Saturday, February 12, 2011
The First game from a small 6 man team called Arrowhead Studios. Magicka manages to really capture something missing from most modern games Fun, Creativity and Humor. The story is really simplistic and is simply a framing device for the core mechanics basically you are a wizard and you must defeat a dark wizard from taking over the world (OF COURSE!).
For being so simplistic and cliched it somehow adds to the overall experience and enhances the humor of which there is a lot. You really do want to see what randomness will plague your little randomly colored robed mage next. Fun characters also help to flesh things out: From Vlad (who is totally not a vampire) to Admiral Agnar (It's a Trap!). The humor is fun and many times you will actually find your self both groaning and grinning at all the little references being thrown around. Just take a look at the list of achievements to get just a small taste of all the references thrown into this game.
The Combat system is where this game really shines it is an innovative and ingenous idea that I am very surprised no one has done before. Basically you have 8 different elements to choose from shown here:
Bottom Row: Lightning, Arcane, Earth, Fire [wind water heart ahem]
Each element does basically what you would think they would: Lightning lets you act like emperor palpatine, fire shoots fire, earth lets you shoot a giant rock and life can heal. You can combine up to 5 of them together and then either shoot them forward, do an area of effect or hit your self with them or place the spell on your melee weapon. Some elements cancel out and can not be combined for example lightning and water can not be mixed together. There are also two "hidden" elements that of Water+Cold = Ice and Water+Fire=Steam..
So some basic spell combos would be 3 part fire + 2 part earth would make a fire ball or 2 part shield plus 3 part life would make life mines on the ground that would heal anyone that walked over them or one of the most powerful 1 part Arcane+1 part steam+3 part lightning will make a steam lightning beam that soaks a target and electrfries them (wet opponents take more lightning damage). this system is almost perfect everything just works and produces results as you would expect it to and there are so many spell combinations you will spend an hour just experimenting.
Along with the on the fly spells there are Magics which can be learned which do more advanced things such as summoning zombies or elemental minions or creating giant black hole like vortexes that suck up all the enemies throwing them into the abyss.
The Game can be played in single player but the co-op multiplayer is where this game really shine as you and 3 of your friends can choose to either go through the story mode together or simply do one of the arena challenges and suffer through 20 waves of monsters trying to rack up kills. Oh yeah and friendly fire is on so expect to hear many calls of "hey you just killed me" over vent. This is half the fun and being a dick just comes with the territory of your new found wizard abilities. You can also combine beams with your friends (or depending on you have been playing enemies) to create devastating power attacks (as shown in the SS above).
One final thought to mention is on Bugs and Support. At release the game was indeed very buggy and almost unplayable in multiplayer because of the lag and random crashes to desktops. How ever the dev team has been excellent in providing patch fixes they have put out a new patch almost every day since and have basically got most of the major bugs ironed out. Even with all the various problems me and my friends still pushed through with the game just because all the fun we were having far far out weighed the bugs and other problems that cropped up.
In conclusion Magicka has been one of the best gaming experiences I have had in recent memory. The game can be bought on Steam and several digital distribution companies and there are rumors of a console version in the works. For only 10 bucks I certainly recommend you give this one a go and give it a final score of 5 Arcane fire ice beams out of 5!