Review: The Wizards: Enhanced Edition (PSVR)

Review: The Wizards: Enhanced Edition (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Oculus Rift
  • HTC Vive
  • Windows Mixed Reality

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 None
  • Move Required (2)
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
Title: The Wizards: Enhanced Edition
Format: PSN (7.05 GB)
Release Date: March 12, 2019
Publisher: Carbon Studio
Developer: Carbon Studio
Original MSRP: $24.99 (US), €24.99 (EU), £19.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Two VR games based on “wizardry and magic” released within weeks of each other, so it’s difficult to avoid comparing them. I took some time to play The Wizards: Enhanced Edition and distanced myself from Mage’s Tale, an excellent VR adventure game with similar magic themes, in order to form an opinion that wasn’t biased by my previous experiences.

The Wizards has a lot going for it, and some things working against it. At its core, this is an adventure game with minor puzzle-solving mechanics, some platforming, and a lot of combat using gesture-based spellcasting.

If you’ve ever wanted to be Dr. Strange and wield spells using hand gestures similar to the Marvel hero, then The Wizards: Enhanced Edition will make that dream a reality. Casting in this game is achieved by gesturing with your Move controllers while holding a button down.

Review: The Wizards: Enhanced Edition (PSVR)Review: The Wizards: Enhanced Edition (PSVR)

Bringing your hands together in a clapping gesture will summon your ice bow, while punching your fists forward will ignite your hands in an Emperor Palpatine-styled lightning attack.

If this doesn’t sound cool to you, then I don’t know what to tell you. Even if the game ended up being terrible, which it isn’t, the gesture casting is so much fun that I’d often just stand there doing a semicircular motion in order to summon heat-seeking diamonds.

Locomotion in The Wizards is handled with the Move controllers much in the same way as most PS VR games. In fact, having played over a hundred hours of Skyrim VR, the control scheme felt instantly familiar. And for that matter, it worked very well, save for one small problem: the gesture controls.

Running away from a mob of goblins isn’t too bad in VR when you have a sword to deflect them, or you can switch between spells with a push of a button, like in Skyrim. But since summoning a bow requires you to clap your hands together, it’s not easy to gesture left with one controller to strafe while clapping your hands together to summon a bow.

Fortunately, teleporting in the game is not only an option to help with VR sickness, it’s also a game mechanic that works to distance yourself from enemies, which allows you to cast your spells before the mobs reach you.

This is all fine and good, but I still ended up feeling like I was wrestling with the controls in order to summon a spell before getting swarmed. Perhaps that’s what a real wizard would experience in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, so this may just be an example of real-world wizard problems.

In addition to the combat, the aforementioned platforming also contributes to gameplay and makes for some challenging set piece action sequences. One of the earlier sections has you teleporting from platform to platform to avoid catching on fire by the igniting floor panels, all while fighting enemies.

The game is divided into levels that follow a narrative. In between stages you return to your wizarding domain, where you can experiment with the different spells in a shooting gallery scenario. You can also augment the gameplay with cards that will add challenges to your adventure or give you an advantage in a scuffle.

Visuals:
This is where the comparisons to The Mage’s Tale can’t be avoided. The Wizards isn’t an ugly game, but since it’s been in early access on PC for a while – I played it on my Vive back in 2017 – it does appear to be a bit dated.

In fact Skyrim, a much older and similarly themed game, looks better visually by comparison. But The Wizards is consistent in its style, so while it may not look great, the entire aesthetic works well. It just looks like an early generation VR game.

Audio:
Sound is another area where The Wizards could use a little love. Positional sound had me constantly looking over my shoulder because my own footsteps sounded like they were coming from behind me.

While that’s a cool notion in a horror game, here it felt like not enough effort was taken in making the sound effects work well from a 3D position standpoint. Voice work is decent and moves the story along, and the sound design on the spellcasting is also well executed.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Review: The Wizards: Enhanced Edition (PSVR)Review: The Wizards: Enhanced Edition (PSVR)

Conclusion:
The Wizards: Enhanced Edition is absolutely not a bad game. It explores some very fun concepts in VR and, at times, makes you feel like Dr. Strange. But it also fails to make you feel like that badass when you are constantly struggling with the controllers in order to summon a spell while trying to distance yourself from enemies at the same time.

Furthermore, the game’s visuals are evocative of the earlier years of VR, particularly when compared to similar-styled games released around the same time. Still, I would say that the good outweighs the bad, and The Wizards is still an adventure worth taking under the headset.

Score:
6.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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