Magicka Review

Magicka Review

Are you the type of person to ever sit down and discuss exactly what might happen if a lightning spell connected against a water one? Would the two spells make contact and explode? Would they fuse together to create a more powerful spell? Perhaps one of the Magi would die in an attempt to make the connection, or would they be able to sustain such a force together? This is the sort of theory-crafting that Magicka supports, a game that is based entirely off of creating new spells from existing ones and taking the results right into hordes of monsters that are interested only in killing you.

An adventure game with a twist, Magicka puts players into the role of a caster who sets out into the world to right wrongs as best as he can. With the aid of a teacher named Vlad - who is absolutely not a vampire - players will learn new spells, blast away a pretty wide variety of enemies and, at the same time, probably kill a whole lot of innocent people.

Players start off by learning the basics, which consists of eight types of magic. Cold, Water, Arcane, Fire, Earth, Life, Lightning, and Shield can all be used separately to handle various situations like crossing open bodies of water by freezing it over, and while some enemies can be overcome with a single fireball or perhaps a well timed rock blast, players that simply use one spell will find themselves floundering hopelessly in Magicka. Real success comes in using spells in combination and knowing which combinations are the most effective.

As a result, Magicka is a game of trial and error. Some combinations, for example, meet with great success such as Arcane and just about any elemental magic (which creates a stream of that element). Others, however, are a lot less intuitive such as Shield and Life, which creates healing knockback landmines, it's not always easy to see what sort of spell will come out of a combo until you've tried it. However, once the experimentation process is over, it's pretty easy to see how this wide variety of spell-slinging really comes into play. Hordes of enemies will be weak to one kind of element, extremely susceptible to another, and provided that element is combined with something equally useful, players should find themselves able to take on hordes of enemies from just about every direction.

Magicka's real lure however, does not lie in its single player mode, but rather in multiplayer where players will not only be forced to work together against overwhelming odds, but will also need to pay close attention lest they kill themselves in the process. Every single character in the game from NPC to player-character is able to be killed and although a revival spell is offered for multiplayer use, the best way to avoid an unfortunate situation is to simply communicate. If one player is attempting to blow back enemies using a wave of water for example while another fires bursts of electrical waves, the damage will be quite significant to the opponent; but on the same page it's completely possible for the player unleashing water to be caught up in the electrical flow and instantly killed. Hilarious, but obviously counterproductive, and with up to four players being able to brawl at once the odds of a stray spell killing a friendly target is pretty high.


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