"Ok, so, what's the plan?"
Magicka is a game of wizards, goblins, trolls et al but NOT VAMPIRES, AT ALL, NONE. It mixes psuedo RPG elements with plenty of humor, but is it trying to be funny? Or is it a hidden gem? Well, the answer to both those questions is yes...and no. There's plenty of things right with it but a few things wrong aswell. Alot of them are down to personal preference, though, so you may or may not find them a problem. Does it deter from the overall enjoyment? Well, yes quite frankly but it really is all up to opinion.
First of all, let's get the obvious out of the way. The game has several modes, Adventure, Challenge and Multiplayer. Exploring the main menu, already I have a problem. There's no way to alter your controls, at all. And that's where you might find a small bit of annoyance, the idea behind the magic in the game is that you can combine spells for more devistating attacks. A good idea, yes, except that it requires you to use your keyboard to combine them and move by holding down your left mouse button. The keys you need to combine spells include W A S D, so those of you used to using that button combination to move may find it a bit of a learning curve. Well, I tell a lie, you CAN change which keys do what, but you're still unable to change which button you press to move. Next obvious problem, the codeing is a nightmare. I know I'm not the only one who's noticed this, but the game crashes repeatedly just getting to the main menu. And then, you find out the buttons only work SOME of the time. I've gotten killed before because when I slammed the key to use a fire spell, it didn't work. And it's not me, I switched keyboards and still have the same problem. I checked the connection, no that wasn't it either.
This one really speaks for itself
Speaking of controls, it's very simple. To move in any direction you move around your mouse while holding down the left mouse button. No problem, right? No, except the right mouse button makes enemies fly backwards after you throw wind at them, and you can't do it while moving. You can comine spells into whatever combos you feel comfortable for just about everything. For instance, combineing the heal spell with the shield spell creates shock wave throwing, healing landmines. Which brings us to the next problem, your spells work on everyone and I do mean EVERYONE. You can heal the enemy, you can kill your allies and I mean ALL of your allies. This can be especialy annoying if they're in the way of your spells and you can't get a clear shot. Among those aspects of the gameplay is the voice acting, it's not bad...if it can be judged in this instance. All characters, apart from the Narrator but I'll get to him in a bit, speak in some made up language that sounds like what you get if you slam your fist on the keyboard multiple times. It sounds like some wierd hybrid of French, German and Itallian, it's strange. Moving right along, I'd also like to point out the presence of melee weapons that serve no purpous. You can't use them to hack at enemies and they do nothing to defend you so...why are they in it? Now, don't get me wrong, the game is fun to play, it's just not groundbreaking. These things keep it back from going from good to great. But let's not forget the story!
Yes, this game has a plot. A very simple one, but a plot none the less! You are...someone going to Havindr to aid the King in defence of the capital city because...um...some reason. Alright so it's not brain taxing but it doesn't need to be, this is a game just having fun with itself. I'll leave it to you, the reader, to decide what the means. We start off getting a Narration by a guy who is totaly not a vampire and then we are given instructions by a guy named Vlad who isn't a vampire at all. And, is it me, or does the magic academy you're in look alot like the one in Avencast? I dunno, it just looks familiar. Ah yes, I forgot to mention, this whole story takes place in Unnamed Land #56 since not once are you told if this is Earth or Ferelden or Azaroth of whatisthisIdon'teven.jpg land. It also has quite the Goblin problem since they seem to be everywhere. Goblins have the annoying power of jumping on your back and running around leaving you unable to aim properly unless you execute the dangerous and evil task of hitting the space bar, seriously. This game also has a strange habit of making fun of other games while also making fun of itself. At one point you bump into a lady with a yellow ! over her head, clearly a reference to WoW, who mentions she'll pay you to destroy her rat problem. Goblins then attack, after you destroy them she says that she would pay you but "This game doesn't have a proper inventory system so I guess I can't". I even spotted a Games Workshop reference, a Godsplitter Hammer from DoW 1 outside a small house with the words "Grams Workshop" on a sign next to it. An RPG referenced Dawn of War...that just blew my mind.
Now! I'd like to point out before you all either raeg or agree with me, that this game is clearly meant to be played in groups. It's not a game for a single person, though it can be done as such. But, I fail to see how that can make it any better. Surely aiming, fireing and moving around the enemy would make it even harder than it already is. "Ah yes, but!", I hear you say, "You can hit your allies in Left4Dead, and that doesn't cause a problem". Well, yes, that's true, but in Left4Dead you barely do any damage to your allies unless you empty repeated clips into them on purpous. In Magicka, you deal the same amount of damage no matter who you hit. A sense of realism maybe? Yes, because the game has been soooo realistic so far huh? And that's another thing, this game is only realistic some of the time. An explosion right in your face that collapses the floor only does a few points of damage to you, but stepping off the shore line into the water kills you instantly?
So we have a game with barely a plot with awkward gameplay. Is that bad? Well it depends on what you expect from the game. It's a comedy, it's not supposed to be taken seriously. But, that said, I can think of another game that did that and was still amazing.
Ye Olde Holy
Yes, exactly. But seriously, the game isn't bad per se, it's good for a laugh and a weekends enjoyment. It's certainly not going on my top 5 list this year if I ever make one, but it's fun if you have nothing else to do and fancy some over the top gameplay for an afternoon. But really, the game needs patching like RIGHT NOW. Addressing the codeing issues, allowing you to turn off friendly fire maybe. Do all that, and I think it would be a very good game.
Final Score: 2.5/5