Magicka PC Review
Peter Donnell / 466 days ago
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Magicka, a wonderful action-adventure game from Indie developer Arrowhead Game Studios, the game was in fact developed by eight students from Luleå University of Technology in Sweden and has already sold well over a million copies world wide, and nearly four times as many expansion packs, DLC being something this game isn’t short on, after a quick glance on Steam I can see well over a dozen new pieces of content for this game, but for the purpose of this review, I will be focusing on the core game.
Set in a world of magic and based (loosely) on Norse mythology, with it’s strange mix of Wizards, Vampires, Goblins, Giants, Soldiers and as far as I can see, a lot of farmers, you and up to three of your friends join the fight against an evil wizard and his many beasts that seem to be running amok in the various little villages that you find along your travels.
Playing from an isometric perspective, it’s down to you to master the elements at your disposal and turn them into powerful spells, which is where the game can get a little complicated. You have eight elements at your disposal. Water, Fire, Lightning, Earth, Cold, Shield, Arcane & Life, one of each set to the keyboard keys ‘QWER/ASDF’, which you can then press to place any combination of the elements into the five available slots to create new magic, but the combinations are nearly endless. If you want fire, hit the fire button then cast, want more fire, load up five of them for greater effect, simple, want to create steam, fire + water = steam and so on. But once you get into figuring out more complex spells the fun really starts, such as Arcane + Sheild + Fire = Explosive Traps. Once your spell is loaded you can cast with your staff, cast on your self or cast as an area of effect spell, choose the wrong one though and your likely to either blow your self to bits, or even heal your enemies, both of which I did… a lot.
There are 13 levels to the main campaign, naturally each more challenging than the last, but for the first hour or so I really struggled with this game, I couldn’t get the spells loaded while using left mouse to run and right mouse to cast without getting my self a big shiny ‘defeated’ message and having to do it all over again. But once past chapter three, I was casting fireballs, confuse spells, chain lightening and plenty more with ease.
One of the interesting choices by the developers is that all the elements and spells are available to you within the first few minuets of game play, there is no limit on how much magic you have, so if you want to cast a massive fireball of death, you can, over and over again! there is no levelling up, very little emphases on loot, apart from the odd staff or sword that you pick up that may or may not have a passive ability and spell books that teach you new combinations. There is no class structure to the game either, you’re a mage, deal with it, although you can customise your robe colour and hat to define your self better in co-op based game play.
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Magicka is also heavy on parody, some better used than others, taking a dig at everything from Monty Python, Lord of the Ring, Warcraft and plenty more, they even have a knock off Na’vi from Zelda. Voice acting is a bit different though, using a combination of English, Scandinavian, German and gibberish, thank got there are subtitles.
For those that are so inclined there is also a PvP option, online multi player and the usual here too, not having any friends to try them with I didn’t get very far on that front and for my girlfriend, the prospect of trying to figuring out the magic system killed all hope of some co-op game play, but the only apparent problem I noticed when I did some solo co-op (that’s a thing?) is that you can’t turn off friendly fire, oh dear.
Overall it’s a great game, it’s not without it’s flaws, but even though it feels a little unpolished at times you can’t help but be won over by it in the end, considering the amount of gameplay on offer vs the cost of the game, currently £7.99 on steam, the awesome DLC available for it, such as the one pictured below (more parody) that gives you magic and a machine gun!
I have to give this our gamers choice award, you’ll either love it or hate it, but that’s why you play the demo first right? all I will say is, give it time, it really took me a while to get into this games control scheme, just don’t expect it to work much better with the Xbox 360 controller for pc, that just made things worse.