Carbon Studio’s The Wizards, originally released on Steam about a year ago but first launched in early access back in 2017, returns with an “Enhanced Edition”. This time it’s also out for Playstation VR, so we decided to take the game for a spin. Here are our thoughts.
Even though the original release of The Wizards received a ton of positive user reviews, Carbon decided to add a new layer of polish and re-release the game. Not all of that polish has made it into the PSVR version (like mixed reality support) or will be relevant to a lot of players, but there’s plenty of extra content to enjoy. Most significantly – a large extra stage to enjoy and new cutscenes that flesh out the story a bit.
I never played the original version, but I did play the recently released The Mage’s Tale. I enjoyed that take on the fantasy/spellcasting genre, and The Wizards is somewhat similar in a number of ways. Both are first person adventures, and using your Move controllers to cast spells is an important central theme to the gameplay. The Wizards also breaks up the gameplay flow nicely between combat, puzzles and boss battles – much like The Mage’s Tale does.
Controlling The Wizards works quite well – its movement scheme reminded me of some of the Xbox 360 Kinect games in how it uses simple gestures to get your spells to trigger. Using gestures rather than precise aim (something that both the Move controller and Kinect don’t excel at) is a smart move, and the game also features an automatic lock-on mechanism that I believe was also added specifically for the Enhanced Edition.
The Wizards offers multiple movement options, letting you use free locomotion or teleportation. Spellcasting’s also not your only choice in combat – you can also conjure up a shield to defend yourself, for instance. The game’s simple and accessible controls do have a downside though, and it’s that the game’s relative lack of depth can make combat feel a tad repetitive after a while. Because the puzzles aren’t incredibly engaging either, this can make the campaign drag a little.
The audiovisual performance was also tweaked for the Enhanced Edition, and although I can’t compare it to the original this a very nice looking (and sounding) Playstation VR title that can definitely hold its own next to other fantasy VR titles like The Mage’s Tale and Skyrim VR. The visuals are detailed and there is plenty of variation in the game’s environments, but the presentation is also boosted by excellent voice work and a standout musical score.
An interesting gameplay dynamic is also the inclusion of “Fate Cards”, which you can find along the way and can be used to tweak the gameplay to make things easier or harder for you. If you really dig the combat then you can also choose to play in an Arena mode, which is essentially more of a wave shooter than an RPG – I used it merely to practice my skills a little before diving back into the adventure, which has a very decent length for a VR title with about seven hours of gameplay time.
It’s hard to say which game is better, The Mage’s Tale or The Wizards. Both are great takes on the spellcasting genre, and if you enjoyed one you’ll certainly enjoy the other. So if you’re coming off The Mage’s Tale, then there’s no reason to not look into The Wizards as well. The biggest advantage that The Mage’s Tale has, at least on the PSVR platform, is that it came first. On the other hand, that gave Carbon time to polish The Wizards to where it is today, and it’s well worth your time.