This isn't an anthropomorphic heart with legs, as I first thought. Those are two women kneeling on either side of it.
You have to hand it to Andrew Greenberg and Sir-Tech: When they've got something that works for them, they sure stick with it. Here, by comparison, are the main castle screen shots of Wizardry (the first one, in 1981) and Wizardry V (1988):
In the intervening 7 years, they sure worked their butts off on that font, didn't they? I mean, as much work as they clearly put into that typeface, I can see where they wouldn't have had time to upgrade the interface or, you know, change the name of the tavern and trading post, even though the game takes place hundreds of years later in a different city. Clearly, Gilgamesh and Boltac were such legends at Trebor's Castle that shop- and tavern-owners around the world honor their name ever since.
Lest you think I'm too hard on the game from its opening screen shot, here's a dungeon-crawling shot:
And here's a combat screen:
You really have to admire the confidence of the developers. It's like if Peter Jackson, in remaking King Kong, had said, "Screw the special effects. Just put a guy in an ape suit. People come for the story anyway."
But you know what? Despite my sarcasm, I'm looking forward to playing Wizardry V. Sometimes you're just in the mood for a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl. It's not like the first Wizardry was boring. And for all the similarity in appearance, this latest edition does promise to offer a little more in the way of encounters, plus some new features in spells and such that I'll cover next time.
The good news is that unlike Wizardry II and Wizardry III, this game doesn't require you to create characters in the first game and then import them. You can create them right in V, which means that when my party inevitably gets wiped out, I won't have to go through the whole rigmarole of creating a new one in I and importing them into V--a process that killed my enthusiasm for II and III. I imported a III party for a little initial exploration (and the screen shots above), but I'm going to create some brand new folks tomorrow.
See if you can identify the four new things on the character screen.
Short posting today. I have to take a quick detour back to Wizard Wars to finish it up. Also, it's apparently some sort of "holiday," and Irene is dragging me off to the house of some people I barely know instead of letting me stay home to play Wizardry and Skyrim. My advice is that you re-acquaint yourself with my postings for Wizardry, Wizardry II, and Wizardry III (and go easy on me; I was new to blogging). I've taken a lot of criticism for bailing on II and III as quickly as I did, so we're in this one for the long haul.