Magicka makes successful transition from PC roots
Published 09/06/2015 | 00:00
As is often the case with titles that skirt the boundaries of perfection, Magicka 2 is thwarted by its own overreaching ambitions.
There will be moments through the middling 6 or so hours of gameplay when you will feel like a true sorcerer - stringing together devastating combinations of elemental wizardry with ease, though there will be much more of such moments undone by cheap deaths and poorly designed gameplay mechanics.
Fortunately, the charming design and laugh-out-loud narrative will be just enough to propel you (and a friend, if you so choose) through what is quite a delightful experience. By entering combinations of elemental spells one button at a time, Magicka 2 lets you experiment to discover a mind-boggling number of different spells (most of which, surprisingly, come in useful at one point or another).
What is rare for a game with so many options is that the variety of spells is well-matched by the encounters which are mapped out in such a way that they encourage you to wield that power intelligently.
The thing is, Magicka 2 slips up not in its delivery of varied encounters, but in the complexity in which you must traverse such situations.
It's all well and good being able to build magical barriers and creating spells that arc to multiple enemies like lightning while burning like fire, but its when the game is asking you to throw together these 10 to 15 buttons commands on the fly that the core mechanic of the game becomes a little irritable.
Although it hits the marks in several key areas, there's no shying away from the fact that Magicka 2 can feel monotonous in parts. This may be eradicated (in part) when playing with friends locally or online, but not everyone will have that same privilege.
There's an overriding focus here on combat that could have been invested in other, more interesting pursuits such as puzzle solving or even platforming.
Still, it's a competent action game that has made a beautiful transition from its original PC roots and one that will no doubt garner a new console-based coven. The charming humour and lovely visuals will do it for the casual gamers, although the tricky control schemes will scare much of that group away.
A strange game in that it appeals to two very different standpoints, but worth a play nonetheless - if you don't mind extreme difficulty mixed into your gaming.