9 mins read

The Wizards – Enhanced Edition for PSVR review

Since the first time we put on the headset PlayStation VR, our hope was above all to see games over time that managed to make us feel truly part of their world. As demonstrated by titles such as Astro Bot, player involvement is in fact the main path to follow for those who want to successfully create adventures in virtual reality, managing to make up for the hardware limitations with ideas which, in the specific case of PSVR, they are evident. This little preamble is to say that it seems to focus a lot on the validity of the experience offered to the player The Wizards, a title that is now aimed at the PSVR audience after having already arrived months ago on PC for Oculus and HTC Vive. For the occasion, the Polish team Carbon Studio he polished it up, creating one Enhanced Edition which offers some interesting innovations compared to the original version. The underlying concept, obviously, does not change: The Wizards puts us in the shoes of a powerful sorcerer, committed to saving his kingdom with the use of spells. To do this, he doesn’t use a wand like Harry Potter or a stick like Gandalf but only his hands, which with PSVR correspond to the movements of the PlayStation Move. We used them to chase away from the lush lands all the beasts that infested them: this is what came out of it.

PlayStation 4 Trophies

No Platinum for The Wizards, which divides its thirteen Trophies between one Gold, three Silver and nine Bronze. To conquer them all it is obviously necessary to complete the entire main adventure, then also using collectible cards to conquer the additional objectives proposed by the developers.

The Wizards takes us to that time Melioraa kingdom threatened by a massive invasion of goblins, orcs and other creatures linked to the imagination Fantasy classic. The presence of strange artefacts and some portals suggests a magical origin behind the invasion, to fight which the character we find ourselves playing immediately takes the front line. To accompany us we find only a narrative voice, which has the double function of training us in the use of magic and of giving meaning to what happens before our eyes, in terms of the evolution of the story. Starting from a set of spells basically, the growth of our wizard occurs gradually, allowing the player to choose which skills to enhance throughout the story.

Talking about role-playing mechanics would undoubtedly be an exaggeration, but the possibilities offered are enough to guarantee a certain customization of one’s playing style, favoring the magic with which one feels most in tune. The campaign mode is therefore the main essence of The Wizards, but not the only one. For the benefit of those looking only for battles, there is also a mode arena, in which you can launch yourself without wasting too much time on chatter. Returning to the main story, when approaching The Wizards it is good to keep in mind that we are not facing The Lord of the Rings, neither in terms of complexity of the plot nor in terms of duration. In this last sense, Carbon Studio’s creature is still positioned well compared to the average of games virtual reality, resulting in a time frame that can be completed in up to five hours. The presence of some collectible cards then makes the replayability index quite high, allowing the player to apply bonuses or penalties to the enemies’ abilities, which therefore make the game more difficult or simpler respectively. Each card is also associated with a multiplier, used to calculate a score with which the player is positioned in the double ranking associated with each level: one global and one dedicated only to friends.

The gameplay dynamics of The Wizards can largely be classified among those of the shooter traditional, compared to which this game stands out for a very specific additional feature. Instead of being entrusted to the simple pressing of a button, the casting of spells is in fact associated with a series of gestures to be performed with one’s hands, from which the obligatory use of the pair of PlayStation Move for playing. To start shooting frost bolts, for example, you need to move your hands from the outside to the inside, crossing them, while to summon a magical shield you need to move only your left hand to the right. The more powerful the spell we want to use, the more difficult the movement becomes. A feature to keep in mind during the most intense phases of the game, during which you may see enemies coming at you from different directions.

To ensure that even in the heat of the action the player feels comfortable, the developers have made the type of movement, allowing you to walk freely by pressing the Move button on the left controller and using the same button on the right controller to use teleportation (limited during fights). Rotation angle and vignettes are also configurable factors, giving full freedom to those with PSVR in mind to find a series of settings that can limit the motion sickness. As far as we are concerned, although we consider ourselves quite predisposed to this type of side effect of virtual reality, we must say that The Wizards did not cause us any problems even in the moments of greatest tension. The real worry for some might concern him physical effort, after dozens of minutes spent summoning and shooting around arcane missiles, fireballs and more: in the case of long gaming sessions, a break is necessary every now and then to relax the tense arms. Speaking of the latter, also make sure you have one space free large enough around you to perform all the gestures required by The Wizards, which undoubtedly gives its best if played while standing. If in terms of involvement this game managed to fully conquer us, the same cannot be said of the variety of the action offered. Once the initial fun has passed, one continues to solemnly perform the gestures with which the various spells are cast, but one realizes a certain repetitiveness basic in the progression, composed of short exploratory phases (complete with small puzzles) alternating with battles that take place within well-defined and therefore predictable perimeter areas. Getting surprised from time to time by wandering enemies would probably have added a little more pizzazz.

From the outdoor phases to those in the depths of the dungeons, The Wizards manages to defend itself quite well even on PlayStation VR. Net of the hardware limitations we talked about at the beginning of the article, Carbon Studio’s effort can be appreciated for the detail of its settings, even when the field of view becomes wider. The good level of interaction with the objects that surround us allows us to collect and look closely at almost all the elements we find around, even if in the end they are often useless. By playing with spells it is possible to break wooden crates and other elements, appreciating the good graphic effects associated with the various spells, from the shiny shield full of writing to the large pyrosphere to throw with satisfaction at the troll on duty. The design of the enemies is of a good standard, although in the long run the appearance of the goblins and company begins to appear a little too much repetitive, as well as some places. The sound is also well made, mainly regarding the brilliant and never boring narrator.

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