We’re back on Midgard for more adventures with our robed friends! But this time, makes sure to bring friends along on your adventure, or you’re gonna have a bad time.
When the first Magicka came out back in 2011, its innovative spell casting system, fun co-op play, amusing storyline and characters made it an instant hit among the masses. So it came as no surprise that much was expected from the sequel to this well-loved game.
The game is a more polished and refined version of its predecessor with brighter and sharper visuals. The same old quirky cartoony style we enjoyed so much with all them non-magical peasants (NPC’s *ahem* or NMPs in this case) speaking complete gibberish. Our robed friends also look more flashy and ready to dish out some seriously fancy spellwork. So we can still enjoy setting things alight and watching your own robed avatar explode into blobs of red goop! Yay!
Magicka 2 stays true to its unique casting system, which involved the mixing up of various elements to create various different combinations of spells. It’s possible to combine water and fire to create steam, or cold and water to create ice, and so many other combinations, opening up a massive array of spells available for the player to use, each with a different or unique effect on enemies, friendlies or even the environment.
However, a few changes made to the casting system were received with mixed-emotions, the inability to use the lightning element in beams and the inability to use lightning with steam, to name a few (Lightning seems to be a fan-favorite). These were relatively powerful and very frequently used in the first Magicka.
Magicka also introduces the hotkey bar that allows for easy casting and features the all new Magiks, such as haste, teleport, lightning storm, and a plethora of other such spells that are independent of the elemental ones already at your disposal. They feature storms and tornadoes to quirky and completely out-of-the-hat spells that will give you a good laugh and who knows, they may actually be useful in certain situations. This adds even more opportunity for even more combinations in tandem with your own elemental spells for some seriously flashy and chaotic spell casting, which is the true essence of Magicka.
Some argue that being able to map element combinations to a single key defeats the purpose of the game, and we’re somewhat inclined to agree. While it will definitely help those new to the game, the satisfaction one gets from mashing the right combination of spells in the right situation should be what defines your wizardly prowess! Not the pressing of a single button!
But then again, you’ll need all the help you can get if you’re going to run this game solo. It’s ridiculously hard. Unlike its predecessor where the enemies were easy and seemed to exist mostly for comic relief, the enemies in Magicka 2 pack quite the punch and require a serious amount of thinking before you decide to actually take them on. Every enemy is weak to a certain element or combination of elements, and at the same time, you need to be prepared to defend from their attacks which, if one is unprepared will usually one-shot you or send you flying across the map. Now imagine have to face several enemies with different weaknesses and attacks. Every room is a friggin’ death trap. This makes solo play infuriatingly frustrating and it takes every ounce of willpower you have to stop yourself from throwing your controller out the window.
To add to this the game has several bugs, Magicka was also laden with bugs, but we as gamers did not mind too much, in fact we welcomed them. It added to the quirkiness and charm of the game and they weren’t too game-breaking. Magicka 2 though has some seriously annoying bugs that need to be addressed ASAP. For one, remember those overpowered enemies that send you flying across the screen? Well, you will fly across the screen, but your camera won’t follow. So you’ve lost complete control and sight of your wizard who has literally flown OFF the screen. Also the fact you respawn a few inches from where you die really doesn’t help your cause, as you’re dead within seconds after you respawn, effectively killing you off two times in a row and shipping you off to the nearest save point to retrace your steps, all over again.
But co-op is where the game truly shines. Bring along a friend. Heck, bring along 3! The game allows for up to 4 people to play together and boy oh boy does the fun factor escalate. The challenges become fun and having 3 more people to share in your frustration really helps deflate it, it becomes much easier to tackle a situation that would have been otherwise impossible in solo play. So if you want to enjoy this game to the fullest, bring a friend along!
Magicka 2 retains the uniqueness of its predecessor with its amazing spell casting system and its quirky cartoony atmosphere, however the difficulty of solo play is far too hard to ignore. The co-op play however is its saving grace, which almost forgives the incredibly difficult single-player aspect of the game.
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Manish "Trigger-Happy" Rajesh
If he's not gaming, he's... no wait he's always gaming.