More Reviews
REVIEWS Boss! Review
PlayStation Vita owners looking to exercise a little frustration can look to this rather low-fi title about creating a monster and destroying everything in your path.

KINGDOM HEARTS HD 2.5 ReMIX Review
Part 2 of Square-Enix and Disney's cooperative compilation cash-cow is ready to milk the series for another go, but does the milk taste sweet or is it spoiled?
More Previews
PREVIEWS Evolve Preview
With multiplayer action set as its focus, Evolve surprised us earlier this month by introducing a single-player campaign mode where you can switch between mercenaries.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Kalimba
Release date: Out Now

Persona 5
Release date: 12/31/14

Motorcycle Club
Release date: 01/01/15

Atelier Ayesha Plus: The Alchemist of Dusk
Release date: 01/14/15


LATEST FEATURES Downloadable Content Walks the Line Between Fun and Frenzied in Middle-earth
I don’t even care all that much for the Lords of the Rings brand, which makes the content falling under Shadow of Mordor’s Season Pass a pleasant surprise.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters for Gamers
If this awful trend is going to persist, you may as well do it your way.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES Black Friday 2014 Video Game Deals Buyer's Guide
Looking to score the most bang for your buck the day after Thanksgiving? Well look no further! Our Black Friday guide is just the tool you need.

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP KevinS
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014)
By KevinS
Posted on 12/07/14
RIP Ralph Baer (1922-2014) I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...

Magicka Preview

Chris_Hudak By:
Chris_Hudak
04/07/10
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER Paradox 
DEVELOPER Arrowhead Game Studios 
RELEASE DATE  
T Contains Blood and Gore, Language, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Take off to the great wide Norse.


“Once upon a time in a generic fantasy world...a world which, of course, was in peril...”

So begins the official trailer for Paradox Interactive's forthcoming Magicka, firmly establishing upfront the game's refreshing, pervasive, tongue-in-geek tone. Magicka is a top-down action game for 1 to 4 players set in a suspiciously familiar high-fantasy world that seems to be equal parts casually-diluted Norse mythology, top-down old-school videogame hat-tippery, and gleefully gratuitous, genre-swirling humor from the farthest-flung realms of nerd-reference culture. It also appears to hold the promise of a great drinking game... but that might be just us.

click to enlargeCatch any given few seconds of a four-player Magicka session out of the corner of your eye, and it might seem reminiscent of the multiplay videogame classic Gauntlet, only set largely in sprawling outdoor/natural environs... and with player-parties comprised entirely of wizards. And that's basically correct: Each player in Magicka is in fact a staff-carryin', robe-wearin', spell-packin' wizard, on a (mostly) cooperative Quest to shut down an even more powerful wizard who's been wreaking magical havoc. The Paradox folks haven't mentioned any powerful magical artifacts that have been broken into pieces and scattered across the land... but we wouldn't put it past them, either.

All along the way to this ultimate confrontation, players will encounter humorous references not only to other high-fantasy games, movies, and books, but also to numerous bits of geek culture that may or may not even remotely fit the pseudo-medieval setting. At one point, we encountered two charred cartoon-corpses outside a burned-out villager dwelling—said smoking deaders laid out in precisely the same attitude as the bodies of Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. “This looks like the work of goblins,” one of the characters quips.

While each of the four possible player-wizards can execute melee attacks, the real focus of the game is on quickly putting together elemental magic spells—dynamic in their reactions with both other spells being cast and with the surrounding environments. Quick taps in the cardinal directions with the analog stick each 'pre-load' one iconic bit of elemental 'ammunition', as it were—one 'round' of water, earth, fire, lightning—after which the complete spells (resulting from the countless possible combinations of said elemental bits) can be thrown up like a defensive shield, detonated like a bomb, or directed in a powerful, focused magical blast.

click to enlargeIt costs no personal energy, 'mana', or anything like that to whip up and crank off these elaborate magical combos. But the real challenge lies in the sheer time and manual-dexterity-under-pressure required to analog-stick these oft-elaborate spells into existence... while the reanimated skeletons, gargantuan snake-monsters, club-wielding orgres, fireball-slinging magic-users and assorted, flaming whatever-the-hells around you are working you over.

It's beneficial and often necessary for player-wizards to work cooperatively—one casting a temporary, magical defensive wall, for example, around the party while two other players frantically click up a two-parts-earth-and-two-parts-flame spell that translates to a devastating fireball attack. The same sorts of area-effect and/or focused-beam mechanics that work with attacks can also apply to defensive measures and healing, so one player can cast spells of healing on himself, or another, or all party members—provided he has the time to do so safely.

Of course, we all know how these 'cooperative' game experiences can quickly degenerate, given the right mix of player 'frienemies'. So naturally you can, and probably will, easily end up cooking one or two of your own party members with that hastily-cast fireball spell. And if that pisses them off, they can just as easily turn their attention from attacking any advancing monsters to laying an enchanted bolt of electric revenge on you instead. Like I said: Real promise as a drinking game.

click to enlargeFrom what we've seen, the vast majority of the game takes place in natural settings—paths through sprawling forests, the banks of still lakes or flowing rivers, bottlenecks at bridges both natural and man-made, and a host of other open, outdoor settings. Things start getting even more interesting when the constant fireworks display of onscreen spell-casting begins to react dynamically with the environments. Frantically click up a 'four-ice' spell and set it off in the vicinity of a pack of enemies near a stream, and you've not only frozen said entire pack of foes, but the stream itself—which means you've also just created a temporary, traversable bridge for the even bigger pack of hostile monsters massed just on the opposite bank. So good job there, Merlin.

And lastly, when you're not under actual attack by monsters or bloodyminded, vengeful members of your own party, you can look forward to a wide range of sarcastic disdain and general verbal abuse at the virtual hands of numerous wise-ass NPCs that populate the countryside: “Maybe I, too, should put on my bathrobe and prance around in the forest!”

Magicka will offer 13 levels in the main cooperative campaign game, in which players can find secret items, challenges, new Magicks, and a constant shower of geek-reference minutia—or, as the Paradox folks so proudly and succinctly put it: “Experience the parody and satire of a clichéd fantasy world!” Magicka will be called into downloadable existence (for PC and consoles) later in 2010—and you can bet your dingy, frayed Bathrobe of Mithral Inebriation that we'll conjure up a full review.

More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Magicka