on twitter asked, "Never played a Wizardry game and I know you're pretty big on them. Which would you recommend for me to get the full experience"
The Short Answer / 140 Character tweet
: Wiz 8 not only epitomizes what made the Wiz series great, but pushes forward in a new direction creating a fresh, deep experience.
The longer, better answer.
I felt I needed more than 140 characters to answer this properly from my perspective. So, I'll post my answer here, which gives other people a chance to jump in on the convo, as well!!
Personally, I'm not super familiar with the original series as a whole (The PC run of Wizardry 1 through 8)... However, I am familiar with the later games, including Wizardry 6-8, and later console games such as Wizardry Tales of the Forsake Lands
(PS2), Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls (
PS3) as well as some of the spiritual successors such as Class of Heroes
(1 and 2) and Operation Abyss
If you want the deepest, most hard core/raw Wizardry experience, you can't go wrong with Wizardry 7
. But this time, they pretty much ironed out the formula, so to speak. And, this was really the last old school PC Wizardry game. It's deep, with tons of character customization that the series is known for, as well as super hard combat, and plenty of puzzles (a FAQ is recommended!).
To be honest, i never got TOO far with Wiz 6 or 7. They were super hard, and after dying a few dozen times and/or getting stuck on a puzzle, I would give up. Mind you, this was before FAQs. With that said, I loved the formula, and would return from time to time and make a new party to try again. That kept me interested long enough until the next game in the series came out....
took the formula a huge step forward. While you still have all the team building, stat crunching, customization that Wizardry is known for, they added a layer of depth to the combat. Unlike previous games in the series, movement was free, instead of being tied to 90 degree angles. Enemies would attack from any angle, as well, or even surround the party... so who you placed to cover your flanks became an important consideration. While difficult, I felt the puzzles and combat to be not only more enjoyable, but more approachable. It really felt like the genre was finally evolving, without moving to a new genre (like turn based RPGs that become RTS or FPS hybrids). It really is a shame, IMHO, that future games/spinoffs would revert back to the super old school 90 degree approach.
The Playstation games feel a bit stiff and limited compared to the PC games, especially Wiz 8. I'm not sure I would spend more time on them, given the choice. However, I have enjoyed the handheld games, notably Class of Heroes 2G
and Operation Abyss
. Both borrow heavily from the Wiz formula, though you may not think so given their anime look. From classes to stats to combat, once you dive in, you'll see the similarities. Hell, they even use the D&D venetian spell casting system. I wanna say Wizardry 1-5 uses that system, as well, so you KNOW its old school, lol (IIRC, Wiz 6-8 uses magic points, divided by school). Don't let the cutesy looks fool you, though. These handheld iterations LOOK cute, with their school themes and JRPG graphics, but they have much (if not ALL) the old school complexity and difficulty found in the PC Wizardry games.
I hope this helps :)
Let me know!