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Magicka, Action RPG PC Game Review

Updated on January 27, 2011

Unlike RPGs that try to pretend their hunter class (sorry 'ranger' class, sorry 'woodsman' class, sorry 'dude with bow and dog' class) is anything original or something to be excited about, Magicka proudly trots out old game cliches with a tongue-in-cheek approach that saw it sell over 30,000 copies in the first 24 hours of it's release, in spite of the fact that the game was so buggy the developer promised two weeks full of daily patches in order to fix it. Welcome to PC gaming in the new decade, kids.

In addition to being more buggy than a cockroach farm, Magicka also has pretty high system requirements. You can download a demo version on Steam and if you don't do that then you're a fool - a wild and reckless fool! Seriously, unless you're on a dial up connection, the demo downloads in 10 minutes or less. The first time I downloaded the demo I discovered that it liked to crash about 30 seconds into loading, so it is definitely worth it to prevent you buying a game that will only make you loathe it and yourself and everyone around you.

Anyway, bugs aside, the actual game, once it plays, is slick and shiny and pretty. In Magicka you play the role of a student wizard sent to defend the capital city. In spite of the fact that you're allegedly a brilliant magic student, your main magical power is punching people until you manage to get hold of a staff, at which point you gain the ability to do amazing amounts of magic and other excellent things.

Magicka is a game that allows for heavy experimentation. You combine elements to create spells, from hurled boulders to beams of chain lightening and fire and auras of healing. Innovation comes at a price however, and you have to keep your common sense about you. It is possible to set yourself ablaze quite accidentally, which means your demise might not come due to evil monsters, but rather because of your own idiocy.

Unfortunately (from my perspective) the game appears to be played entirely in top down isometric view, which I loathe with the power of a couple of smallish suns. One loses atmosphere I feel, when one is forced to hover above the action like a disembodied ghoul. I like to be in amongst it, seeing the horror from a first person perspective.

Magicka's multiplayer will probably be awesome when it works, which at the moment, it doesn't really.

So what can you expect from the game? Lots of killing monsters, lots of dungeon crawling, lots of spell innovation, lots of fun. What can you not particularly expect from the game? Not a great deal of RPG activity. This is, at its heart an action game disguised as an RPG, which makes it perfect for people who play RPGs but skip through all the cut scenes and spacebar through all the dialog.

Magicka $10 on STEAM


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