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Wizard 101 The Game
When it comes to advertising this new free MMORPG game and the push in advertising for games for children in general, Wizard 101 the game has it covered. With commercials on all of the major "kid" channels and cartoon channels, just about every kid who watches TV has seen them - and probably bugged you to play it. I had the same problem and when my kids bugged me to play it, I thought, what a great opportunity to review this game to really see how it is for younger gamers that are getting into the MMORPG gaming area. So, here is our combined review to help you determine if this is a good game for you and your family or not.
And, with over one million players now, this game is proving to be one that will be around for a while.
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Downloading and Accounts In Wizard 101 The Game
One thing that I noticed right off the bat in Wizard 101 the game, are the parental controls on the account. To me, this is great. You can adjust if your kids talk to other people online, how much game time they are allowed to play each day, and much more. So, for those that are worried about their kid's online safety in some of the games for children out, it seems that they have gone the right way to help you keep your kids safe. This is an excellent feature to any of the games for children out right now, especially those mmorpgs that are geared toward them.
Creating an account is really easy in Wizard 101 the game. You simply fill out the form and place your settings on the account (don't worry, these can be changed at any time), and then head over and download the client for the game. The download was really quick for us with a cable modem, I would say less than 5 minutes. Once you get it downloaded, you simply sign into your account using the user name and password that you just created and *boom* you're in.
So for the downloading and account set up area of this free MMORPG game, I give it a 5 out of 5.
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Before you start your character creation in Wizard 101 the game, you are asked a short series of questions to determine what type of wizard you will be. Once you answer these, your answers are calculated and you are put into one of several wizard types. Depending on your wizard type, you will have special spells and abilities.
Once you have your type, you then choose either a girl or boy character to play Wizard 101. Then, you get to choose your outfit style and the colors of each piece on your toon. While you don't get to just choose a name - there are so many different combinations of the pre-chosen names that you will have a hard time finding someone else with the exact name that you choose. My kids got a kick out of creating their own toons and picking out their own name, so they loved this. Personally, I am too used to choosing everything about your toon right down to their eyes, so I give this area of the game a 4 out of 5.
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Game Play In Wizard 101 The Game
At least the story line isn't like every other online MMORPGs for free out there, it is unique to Wizard 101 the game. Basically, you are an aspiring wizard that is learning how to defend himself against the dark lord that is wanting to take over the wizard school you are attending. As you go through Wizard 101 the game, you will have different tasks and quests to do for the headmaster, so you won't ever have to just go out and grind. This is probably because the audience for this MMORPG game is the younger gamers that may not be used to grinding out levels or anything else. But, this is a nice feature, as it means that you'll always have something to do when you log in. And, the quests and tasks are pretty easy to figure out, so you won't have to worry about your kids getting frustrated and giving up.
Now, instead of gaining spells in a book or that your character will automatically know, you have more of a card-based style of combat. Each time you are in combat, you will have turn-based play with mobs where each side chooses cards to either damage the opposing mob or player or heal themselves or add a buff to their toon. The turn-based game play is fun, even if you aren't used to it. But, it can get frustrating for those veteran MMO gamers that are used to hitting their hotkeys and popping out spells or heals.
For this area of the game, I give it a 4 out of 5.
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The graphics in Wizard 101 the game are great for a kid's MMORPG game. The colors are great, the settings are all nicely done, and they are all enjoyable - no matter how old you are. The combat graphics are also really cool, and remind me of Pokemon when the characters pull out a card that does an action. Your movements as a toon are pretty fluid as well, I haven't noticed any glitches yet, which is good to me. And, from what I have seen of the game so far, there aren't too many bugs left in mobs or other areas of the game. You can check out some screenshots below to see how the graphics look to you. But, the graphics in combat are a bit slow, as the turn-based card flipping is a pain after a while for seasoned gamers.
For this area of the game, I give it a 4 out of 5 as well.
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Downfalls of the Game
Now, even though this is a new and well designed kid's MMORPG, there are still some downsides to the game overall. One of the main ones is that you can't communicate with any other gamer in the game if you don't have the settings adjusted for it. Of course, this is also a perk if you don't want your kids chatting it up with strangers. So, if these settings aren't fixed where you can chat with others, then you are limited to a specific set of commands, like your basic yes and no and some other generic commands and replies.
One of my main complaints about the game is that you only have a specific set of cards to choose from. So, you have to use the same spells and actions over and over and over and over... which gets old really quick. Now, as you level and gain in-game money, you can gain new spells, or cards, to add to your deck which helps to remedy this a bit.
But, even with some downfalls, I give this area of the game a 3 out of 5.
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Overall, I give the game a 4 out of 5 as it's a great game for new MMORPG gamers to cut their teeth on. Also, those that like card-based games will love this one and so will fans of Harry Potter - as this game really will remind you of the books and movies. But, it is a game that I would recommend to anyone who wants a fun to play game for their kids or just a break from the norm MMORPGs out there. So, I give it a 4 out of 5.