful as they should be. But really, it's your upfront melee guys who will be doing most of the damage anyways.
Wizardry 8 is an interesting game. It's difficult, rewarding, and quite slow, and I am still very much excited to finish it. Along with X-COM it represents the kind of game that I recommend with very little concessions. Unfortunately, it's not very easy to find for a decent price, but if you do find it (or *cough* acquire it) I suggest you get it.
Next up: Really, I have no idea. I am going to try to finish this game, and that's going to require some effort.