Wizard101 is a magical themed, MMORPG from popular publishers Game Forge. Players take on the role of an apprentice wizard that attends a magic school in order to improve their magical abilities. The first thing players will notice is the unique introduction to the game. Firstly, players get a voiced introduction to the game, explaining the monster filled game world, the torment it's in and the need for a hero to step up to the plate. This continues into character selection as a fully voiced wizard guides you through creating your character, this creates a really unique feel of immersion that's practically unseen in other MMORPG Games. When creating your character you get to choose your gender and your player name. As the game is targeted towards a younger audience, players don't get to select their own name, instead they can combine up to 3 names from a predefined list. You then get to select your class through a sequence of questions, including your preferred choice of play between solo and group based, as well as your opinion on the most powerful element. You're then asked to answer more questions including favorite hobbies, time of day, and your favorite animal. Eventually you'll be assigned a magic school, after answering my questions I was placed into the School of Death, which is what I decided to stick with for this new player experience review.
The game wastes no time in introducing it's best feature, the combat. Within 2 minutes of the tutorial you're thrown into a fight with the main protagonists henchmen. During this tutorial the Headmaster will give you some basic tips and explain the combat mechanics. I was instantly impressed with the combat after the first very spell was cast. The game uses a unique turn-based, card orientated battle system with some of the best animations that I've ever seen in a free to play MMORPG game. Players take a position on a circular platform that appears at the start of each fight, and your enemies stand opposite. A unique aspect to this is that it allows players to join you at any time during the fight. You then take it in turns to select which card you'll want to use, and where available, the target you want to use it on. There are various types of cards such as damage, healing and buffs/debuffs, and each card activates a unique animation. The animations vary greatly, from a small pixie summon to a huge minotaur surrounded by rocks and grass. Each card has their specific pros and cons and it's up to the player to decide which cards they want to take into battle. Cards are discovered throughout the game, the majority are found from killing monsters while others can be obtained from quests and other players.
The questing system is pretty basic, players simply pick up the quest and then follow the on-screen prompts to the location. It's very quick and easy and doesn't require much attention. The majority of quests feature typical objectives such as speaking to a certain NPC or killing a certain number of monsters. Although this doesn't sound overly appealing, every single quest involving combat becomes great fun as the system is so unique. The majority of the important quests are also accompanied by voice-overs, rewarding players that wish to follow the story with great script and dialogue.
There are dozens of more exciting features such as a great housing system. Right from the start players get access to their own house and can teleport back at any time, players are also healed over time while they're inside their house. There's dozens of items you can collect to customize your personal quarters including everything from furniture and ornaments to decorations and plants. Players also get a personal storage chest where they can store all of their items, including cards and gear.
Overall, Wizard101 has one of the best new player experiences I've ever had the pleasure of playing. The combat in nothing short of inspiring and the cartoon graphics fit the theme perfectly. My only issue is that the game is obviously targeted towards a younger audience which may lead the older generation of gamers feeling short of any decent conversation but as a MMORPG Game, Wizard101 delivers on practically every level.
- Arguably one of the best combat systems seen in a free to play game
- Excellent animations
- Hundreds of cards
- Great housing system
- Plenty of parental control options
- Great for young players or those new to the MMO world