Category: News ArchiveHits: 2002
I miss the old dungeon crawling games of the 80's and 90's. Lands of Lore, Shining in the Darkness andWizardry were all good times if you enjoyed working for your rewards. A lot of RPG's in this day and age essentially hand you everything in the name of advancing the story, and games most people consider (hard) are only so until you learn the mechanics or because the developers mistook (cheap) for (challenge). Wizardry, to a limited extent, understood that. Grinding was something of a requirement in many of the games, and you'd often have to send one warrior into the dungeon and see how far he got before being killed to know how bad the first few hours would be. Despite this, and perhaps because of it, the sorts of challenges they presented to the player were highly rewarding. Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land was one of the best games of its type ever, simply because it understood the balance between grinding and exploration needed to keep the game interesting and knew just how to punish the player for screwing up. The possibility of a character being lost forever because of some bad resurrection rolls or the whole party being wiped out by Death kept the player on their toes, and the game was challenging without being frustrating, something a lot of similar games lack.I'd want nothing more than to see the return of the Wizardry franchise, but only by developers who truly understand the series (and what are the chances of that happening with Sir-tech gone?).
While it's true that there are games that present a similar experience, they aren't really the same sort of experience Tale of the Forsaken Land was. Etrian Odyssey is Wizardry for pussies, frankly, and Etrian Odyssey 2 doubly so. While they ape the concept well enough, and you can enjoy them if you like these kinds of games, there's no real risk/reward scenario in place when you can sleep for two weeks, murder a boss, level everyone up, and repeat the process to grind your way through things. Especially since the grind is, more often than not, all you have to keep you going. The FOE's were a nice touch in the first game when killing them meant something, but the second game made them worthless to fight unless you needed vendor trash from them, which also seems counter-intuitive to the grind itself. The Dark Spire, conversely, is as hardcore as it gets, but it's really for the gamer who LOVED the old-school hardcore games of the 80's. It doesn't take any of the lessons Wizardry learned to heart on game balance, making the grind all you have to keep you going for entirely different reasons. It's nice that death is not only a realistic possibility, but something to actively FEAR, but spending four hours on the first floor for fear that you'll die if you go any further isn't going to appeal to many players.
And no, that doesn't include the anime-themed abominations being developed right now.