BOOM. Carbon Studios has cooked up an absolutely incredible and fun VR experience in The Wizards: Enhanced Edition ($24.99), a game so immensely entertaining it’ll make you want to run out and buy a PS4 and PSVR setup just to play it. If you’ve already got that rig and are ready for the next instant classic… well, here you go.
Granted, there are a nice selection of other exceptional games for PSVR fans (Moss, Astro Bot, BattleZone and many more spring immediately to mind as must-owns). But as a huge fan of action/adventures with a fantasy setting (this isn’t quite a RPG despite having plenty of RPG inspired content), the game’s got that great “Just one more level!” pull to it that keeps you pushing forward with a rather huge grin on your headset-covered face. Well, an hour or so at a time if you’re not able to sit for long VR sessions and need to take breaks (I’m in that category, by the way).
As I haven’t played the PC version, going into the world of Meliora completely cold made for an even more thrilling time right out of the gate. Dual PS Move controllers in hands, the game does quite an excellent job at making you feel like a full on magic-slinging, monster mashing champ. While there’s likely going to be a bit of a learning curve for new players, for PSVR vets, the game excels at making you feel as if you’re in its solidly rendered environments with a level of immersion so great that even those glove-covered hands you’ll be casting and blasting with are pretty flawlessly animated. Once you learn how to time your spells and cast them properly, any initial frustrations will melt away (along with a few waves of weaker foes). Bosses are a challenge on a few fronts, but overall, this one’s a well-made chunk of entertainment. No new ground is broken here, but this comes recommended because it gets what it gets as right as can be every chance it gets.
The campaign, which clocks in at about six or so hours (and is VERY highly replayable thanks to a those Fate Cards you’ll acquire as you perambulate about) sends you through its consistently gorgeous maps chock full of interactive (and sometimes destructible) elements. A magic bow and shield keep the baddies at bay when you need them, but it’s the crafty spell usage here that’s the big draw. Of course, all the total bad-assery you pack in those onscreen mitts would be wasted if the game wasn’t up to snuff in terms of controls and movement. Carbon has nailed both based on feedback from the PC version and poking at the PSVR community to see what they wanted. I’ve the feeling that those folks (as well as PC users, as those changes have also been implemented in that version) will be more than happy with what’s here.
The results are a game that’s a near-total joy to play that just so happens to scratch that “Hey, this is a darn cool as hell game world to mess around in!” thing adventure fans crave. The presentation is great all around and yes, includes some solid sound work and appropriately informative (and often amusing) narration. The worst thing I can say about the game is the same thing most would note about pretty-much every game packed with beasties to bash on: too many of the same enemy types in nearly every area. But, hey – gaming central casting requires those cannon fodder enemies, so it’s not a “bad” thing at all. That and if you get wasted by a small pack of goblins or some other low-end creeps, that’s your temporary shame to deal with. Thankfully, the game features a newly implemented checkpoint system that makes retries less painful.
In addition to the campaign, there’s an Arena mode that’s pretty darn cool if you want to extend the fun endlessly. I didn’t mess with it much thanks to my stupidly large backlog, but I’d bet this game will be sitting in playlists for a while thanks to the replay value being so high as well as the online leaderboards that will show off those bragging rights. I guess I’ll have to whine once again about how a great game like this will not get any love at all from gamers who can’t/don’t/won’t use VR for multiple reasons and how well it would sell as a “flat” experience sans VR and all its immersion tricks. But I guess we’ll see if Carbon wants to attempt that particular set of huge changes to its wonderful wizardry and get it to more consoles in the future.
Of course, if there’s a sequel coming at some point, I’m all on board for that as a VR experience, day one. Got PSVR? Go get The Wizards – Enhanced Edition and let it take over your mind space for a spell or two. Or seven spells, cast repeatedly against a ton of enemies and bosses wanting a few pieces of you before you show them the errors of their wicked ways. BOOM!
Score: A- (90%)
Review code provided by the publisher