The Wizards VR Review

A high fantasy first-person VR title from Carbon Studio with the player in control of a powerful wizard. The Wizards features an innovative system of casting spells using gestures and a classic fantasy storyline to boot.

Graphics

The graphics are of a high quality, the game runs on the infamous Unreal engine which is now a mainstay of the gaming world and especially with VR games for its open-endedness and accessibility.

The world is vast and although not particularly detailed it does immerse the player well with some incredible atmosphere and brilliant set-pieces. The game runs smoothly and even on a lower spec PC doesn’t seem to have any framerate issues, this is especially important as a VR title with juddering and low FPS can leave the player disconnected from the game world and even cause motion sickness.

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We were happy with the level of graphics customisation options, obviously this is down to the versatility of the Unreal engine. We would have liked to have seen more detail in the main parts of the world and a number of reused assets left the environment feeling samey after a few levels.

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Gameplay

The gameplay is wonderfully immersive and extremely visceral, we were instantly transported to a world where we have ultimate power and the feeling of pulling spells out of thin air by just moving our hands is incredibly rewarding.

The plot itself is a fairly cut-and-paste fantasy story with the player battling classic fantasy tropes like ogres and goblins and even dragons, the story also develops to feature time-travel and wider scale battles. For those who revel in the genre this will be a well enjoyed romp.

However the game does suffer from a lack of innovation in its content, essentially being wave-based combat battling against rushes of enemies before moving to the next area – not particularly engaging if it were a typical game but the VR element brings the player close enough to the action that it doesn’t immediately become boring.

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Replayability

For replayability we expect this game to do well, there is a mechanic for increasing or decreasing difficulty and introducing different challenges into previously played levels with the spells cards that are selected at the start of each mission, allowing players to make enemies weaker or stronger for instance.

There are also hidden gems throughout the levels which will need to be found and collected. Finally, the spells all have their own unique upgrades which can change the gameplay depending on which are selected.

A lot of VR games suffer with just existing for the spectacle of VR rather than their own merits as a games, this is not the same for The Wizards which stands up on its own as a game and there is eminent replayability in the combat style as well as a compelling storyline, although a limited amount of content could harm this.

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Sound

Sound design for The Wizards is excellent, the spells and sound effects are excellent and we especially loved the sounds of the ice-bow that had a very satisfying ‘SWIF!’ every time it was fired.

The music is impressive and really adds to the atmosphere of the game, especially in the intense combat moments. Even the voice acting stands up well although some of the narration was a little out of place, with jokes being made in what appears to be a fairly serious game that seems a bit unnecessary.
Sound 8/10

Controls

The entire basis of this game is control and gestures, the spell controls quickly become instinctive and it only takes a few minutes before we are whipping out the shield at a second’s notice to block a monster’s hammer blow and blasting them away with a quick fireball.

However, the controls do suffer from some shortfalls, The Wizards attempts to merge the two most common forms of VR movement into one game with the left hand controlling the player directly with the thumbstick just like any other game, while the right thumbstick allows the player to use a teleport system to move quickly around the world.

On paper this seems to be a decent compromise with most of the movement being done with the teleport and then fine tuning with the left stick. Unfortunately, in practise this doesn’t work so well – the main reason being that, as with most (if not all) VR games, movement with a thumbstick causes strong motion sickness feelings. In this case we feel it would have been better to have one or the other and generally we do must prefer the teleport movement style similar to Robo-Recall as that alleviates any motion sickness in the game.

The awesome spell mechanics make up for most of this, however, and we absolutely love the feeling of power this game brings in VR.
Controls 8/10

We loved this game and highly recommend it, a must-have VR title that finally stands out on its own as a game instead of just being a VR gimmick.

If you want to see more gameplay check the links to Pizza Games Funtimes Let’s Play in this article now.

Summary
The Wizards is a innovative VR game that brings some epic new ideas to the table with its brilliant gesture based combat system, essentially this is the ‘Harry Potter’ game that everyone wanted in 2001 with spells being ripped out of thin air by a swish of the left or right hand. We absolutely loved the way the controls bring the player straight into the game world and you instantly feel like a powerful wizard. The game does suffer a little from poor choice in the movement system although most VR gamers will be used to the control systems the game uses. It is also a little let down by its uninspired level design and simplistic waves of enemies, however that is completely overshadowed by the visceral spellcasting.
Good
  • Awesome control system
  • Great visuals
Bad
  • Story is uninspired
  • Simple levels
7.2
Good
Gameplay - 7
Graphics - 7
Audio - 8
Replayability - 6
Controls - 8
Written by
PGF is a youtube channel ran by Aaron and Jack. Started from a love of gaming and film making we set out to build a community of like minded people. Join us on Facebook. Subscribe on YouTube. Or watch live at Twitch.tv.

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