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Wizardry 8 Preview
By Dan Huling | March 20th 2001

It's been many many years since the last Wizardry game has been released, and ever since, I (as many of you) have been patiently waiting--hoping that another would be released.

Our wish has been granted!

When I received the copy of the Wizardry 8 press copy, I loaded it up, and got my drink and smokes ready. This was going to be fun!


The setup program is excellent as well, many options to choose from. Screen resolutions can go all the way up to 1600x1200x32, and support for tons of Audio codecs as well. Very simple to setup too.
Score

N/A

Genre
     Roleplaying

Developer
    
Sir-tech Canada

Publisher
    
Sir-tech Canada

System
     Windows

Release Date
     July 2001
 
Screenshots

Loading the game, the first thing you'll notice is the smooth movements of the mouse and the quality graphics. (In many games, the mouse is very 'jumpy' and is annoying--not here though!).

Wizardry 8 picks up where Wizardry 7: Crusaders of the Dark Savant left off. You may recall that all hell had broken loose at the end of Wizardry 7. The Dark Savant had taken flight with a device called the Astral
Dominae, an incredibly powerful artifact containing the secret of life itself.

Following him are two powerful races, the T'Rang and the Umpani, as well as your own brave party of adventurers. Everyone is headed to Dominus, a world on the cusp of the Cosmic Circle, birthplace of the Astral Dominae and home of the Cosmic Lords. Many paths will converge on Dominus, and many long-hidden secrets will be revealed.


And don't worry, if you never played Wizardry 7, there will be a special intro for you to catch you up on what happened.

The Graphics as I stated above, are great. You can go up to 1600x1200x32 screen res wise, and uses 3D Acceleration, with excellent effects such as Transparencies, Overlays, Lighting, Shadowing, Lens Flares and more!

Another thing about the graphics is how 'clean' they look. The textures are extremely detailed, creating a very enjoyable world rendered environment!

The monsters that I have seen, such as Crabs, Green Ooze, Scorpions and a few others look good as well. (Good polygon count)

The interface is much like Wizards & Warriors except that it's scaleable! Something many wanted in W&W. You can choose from full screen view, Medium view, and the old style (Wizardry 7 looking) Small screen. 

Your party formation also plays a LARGE part in combat. The direction of the characters sight and the location in formation will decide if the enemy reachable by melee attacks.
Also, say one of your characters are very low on hit points, you can take a turn to move in into the back (Formation change) and the others in your party can protect that character. 

As with most RPG's, you can click on the player portrait and get the stats and/or the avatar page with all your equipment and items. You will be able to wield two weapons as well (Depends on character class though)

You will have 8  slots for your 'backpack' and as well as a section called 'common stock', which is like a pooled backpack that every character can use. Moving around is simple, and again, much like Wizards & Warriors (Hold down right mouse button to mouse-look) and using keyboard arrows to move. There are also keyboard settings you can map, so if you don't like the layout, you can change it! You can also create 'hot keys' that you specify, for tasks, spells and such for each player.

Combat is turn-based, which is really handled well in Wizardry 8, you have as much time as you want to choose your attack/swap weapons/items/formation change and more! Another option is the Walk or 'run' command. If things are looking bad, and the monsters are kicking your ass, you can flee with those two options.

What impressed me a lot was the Player Characters actually respond to you! Say you are walking along.. One of your characters all of the sudden will say "Look over there". when you do, and find the hidden item on the ground, that characters 'finding' skill will go up! (This is true about Weapon attacks as well). They will also ask for a party leader if there is none.
When one of the characters dies, the others voice their sadness about the loss. (Very nice) Some characters (as in W&W) can sense when danger is near, or if evil is lurking in the area.

The spell system is totally awesome, and the spell effects are amazing looking! Since this is a press copy with only one level, I've only seen the lower level spells, but I'm sure the higher ones are even MORE impressive!

Another thing I would report on is the way  character generation is handled, but again, this is a press copy, and only allows us to load a saved game. (If/when we receive a copy that allows character creation, we'll have the scoop on it ASAP)

In closing, all I got to say is WOW! This is one polished Roleplaying game, and if you overlook it when it's released, you'll be missing out on a great game with a story with depth, excellent graphics and sound, and finally--It's from Sir-Tech! (Bows to them)

Remember to check out the screenshots so you can short out your keyboard with drool!


 


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