Title: Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls
Release Date: January 15, 2020
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: XSEED Games
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Wizardry has a long line of titles that span over 40 years, starting on IBM PC and Super Famicon in the early ’80s. The franchise that began with developer Sir-Tech is reemerging on PC after a short break. Wizardry spin-offs have spawned in Japan for a while now, but not every title comes west. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is a spin-off from the main series that first released on PlayStation 3 in 2011. While the game doesn’t do much in terms of additional features, it does present a solid dungeon-crawling experience for new players to enjoy.
After a few ports, the PC version of Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is finally here. The game borrows a few elements found in Wizardry 5 with a focus on technical fundamentals but makes a name for itself through its straightforward dungeon crawler systems. For those who haven’t played the series, this is a balanced and well-defined adventure, that respects the titles that came before, but simultaneously, tries to open as many new doors as possible to reach a new and younger audience.
Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls takes place in the 100th year of Athals as peace reigns across the land. There are three factions who rule over the world and built an alliance to secure their place. However, forces of evil still lurk and gradually surface in this new world. Many speculate the return of dark times, but it’s rumored that artifacts found in the lost civilization, Draguun, may hold the answer to putting a stop to impending doom.
Players begin by choosing a race among five that are available, Human, Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, and Porku. They are then allowed to distribute points that automatically set their class. There are eight different classes that range from Fighter, Mage, Thief, and others, which will dictate your approach in battles. At each new level, you can set points to six different skills, and it’s highly recommended to pick them carefully.
When recruiting or creating new units, it’s essential to attribute the points to their primary class. As with its predecessors, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is played through a Front and Rear line of active and passive skills. While traversing the dungeons, several enemies will make a stand, and defeating them will grant experience and items. Battles are well balanced with various ways to approach situations strategically. It’s possible to grind experience a bit, but with different equipment and improved skills, it’s not all that needed.
Healing your party, searching for items, and preempting your strategy is the key to success. In the town’s plaza, the Item shop will grant you the opportunity to upgrade and improve your weaponry, as well as stockpile items for the adventure ahead. The Inn offers a place to rest, which I probably used more than I’d like to admit. Everything you’d need for your quest is present and sometimes talking to NPC’s will reveal unexpected tips that will help you out.
The lack of a proper tutorial is perhaps the most missing feature that could hinder a new player’s experience, but it’s possible to learn the systems through gameplay alone. The game doesn’t distinguish itself from other Wizardry titles. Therefore it’s not too much for seasoned fans to pick up an enjoy.
As fans of dungeon crawling RPGs know, most the game is spent in dungeons. Exploring these dungeons presents various challenges that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Battles are random and depend mostly on location. Different dungeons will have you facing foes that vary in skill and ability. An option to flee the battle is available but may not always work. Thankfully a save-game function exists, which allows you to save pretty much wherever you want.
The gameplay, features, and mechanics all work together to provide a balanced dungeon-crawling experience. Throughout the game, new equipment and stronger allies make each adventure worth it. But to be fair, nothing was really improved or added from the Playstation 3 version of the game. Some technical details were patched, such as the resolution, but everything else seems like the very same adventure.
The overall presentation is what you’d expect from a classic RPG with traditional and straightforward menus. The illustrations in the game are all detailed, with anime-like renders for characters and enemies. That said, the visuals aren’t the most notorious aspect, as development seemed to focus more on game mechanics.
Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is still locked at 30fps, which is a shame and shows how much this release barely had any re-work done. That said, increasing the frame rate wouldn’t change much outside of navigating through dungeons and some battles with lots of animations. Keyboard and mouse support are also poorly optimized, but costume keybinding is available, although the mouse is left out.
The sound design is excellent, delivering awesome music for each scene. The characters aren’t voiced over but do let a common expression in Japanese, which is fantastic to set up the ambiance. The battle theme is the most resonant track, but after a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if you turned off the sound and played while listening to your private library.
Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is a port, and that’s pretty much where it stands. It doesn’t add anything new to the franchise or to dungeon crawlers in general, but it’s still a decent and entertaining game. The well-balanced RPG systems make this a high starting point for the Wizardry series, which doesn’t get enough attention in the west. The adventure retains its originality from almost ten years ago and opens the possibility of other ports in the future.
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