Review: Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls (PC)

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“Adventure… the new fragrance by Cloven Hind…”

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Prepare to get schooled skulled if you’re not ready.

For a while, from the 1980’s into the 1990’s, it seemed that the original Wizardry series was destined to last forever. But by 2001 that wasn’t the case as developer of what would be the final game in the series, Sir-Tech Canada went down for the count after the mostly excellent but flawed foray into the fully polygon arena with Wizardry 8. The company still supported the game until they finally vanished in 2003, and was never able to do a proper followup before they left the scene. There have been quite a large amount of games since then that have taken many elements the series pioneered, polished up the visuals and are basically Wizardry games with different titles as the end of the day.

Other titles in the series had danced on the edge with polygonal environments but 8’s was the first with both characters and maps presented this way. In the US, the series was slowly being forgotten despite some excellent ports to the Nintendo and Super Nintendo consoles, but in Japan, the series flourished on PC and consoles as a number of different developers tried their hands at making dozens of Wizardry games from console ports and original games to mobile and online-only titles with mostly good results. Which brings us to the game in question, which is quite good especially if you’re a fan of the classics. It’s got a few issues the keep it squarely in the past, but we’ll get to them below.

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Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls Makes My Day (Or is it Months?)

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So, a Steam review code arrived about 20 or so minutes ago and I’m dying to play it, but I need to post a few articles before I get to the game as I won’t get to posting if I start playing first. Yes, even though I went through this one on the PS3, I’m more than happy to fire it up again after a few years away because it’s like the security blanket of games for me and I want to see if I can get through it with no walkthroughs in sight. Granted, the turn-based nature of the game means I don’t need to worry about failing because I’m old and slow these days, and I recall a lot of the floors here by heart.

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The traps, however? Hmmm… not so much, although the rather random nature of the encounters will make the game a perfect storm if I get overwhelmed. It feels good to revisit this again, so come back around for impressions at some point.

-GW

Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls PC Is Right Around The Corner

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Yes, I’m thrilled even though I played this on the PS3. Here’s the trailer (and yes. this will be played again on PC):

Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is coming to Windows PC on January 15, 2020 via Steam and the Humble Store by Humble Bundle for $14.99, €14.99, and £12.99 with a 10% launch week discount! Go get it, I say.
-GW

Red Dead Redemption II is PC-Bound (See, I Told You)

Understatement of the year department: November 5th will be a very busy day for some folks, I think.

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Not surprisingly, it’s on the way to PC.  Act surprised, though, as it’s coming sooner than you think. Well, in some places…

And guess what? you can get it FIRST, but not on STEAM until December. If you download the handy Rockstar Games Launcher, which is FREE and for a few more days comes with a FREE digital download of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Whattttt?!), you can be one of the first to get RDR II. Other Rockstar titles will also be available at decent prices, so feel free to stock up, if that’s your thing.

Official company line stuff below the jump. Images and a trailer to follow as soon as they drop from the source next week.

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Return of the Obra Dinn: See-Worthy Ship-bound Mystery’s A Must-Play

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“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…”

Confession: I’ve never played the multiple award-winning Papers, Please (a game that’s been on my backlog of games to FINALLY get to once I whittle down my other backlog). but a few years ago (and two computers back) I downloaded an in-progress demo build of Lucas Pope’s next game, Return of The Obra Dinn and while it was a bit wonky in spots and not all the ideas were in place (as demos tend to be, well, DEMOS and not representative of the final product, it still made quite an impression. After a few years of hard work, Pope has finally completed and released the game, which is available for $19.99 on Steam, gog.com and the Humble Store.

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“Now please pay attention and listen to me:
Give me some time to blow the man down!”

Check out the trailer and game description below:

 

 

An Insurance Adventure with Minimal Color

 

In 1802, the merchant ship Obra Dinn set out from London for the Orient with over 200 tons of trade goods. Six months later it hadn’t met its rendezvous point at the Cape of Good Hope and was declared lost at sea.

Early this morning of October 14th, 1807, the Obra Dinn drifted into port at Falmouth with damaged sails and no visible crew. As insurance investigator for the East India Company’s London Office, dispatch immediately to Falmouth, find means to board the ship, and prepare an assessment of damages.

Return of the Obra Dinn is a first-person mystery adventure based on exploration and logical deduction.

You had me at that “An insurance adventure…”, Pope. This one’s going to the head if of the line in the backlog, by the way.  Now, if you’ll pardon me, I need to get back to my regularly scheduled (ha!) Monday.

-GW

Moonlighter Trailer: Best of Show, Humor Award

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Okay, I don’t hand out awards at all. But if I did, this trailer for Moonlighter, the upcoming game from 11 bit studios and Digital Sun would take home a few trinkets and trophies. A direct poke in the eyeball to all those folks who get all frothy at the mouth over even the most subtle differences in cross platform games, here we see that yes, the perfectly solid pixel art in the game is exactly the same across anything it plays on. Lovely.

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Oh, Deer! In the Headlights, Sideways, Somewhat Allegorically

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Current mood:


 

Oh, Deer! is apt enough and more than fast enough for these testy times that I can recommend it even though I’ve yet to actually play it. Scoreless swerving past or through lines of poor digital deer is an odd metaphor for the daily careening many of us do while glued to a news source, real or “alternative facts” based, eyes wider than usual. While this may not seem all that deep, developer Necrosoft Games is proudly stating this is indeed a beta that will end up as a more fully polished product. Initially released as a 49-cent PlayStation Mobile game (I missed it on the Vita? Noooooo!), it got bumped up to subscription-only freebie beta build for Humble Monthly subscribers where it caught fire and careened into a game a lot of folks want to see get completed.

