Sunday , 19 May 2024
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The Wizards VR Review

The Wizards VR Review (HTC Vive)

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.

The team at Carbon Studios have released the final build of their second VR title The Wizards. Decent Wizardry games is something that seems to be lacking in the VR medium – but does The Wizards use it’s magic to resolve this?

The game comes with a campaign mode, that offers an idea of story – which to me felt like more a small base to make their game around. Where this might seem like a bad idea, it is really all the game needed. The story basically opens with the disembodied voice of Aurelius (who is basically your teacher) who informs you that your world is basically lost, but using a mix of your magic and time travel you have the ability to fix this.

Aurelius plays a big part of not only your story, but also the gameplay, as he teaches you all about your spells and how to cast them. The gameplay is really more of a wave-based mechanic, but exploration is encouraged to find some collectables around the levels you are placed in.

I think the wave-based combat was the correct way to go about the combat element, as this really gives the spell-casting mechanic chance to shine. So, where random encounters could have worked well and be appreciated in the world, it just wouldn’t seem as close quarter and hectic if you had a free scope of movement. What stops you having the free scope movement in the fights comes as sort of Devil May Cry feeling as areas become blocked off by spells, that will only break once you have defeated all the enemies or completed the objective required.

Of course, the main mechanic of the gameplay is the spell-casting. Overall you will be provided with six spells to cast, and one thing I really love about this is each one comes with it’s own hand movement you will need to do yourself. Which really drags you into the world and creating some fantastic immersion. As you start off the game you will introduced to your first three basic spells, these come in the form of a fireball, a shield and bow and arrow. In order to spawn a fireball to throw you need to clench your hand and rotate it, you can then throw this at your enemies. For your shield you need to hold one hand out flat, clench the other and bring the clenched one to your other hand. For the bow you need clench both hands and bring them over the top of each other – once your bow is spawned you use your other hand to reach over your back and grab the arrow. However, you have to take into account your bow and arrows are made out of ice, so they will dissipate after around four shots and you will have to cast the spell again.

Then as you go through the three worlds available you will learn more spells and get to upgrade them, given you find the parts of a gem to earn a point to do so. These come in the form of a two-handed lightening attack, a large explosive fire-orb and the best of them all an arcane shard spell. Again, these will all get their own hand movement to cast, with the arcane shard spell leaving you feeling like Marvel’s Dr. Strange. I really do like the fact you have to cast all these in a different way, and how fun they have made it to do this. I know some people might be thinking is six spells really enough though? Personally I think Carbon Studios have really got the amount correct, as they all feel unique and you aren’t over-loaded with gestures to remember. The only thing I really would have loved is some sort of magical sword to go with that shield, rather than depending on fire balls.

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The final part of the gameplay is around the previously mentioned collectables about the world. These come in the form of Aurelius’s Fate Cards, finding these around the world will then allow you to select two of them prior the entering the worlds (as long as they are compatible with each other). In turn these will give you extra buffs on your character for that play-through of the chosen level.

When it comes to presentation The Wizards is a really nice looking game as well, which really helps add to that immersion the spell-casting brings with it. Overall you are going to visit three worlds with each one coming with a number a levels – with the final level having you take on huge boss battles. Each world brings with it’s own style from a quiet village, underground caverns and finally desert ruins – with the change of the level styles keep this visuals fresh and different. But, never mind the setting you feel part of the universe.

It also brings with it some great audio design, the sound of the worlds and the music design keep your ears just as happy as your eyes. But, one of the games strongest elements really is the voice over work by Jason Marnocha as Aurelius , he brings this disembodied character to life – even though he is there to hold your hand through the game with his lines.

Given the movement and mechanics around the spells, the game is required to be played in a standing position and will also use room-scale. It comes with two movement mechanics, which are active at the same time, these are free locomotion and teleport – however, teleport is required to scale up areas with pre-determined spots. The game will also allow you deactivate the free locomotion if you are susceptible to motion sickness. Other than these movement options, it is all about the aforementioned hand movements.

The games campaign will last you around four to five hours when it comes to your first play-through, but it then offers many reasons to go back. This can be to collect all the Fate Cards and find all the hidden chest and gems. Then the Fate Cards make it so you can then take on the levels with different buff’s on your character – allowing you to take on the levels with a different feeling. May be that doesn’t sound like you, and you like horde-modes in games, well The Wizards has you covered. As well as the campaign mode, it offers Arena Mode – which does just that. Again offering more reasons to visit the game and test your wizard skills.

Conclusion

The Wizards brings a very strong experience to the VR medium, and one that will certainly leave you feeling like an all-powerful wizard. This is done using a great spell-casting system, that really brings a huge level of immersion to a title. The result being you living out one of many people’s childhood dream, which really could leave none VR owners jealous.

Also available on Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality
Developer: Carbon Studios

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