For a long time I thought of Grim Fandango as the ‘LucasArts game with the skeletons’, whose appeal was a total mystery to me. Maybe it was because back then, when the game was released, I had been somewhat over-saturated (like many others) by countless adventure games. Also they started copying each other more and more and most of the time provided some awfully boring ideas. Still a game, in which you slip into the role of a bony man, seemed just too silly. In the meantime adventure games are returning again and LucasArts finally closed its gates. So after fifteen years I decided to fill a gap in my knowledge.
In the history of CRPGs, the Wizardry series should give every old school gamer a chill of ecstasy. The series began already in the early 80s and ended only in 2001 with Wizardry 8: Destination Dominus, but under licence, it has multiple further spin-offs. like Wizardry Online, primarily in Japan until the year 2012. An icon of game design called D. W. Bradley created the huge worlds of Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstorm (1988), Wizardry VI: Bane of the Cosmic Forge (1990) and finally Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant (1992) for the company Sir-Tech before jumping ship and founding his own software company. D. W. Bradley even surpassed himself and created the (in my view) only legitimate successor to Wizardry 7, namely Wizards and Warriors, already one year before Wizardry 8.
In the strategy genre, there is usually a distinction between high level strategy and low level tactics. Some games do one of them right, some excel at the other. Consolidating both levels into one game rarely works: It is the interface between the two which is hard to get right. One major aspect is that none of the levels may take up too much time, because otherwise, the players will forget about what happened on the other. How does this fare with Cyber Empires?