So the whole Wizardry-saga comes to an end and the eighth part of the series has a couple of novelties. There is the new character class of the Gadgeteer which is some kind of Gyro Gearloose with it's tools. He is able to construct deadly devices, which contain powerful spells, from garbage. An example: You have a broken blaster and a microwave chip? No problem, these guy will build a microwave blaster, containing a boiling blood spell. Hey, maybe Douglas Preston / Lincoln Child have played the game. In their novel Brimstone the bad guy uses a similar weapon. But the Gadgeteer is not the only one with spell containing items. The other class is the bard, but does not build the instruments, he have to find them. But again, these things have powerful spells. Beside that there are four „normal“ spell books, each accessible by different character classes. Another new thing is the character evaluation. You fight monsters / solve quests, getting experience points and new levels. OK and for each new level you can spend points on attributes and skills, that's normal. Now the uncommon part: Skills can also be increased by simple using them. Your bloodthirsty warrior loves this axe and use it always during combat? He will increase his skill soon. Of course: The higher the skill is, the more time is needed for training. But beware: Training is necessary because spending skill points will only work for some time. To reach a skill of 100 you have to train. Oh and there are some special skills, accessible only if a character increased an attribute (like strength for the power strike skill) to 100 points. Another good new improvement is the personality of you party. During the character creation process you give each character a personality. Effect of that? Well during the game they will comment events like killing of a monster or spotting a new NPC. Of course they comment also by voice. Unfortunately the personalities are all flat. Not like in Baldur's Gate II
there you have extra quests and relationships within the party.
Other things that may be not new, but I like them: The game is awesome long and have an awesome range of items. You will meet a lot of different races, each with a race personality, explore strange dungeons and visit much more strange places. There is a human city with a space port, an underwater area, a city in the trees, an old monastery and a lot more. Playing this game will need some time. Another time consuming part are the combats. Again you will meet a wide range of monsters and, that's the funny thing, these monsters also have abilities and spells equal to the playable characters. Because this game is in real 3D, the monsters can attack you from the side or from behind (beware of surroundings) so arrange your party well by e.g. place the well protected war machines to the front, range fighters to the sides and in the behind them all the support characters like priest or mage. The different range of the weapons is also important for the fight. What should you do if you supporting spellcasters from the back are out of mana? Well some the weapons are large enough to hit the opponents in front of you, but throwing or shooting weapons might be the better solution. Luckily the game auto swaps weapons (if your characters are equipped with a primary and a secondary weapon) if the monsters are out of range. Nice and often forgotten, but now real: The world is a globe! Walking long enough to the north and you reach your origin from the south. I also like the environment / the story. It is a nice mix from normal fantasy like swords / magic and Sci-Fi elements like androids, space craft and high-tech tools. I can tell you much more about the great graphic of the game, the huge amount of different spells, the monster radar or the puzzles you have to solve the find the retro dungeons. But the review is getting longer than I thought, so I close with: There are to special guys in the game which will craft you unique weapons and armor. The only thing you have to do is to bring them the raw materials. Yes, you have guessed right: Most of the raw materials is guarded by strong monsters.
There are only two things that I don't like in this game:
1)It is damm hard to survive. Especially if you have less then the maximum party size. Now I'm playing the game with only four party members and I can tell you that I often have to avoid fights. Otherwise the monster groups will rip my party to small pieces.
2)The other thing is that monster states are sometimes a little strange. You meet a group of monsters, each with health > 100 and statima > 300. After a long, tough and bloody fight you receive a little more than 3.500 experience points per monster.
The Bottom Line
Wizardry 8 is a long and tough but also a very large and wonderful game. If is one of the best RPGs that I have played and believe me, I have played a lot of them. Playing this game is an experience that everyone should have made. Even if the game itself is very time consuming (luckily you can save the game freely). I hope that someday there will be a Wizardry 9. Maybe it is already planned, after you fought the last battle, the game creates an ending save game.