As the very basic role-playing-style name suggests, Wizards & Warriors is a step back to the grass roots RPG. In this age of graphically luscious, complex role-playing affairs like the Baldur’s Gate series, or Planescape Torment, Wizards & Warriors pays homage to the older beliefs – the days of Tunnel & Trolls and Keep on the Borderlands.
We’d guess that this has been in development for some time, as it really does seem a little anachronistic in the RPG timeline. The programmers have tried to spruce up the graphics with D3D and Glide support and the visuals are fully 3D, just not very impressive 3D. More to the point, the interface and whole feel of the game has a somewhat dated aspect to it.
This may be a turn off for some. It may also be a plus point for hardcore role players who really want to get into an ‘old school’ style RPG, as it certainly has its charm. And more than a fair slice of depth to the gameplay to boot.
The character generation and advancement system is very impressive. You can choose between a number of fantasy races (from the usual elves and dwarves to more weird creatures like ratlings and gourks), with a wide choice of possible character professions.
Whilst the initial choices are pretty basic – wizard, warrior, rogue or cleric – once you’ve joined a guild and been adventuring for a while you can branch off into sub-classes.
For example, a rogue can become a ninja or a bard – and better still there are special classes which are the pinnacle of the profession. A fighter can become a monk, and eventually a specialised Zenmaster with arms made of rock and steel nipples (or something), able to kill low level creatures just by glancing at them and sneering.
The gameplay itself is a mix of the satisfying and not-so satisfying. What definitely gets the thumbs up is the ton of sub-quests and actual amount of plot to get your teeth into. To advance your characters stats and standing at their guilds, you are given quests and the whole experience gives a good atmosphere of genuinely evolving your characters through the well-detailed plot line.
On the downside, the combat system is a bit odd. It plays like a turn based affair although not quite so… when you move around in the first person view the monsters get attacks in, plus they shuffle around themselves in sort-of real time. It’s a bit weird to start with but you soon get used to it, although don’t be surprised if you lose a character or two in the first battle. It’s not an easy game to begin with!