Before there was Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. Even before Ultima (I think) there was Wizardry, one of the first role-playing video games in history. Despite its steep challenge and learning curve, Wizardry acquired quite a cult following worldwide. Now you can experience all the old school RPG-ness with Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls for download on PS3.
Start off by picking a character: human, elf, dwarf, male or female, etc. Then divvy out points for strength, vitality, agility, and so on. In the town, everything is menu based. Rest up at the inn, buy and sell items, revive at the church, and take on missions at the guild.
When you are ready to venture forth into a dungeon, the game switches to a first person view as you try and navigate the dungeon mazes. Enemies will appear randomly, and defeating them nets you gold, experience points, and other goodies. All the commands are turn-based through menus here, too.
It’s a shame that this game is download-only, because while the graphics are practically non-existent, the still artwork of the characters and monsters is very appealing, and would’ve made for a nice artbook as a pre-order bonus or something.
But the main problem with Wizardry is the overall challenge and steep learning curve. Navigating the dungeons is confusing, and while you can buy maps, they don’t tell you how to use them in the game. You’re better off just getting some graph paper (I remember those days). Plus, monsters are tough right off the bat, and won’t even give you enough gold for a night at the inn. Needless to say, you’ll die a lot. But if you are hankering for some old-school RPG challenge, this one may be right up your alley.
Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Alcohol Reference, Mild Blood, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, and Partial Nudity. Most of the language and alcohol reference is in the text only. Defeated monsters just disappear, so there’s hardly any violence or blood either. Some of the characters’ clothes are a bit revealing, but that’s it. Really the best reason why this game is best for older players is because of the high challenge level and steep learning curve, and reading skill is a must.