Are you kids excited? Because by the gods I am.
Magicka 2 is one of the few games I have genuinely been excited for in a long time. I picked the first one up in the 2014 Steam summer sale on a recommendation from a friend and played the whole thing through in a single sitting. The game was filled with so much colour and charm, combined with more recent impressive releases such as Cities: Skyline that Paradox Interactive has to be my favourite publisher of late.
So we come to Magicka 2, and can the formula be improved upon? Apparently so; as Magicka 2 blends all the positives of the first game and adds a few welcome improvements as well making it a worth sequel that all sequels should aspire to.
Speaking within the boundaries given to me by Paradox; Magicka 2 is set after Wizard Wars. The world once again is in peril; and Handsome Vlad (who we are assured, once again, is totally not a vampire; think what you will) requires between 1 – 4 Wizards for his epic quest. The world is decidedly different to the first game; and Wizards are not met with all the fervour they once were. The locals have spent a long time living without wizard’s antics. Nonetheless you alone, or possibly with 3 other friends, must save Midgard once again.
The biggest change you will notice to Magicka 2 is how beautiful the game looks thanks to the graphical overhaul. While graphics updates are expected; the graphics add a lot more character to the world now. The colour palate is much larger, and the game is built to show it off; travelling from traditional forests across beaches and caves. Characters looks a lot more refined and the people of the world are far more human-like than in the first game.
Character control has also been improved upon. Movement feels more fluid and characters feel the tiniest bit lighter. You can also place a marker where you want your character to walk and fire spells independently, which is a welcome addition to the fight mechanics. Control therefore overall feels more responsive and gives more action possibility allowing more fluid and active gameplay.
Spells are similar enough for players of the first game to remember. You have all the same elements from the first game; Life, Death, Water, Fire, Shield, Rock, Ice and Lightning. Combinations work the same as they did in the first game, revive is still Life and Lightening. The first large edition is a hotbar. Now certain spells can be attached to numbers 1 through 4 to use at a moment’s notice without having to load up the elements for it. However the cooldown is only for the use on the hotbar, so feel free to load up the elements and continue using your favourite spells. You can also now attach spells to weapons, and fire spells off as area attacks. Crossing streams can now cause hilarious effects and I recommend two players combine an Ice and Death beam with a Fire and Death beam. Even two Life beams can backfire and cause damage.
Character modification has been overhauled as well. Where as in the first game if you liked a weapon you held on to it until you lost it horribly; Magicka 2 saves all the weapons you acquire. The game can be pushed to the main menu at any time and characters can change robes, weapons and staffs from any you have acquired across the game. Choices hold permanency, so if you equip a cool staff you can keep it for the rest of the game. This combined with the regular checkpoints means players are unlikely to be stuck for long. Backing out and equipping tactically usually resolves most barriers.
So what sucks about this game? Even without the rose-tinted spectacles of my love for Magicka I don’t see anything wrong. I did try to explore as many of the nooks and crannies as much as possible, and there was nothing I saw as an issue. Paradox has made sure this works flawlessly and as much as I tried, game breaking spells do not exist.
A warning though. This game intensity has been pushed up by quite a degree. You are expected to play with friends and have a good grasp of the modified control system quickly. Or you best start learning to hit W, A and the space bar in quick succession. With two players there were many sections where the odds seem much in favour of the enemy. But a seasoned team of 4 players should grasp the additional controls and sail through the game.
The game is due for the 26th of May. If the game lives up to the standards this preview set then this is where all my free time is going for the next month. This newest iteration of the game is quite possibly going to be one of the best games of the year hands down.
I’m going to give the review a 5/5. Magicka 2 has set itself a high standard from the early preview we got sent and the final version is nothing but a class of magic. Boasting a charming experience worthy of the Magicka title – yet somehow I’m not fearful of a flop and failure. This game has been the first in a long time to fill me with hope about the gaming industry and I hope many games of the same calibre follow.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.