According to the trophies, I've been playing this for 30 hours now. I can say this is definitely old school Wizardry with some minor concessions to modern gaming which, quite frankly, are all improvements. I'll just say two things: automap and save-anywhere.
There are no tutorials. There are no long winded cutscenes with walls of text. You make a group of characters and then you go to the dungeon and whomp thousands of monsters. The game throws you to the wolves immediately. Everything except the floorplan is random and the dice have no mercy or compassion. It is a definite descendant and deliberate homage to Wizardry 1-3.
The opening difficulty isn't as bad as classic Wizardries. In fact, your characters have a lot of staying power in the dungeon. This is a good thing, because fighting a single battle and then running back to town to recover spells and make up 1-3 new characters to replace the guys you lost in the dungeon isn't entertaining. However, the difficulty picks up soon enough, and characters will be dropping like flies and causing you to reload in frustration before you know it. It's just that the game lets you get your sea legs before it hacks them off with a bloody axe.
Not unexpectedly, the game's old school strengths are also its crippling flaws. The first one is the randomness. This is kind of a staple of Wizardry, which is like a tabletop game run by a sadistic GM who ALWAYS insists on letting the dice fall where they may. But it's tedious. Character generation becomes an exercise in merely re-rolling for hours until you get the optimum number of points. The same thing happens when leveling up. Treasure is also completely random, so you can spend hours and hours waiting for one specific item drop.
I can't help but feel that starting characters should have been given a set number of bonus points and only be able to select from the four basic classes. The elite classes should have been saved for promoting into after some adventuring. Also, treasure chests in the dungeon should have had fixed items of loot instead of the random contents they currently have.
I liked how there was no shopping to do at the beginning of the game. All characters began equipped with basic items, and the item shop didn't sell anything a starting adventurer could really afford. However, I feel the shop was poorly implemented otherwise. It should have carried more wares to help equip higher level characters. As it stands, after you buy about 5 or 6 key items from the shop, there's no purpose for money other than tithing it for XP.
I'm also disappointed with the spells. It seems the only attack spells which ever do any appreciable damage are Flame Field, Volcanic Burst, and the NAL spell. Those are always reliable, while I've never seen any of the other attack spells even do double digit damage. Also, the status affecting spells never seem to hit. I don't know how many times I've desperately cast Silence Field only to see it completely whiff. There are also very few buffs, and I'm not sure they really do anything. I always cast Battle Aura and Advanced Reflex, but I really don't notice any difference from when I don't have them running.
However, Levitation is an absolute MUST.
Edited by Gabriel, Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:15 AM.