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Updated Wizardy 8 Press Demo Review

by Garrett, 2001-11-01

When Wizardry 8 will finally hit stores on November 15th this year, it will have taken more than 9 years after the release of Wizardry 7 - Crusaders of the Dark Savant in 1992 for a new Wizardry game to surface! Chances are, that this will be the last PC Wizardry Game, unless another company acquires the rights for the series from the doomed Sir Tech company - but that's another story. Let's take a look at the game now, which Sir Tech claims to be their finest ever, but which also has to appeal to long term fans as well as a new generation of RPG fans:

The demo starts with a preconfigured party of 6 heroes, so we couldn't yet test the improved character creation process.

This preconfigured party is also more advanced than the first party in the final game, to be able to show more of the gameplay, combat & magic in the demo, but also the monsters are more advanced now (note: you can import you party from Wizardry 7 into Wizardry 8 or create a new one; depending on your outcome in Wizardry 7, you start in one of 4 different areas - this demo starts where a newly created party will start the game).

The press demo also features a detailed introduction (unlike the smaller public demo). Wizardry 8 concludes & finishes the story started in Wizardry 7 and the very Dark Savant we battled in ‘Crusaders of the Dark Savant' attacks the space ship of our party, which crashes on the shore of an abandoned monastery, home of the ‘Chaos Molare', one of the three ancient artifacts used by the Galactic Lords to forge the world.


The biggest change to Wizardry 6 or 7 is of course the full 360° environment, which means a lot of gameplay changes, especially to the combat system. Where in the previous installments enemies popped out of nowhere, you can now see and attack them from a distance.

As soon as you see the monsters, the program switches from its real time exploration mode to a turn-based combat mode. You can equip two weapons for each character, both close-combat- and ranged-weapons. Depending on how far the enemies are away, your characters use them automatically.

You can give orders your party, prepare spells and then let one round begin, until you make new orders after that round or you simply chose to fight in real-time, which you can stop anytime to give new orders as well - else your heroes repeat the last action.

Another very strategic element is brought into combat by the radar and the party formation. You can set the party formation according to the enemies location, in order to keep your mages out of close combat, for example.


Also, targeting is very nicely done. Highlighted triangles above the enemy show, which character attacks which monster. And, if you choose to cast an offensive spell, you will directly see, which monster can be struck by that spell (or even several monsters, when using an area spell such as the fireball for example).

Wizardry 8 offers a variety of spells in different schools of magic, and you can chose the amount of mana points you use for that spell - the more you chose, the stronger the outcome of course.


The whole gameplay system is very easy to master after you got used to it, which should not take longer than 1 hour. A lot of details have been added, in order to make life for us players as confortable as possible: When you place a new item in your inventory, you can select ‘Cast Identify' from the inventory directly without having to open your spell book for example.

Speaking of inventory, there now is a party inventory, which makes it a lot easier to share items between your party members.

Conversation is also very complex, with a lot of key words and options.

Gameplay Rating: 85%

Character Advancement

Character advancment is very detailed and complex as well. You can determine what skills, spells (if any) and of course attributes you want to improve. There you have to pay attention to fulfill the requirements for a class change, should you plan to do one for a character. Class changes can only be made in the advancment screen any more.

The Visuals

The monastery dungeon looks pretty cool, smooth, with a lot of different & detailed wall textures and offers nice visual effects, for example, when casting spells.

Unfortunately this goes not for the ouside area! They somehow remind me of the aged Might & Magic engine, which has been used in parts 6, 7 and 8 of that series. Ok, it's not that bad, but the range of view is very limited, in the demo at least. Still the outside graphics are good enough, so they are not ruining any fun.

The screen layout itself is very adjustable, and you can turn on and off characters graphics, radar, formation and other things to get an almost full 3D view. The resolution can be switched from 640x480 up to 1600x1200.

Visual Rating: 75%


Kevin Manthei wrote the score for Wizardry 8. Do I need to say more? His fantastic works include Vampire - The Masquerade, King's Quest 8, Sacrifice and several movies.
We have two songs posted for you, so you can listen to these tracks yourself.
Sound effects are very good as well and when you hear a resurrected character saying: ‘I suggest healing me before I die the next time - it proves to be far more effective' you know what RPGamers all over the world will quote in the upcoming months.

Audio Rating: 90%


The demo looks very promising. Of course, some parts have not yet been implemented, but if the other features, like character creation, story or long time motivation are as good as the demo, Wizardry 8 will become the RPG Highlight of 2001!

Fun Rating: 90%

Overall Rating: 86%

Average Reader Ratings: 8.04 (333 votes)
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