Magicka 2 Review

Platforms: PS4, Windows/Linux

Developer: Pieces Interactive

Publisher: Paradox Interactive

The first Magicka game was a nice addition to my games collection because it offered something I’ve never seen or played before. The element system is one of the most unique mechanics in a game I’ve seen and even just trying different combinations of elements can get you sinking a lot of time into the game. Magicka 2 however, didn’t originally spark my interest because I was hearing a lot of negativity about it. So I tried to set that aside and see how the game is for myself. I was still a little skeptical because I couldn’t see how they could add or improve the element system in the first game.

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Honestly, I’m really loving Magicka 2, maybe not as much as the first one but it still maintains the qualities it has from the previous game. It is still charming, has exciting and fast paced gameplay and above all, it’s god damn challenging! Although sometimes the challenges are a bit too rough, due to the huge difficulty spikes that can occur (mainly on the challenge/adventure modes), some of the challenges are actually quite healthy for the game. For example, you try one of the levels and while you’re playing through, you suddenly get stomped by a few enemies. Doing the same level again, will give you the advantage because you know where you went wrong and what spells you should and should not use.

There are 8 elements and 3 sub-elements in the game that you can play with and you can store up to 5 elements at a time. Stacking the same element 5 times will increase the effectiveness of that spell. Here’s a list of the main elements:

  • Life
  • Death (previously known as “Arcane”)
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Cold
  • Lightning
  • Earth
  • Shield

And here are the sub-elements:

  • Steam (Fire + Water)
  • Ice (Water + Cold)
  • Poison (Water + Death)

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You’re pretty much encouraged to try out different combinations as there are many enemies/obstacles that need to be taken down by various elements. For example, if you go over deep water, you will actually drown. So to get past this, you have to freeze the water to run over it. Almost everything you do requires you to use spells. Of course in combat, you can assign spells to your sword and use it to kill things as well. Also, if you play online with others, you can combine “beam” spells by crossing streams to create an explosion or a single, more powerful beam. Experimenting with this caused me to die on several occasions. There are also special spells that can be hotkeyed or cast using combinations to make it easier for you to execute them. These are usually abilities like revive, thunder, haste (run faster), teleport and more.

It’s actually a really enjoyable game to play, a lot more fun with friends and family. It encourages strategic gameplay, although sometimes with the right items on the right bosses/fights, you can steamroll it if you dish out enough damage before they can reach you/do damage to you! Which is what I love doing (or trying to do). An example is that I have a staff that makes Death damage vastly stronger but makes my Life spells considerably weaker, making my survivability almost non-existent, unless I kill them first!

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Making a mistake or two on single player can cost you a life. I wasn’t really a fan of the fact you have to remember a gazillion button combinations and execute them on the fly. I mean it does make for some thrilling gameplay and after a while, you get used to it. Playing co-op is recommended so you can be more reliant on 3 other players and probably less likely to pull out your hair!

Just a word of advice though, try not to “accidentally” attack the people in your party. Otherwise you might find yourself fighting the actual enemies on top of your friends. You’ll get a lot of “you killed me so now I get to kill you!” as you play with others! But it’s all fun and games in the end….right?

Be weary of what element might be affecting your character. If you become wet, then I wouldn’t advise using lightning spells until you dry yourself off (which is done by lighting yourself on fire). The same goes for using cold spells on yourself when you’re wet. This can and will end up with you being frozen, and that’s not a position you want to be in!

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As with the first game, Magicka 2 provides numerous clothing, weapons and companions to mix and match and to find your own style of play. For example there are robes that can make you immune to certain elements, which can be very useful in situations where you may be struggling. Same applies to the weapons but usually you sacrifice physical damage for fire damage and so on. There are some hilarious weapons and clothing such as wielding a chainsaw whilst in a robe, casting spells.

Companions actually are there to revive you when you die (only a limited number of times) and can provide an extra bonus as you play. One companion will boost the damage of an element at random, which can make for some thrilling gameplay if you can keep an eye on which element is being boosted!

I really love the cartoon-ey art direction as it gives a kind of playful, yet dangerous feel to the game, what with the challenge provided and plenty of gore.

Throughout the game, I found myself laughing a number of times due to its subtle comedy and the voice accents. There are some words you may recognize but the vast majority is just sounds, like The Sims. Although you’re pretty much forced to read subtitles which some people might find annoying. But I really don’t mind that.

So what do I think of it?

Magicka 2 hit me by surprise as a thoroughly challenging, yet extremely enjoyable experience. Even though it made me hate the game at times during single player, I couldn’t help but love it during online play. The thrill of not knowing what your other party members will do with the addition of hordes of enemies surrounding you, made me forget the whole single player experience. It’s a game where you can just jump and really enjoy yourself. Just be ready for some frustration as well (which may not always be a bad thing)!

Let me know what you think in the comments! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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