So, yeah. Get this if you’re cracking up or something. Amusingly priced at an apocalyptic $6.66, that entry fee also gets you whatever ends up being the final version of the game whenever the fine folks at Necrosoft get to completing it. Hey, the world may end before that happens or it may not. No matter what, you’ll be able to swerve past or slam sideways into all the deer you choose without guilt or incurring and insurance fee increases.

-GW

The Silver Case Demo Hands-On: Dread, Delusion, And A Little Death

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With its October 7 release date right around the corner, Grasshopper Manufacture has released a new demo and trailer for the remastered version of The Silver Case, set to hit PC as a digital download on Playism, Steam, and the Humble Store for $19.99 (Standard Edition) or $29.99 (Deluxe Edition with a digital art book, soundtrack and comic). The new demo features two slices from the game starting with the harrowing opening chapter “lunatics”.

As I proudly still own the 1999 PlayStation import, seeing and playing this chapter all over again with enhanced visuals (and yes, in English) that still echo the original but with more detail brought a smile to my face despite the grin proceedings taking place. I won’t spoil a thing (you can and *SHOULD* give the demo a test drive) other than to say the mix of tried and true adventure gaming, unique interface and graphic novel meets cinematic presentation elements combined with a mature script will have you engrossed and enthused to play the final version. As with his other mature titles, Goichi Suda’s style is evident in the deadly manner in which some events play out, plenty of vernacular usage (hey, we’re all adults here, right?), and offbeat, welcome humor to break up the tension… or add it in cases where someone might not live.

tsc_lunatics For those of you craving physical product, you’d best move like a bullet. The fine folks at Limited Run Games are doing a fantastic (and yes, LIMITED) boxed retail version ($49.99) available for pre-order ONLY on their site until midnight, October 20. Yes, my eyeballs needed to be retrieved from under the couch after I saw this blissful box of beauty.

Inside are the following items:

  • DRM-free game disc with installer
  • Soundtrack CD
  • Artbook
  • 22-page manga
  • Two-piece manual set
  • Individually numbered box – numbers will be issued by order of purchase. The box is 7.75″ x 9.5″ x 1.75″ – the same box dimensions as many classic PC games from the 80s and 90s.
  • Game download on Steam

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Of course, broke-ass me will have to settle for a standard digital code, but I can live with that. Getting to finally play this and fully grasp the plot is well worth the long wait. Or short wait, if you’re new to the game and are holding your breath for the next 48 hours. Also, if you’re only buying the game digitally and want to do a double-take of sorts, go with the Playism version, I say. That purchase gets you a DRM-Free download as well as a Steam key, meaning you can choose to get gifty with it if you like. Hopefully the game does well enough to get console ports down the road, as it’s quite a ride and deserves to be played by as many as possible.

As usual, we shall see.

-GW

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Featherpunk Prime Hands-On: Plink Flamingoes Surprise With Skill

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SuperHatchGames_Logo1If you told me I’d be gushing endlessly over an old-school run ‘n gun with a modern look that just so happened to star a cybernetic FLAMINGO, I’d probably ask you what YOU were smoking. But, here I am extolling the joys of Featherpunk Prime, one hell of an indie action/platform shooter from two guys with a ton of talent.

Stephen Payne and Dan Jeffery make up Super Hatch games and their baby is headed to Steam and the Humble Store September 1st. BUY IT, I say. The game is a total blast to play, it looks phenomenal, packs in a great soundtrack from Wingcap Audio (buy it!) and from my brief stretch with a recent build, it just might be one of the better arcade-style shooters this year.

FeatherpunkPrime_CyberFlamingoOnce you get over the oddball choice of a lead character, dive in and see how tight the game is, any preconceived notions will be vaporized. The game’s gaudy neon color scheme, catchy music and excellent re-mappable controls suck you in and keep things bouncing along as the level of challenge blow you around in your seat.

The game is wonderfully balanced and (to me), plays like a Bizarro World version of Contra meets Midnight Resistance with a CYBER FLAMINGO as the hero. I’m sure a few Treasure games also influenced Super Hatch, but the important thing here is the game they’ve made manages to stand out on its own as original thanks to tat heroic metal bird and how the game makes you adore it so damn much. It’s not a “cute!” shooter at all, folks. But then animation on that metal bird is so damn priceless you’ll crack up at the genius absurdity of it all.

I’ll shut up here before this turns into a full-on review (that’s coming!). For now, head below the jump for more…
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System Shock: Night Dive Studios Shows How EVERY Game Needs to Be Crowdfunded


 

In dropping an amazing early demo for its System Shock remake on Kickstarter, you can very safely say Night Dive Studios also just dropped the mic on how every videogame developer from this point onward NEEDS to introduce their product should they take the crowdfunding route. Giving potential backers a taste of what’s to come at no cost save for the time it takes to download and play that sample makes a hell of a lot more sense than automatically thinking gamers love gambling blindly on an IP’s popularity, names of famous creators, insane stretch goals and other promises that have popped up with a bunch of other past to current games. As a few high to lower profile games that didn’t meet expectations or that failed to materialize post-campaign have shown, gamers feel the burn from these bad apples and take their anger out on whatever pops up next as a big deal project.

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Yes, some of those games got backer-only demos for certain mid-to high tier contributors (boo!). But to me, the idea of paying to play a demo build is a bit lame, no matter how great the pedigree of the team making a game. Although I’ve played some decent ones, Early Access games fall under the same category because there are some that have died on the vine after that demo drops and gets paid for. Granted, crowdfunding sites aren’t “stores” at all and your pledge is just that until the project meets or exceeds its goal and your money is gently lifted from your bank account. Anyway, if you remember System Shock and want to check it out even if you have no plans to fnd this remake, hit up the Kickstarter page and go get that demo on Steam, through the Humble Store or DRM-free over at gog.com.