Magicka 2 Preview
If you’ve always enjoyed games akin to Guantlet or Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance, you know about Magicka. A ceaseless, challenging action/RPG that thrives on multiplayer, the IP will soon work its way to PlayStation 4. That’s when Magicka 2 launches, complete with heinous sudden deaths and countless spells-casts. It may be a more casual, fast-paced type of game, but it certainly doesn’t hold your hand. In fact, as the developers have said several times, Magicka 2 will require tact and diligence, despite its colorful, bouncy exterior. Friendly fire is very real, people.
You play as a wizard who has access to eight powerful elements. Anybody familiar with the role-playing genre can probably guess what they are; one minute, you’re slinging fireballs and the next, you’re sending lightning bolts toward charging foes. There is a twist to this straightforward formula, however: Not only can you channel these elements through your staff, but you can also imbue them onto your sword. Certain elements can be used in the form of an area attack as well, and others will offer beneficial spells for your character. The best part is that it won’t take long for all elements to become available, and experimenting with combinations is a big part of the experience.
Want to see what happens if you blend ice and water? Oh, you wouldn’t be too surprised to see a cascade of snowballs, would you? You can even fuse three elements for more complex – and more devastating – spell combos. The options appear to be endless with one obvious exception: You can’t combine opposite elements. In other words, fire and ice cancel each other out, as does lightning and water. Otherwise, you should be able to fiddle about to your heart’s content; who knows what you’ll stumble across? This isn’t just about unlocking more powerful spells as you progress. It’s about discovering more powerful spells.
Originally a PC franchise, you might have questions concerning the DualShock 4 controls. The good news is that these new controls have been refined and streamlined. You simply press one of the four face buttons to bring up an elemental orb; you can hold L1 to select from the other four elements, so it’s easy as pie to access all eight elements. And while there’s a full campaign, playing with friends is where it’s at…just be wary of that friendly fire, which can lead to damaged friendships. The game supports drop-in, drop-out cooperative play with any combination of online or offline players, so you can throw down with friends or strangers. Also, don’t forget that more enemies will greet more players, so the challenge will remain steady. Just make sure you team up with competent comrades.
One fresh addition to the PS4 version is the inclusion of artifacts. They’re adjustable game parameters that you can use to either help or hinder your progress. There are a grand total of 32 artifacts to find and up to 6 can be in play at any given time. If you want a stiffer challenge, you can use artifacts that make your opponents that much more difficult, or you can be sane and take advantage of buffing artifacts. Boost your health, spell power, and other stats to get that all-important edge! No matter what you do, death is always lurking just around the corner, but that shouldn’t dissuade you. The game’s addictive pacing should keep you coming back for more.
Magicka 2 lands on PS4 on May 26. That’s only one week after the highly anticipated RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but we’re talking about two very different games. One is designed specifically for deep solo immersion while the other revolves around fast, often comical multiplayer entertainment. So yeah, get both. ;)
4/17/2015 Ben Dutka