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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Magicka DLC review: Wizards survival kit and Marshlands challenge (PC)

The game developers at Magicka (a game we were quite impressed with) are at it again, adding new content to their sarcastic franchise. Having been presented with two pieces of downloadable content, the small value given through each means it is perhaps wise to look at them together.

Is this really a game we needed even more of?

Before we begin, I should include a reference from the original game. When in trouble, the pause function is represented by uttering the safe word: BANANA. The importance of this will become apparent.

When designing this downloadable content, the designers must have thought to themselves: what was missing from the original game? The answer is presented as two options: a shiny new set of clothes and Zombies. Whilst I feel it would be a great idea to have a drink with these designers, the new content is far from adequate to justify any price.

This is especially true of the Wizards survival kit, where nothing of note is added. The new content on offer is some new wizards clothing, two new weapons and a new combination of organising the magicka totalling a singular new spell – meteor swarm. It is difficult to imagine this prolonging the gameplay of any game, and offers no new missions, and no new enemies to fight against. Not a recipe for success. Especially as this goes against the franchises ideology in avoiding materialistic aims (no inventory, item hoarding, ammo counts). Basically, short of a five minute half smile, this content is easily forgotten. People who invest their hard earned for this update can genuinely feel like they have been taken advantage of.

Answer: no

The Marshlands challenge, unlike that of the Vietnam DLC, offers little new to the series. Once again designed for four players, the Marshlands offers two new survival challenges of 20 rounds duration. It offers new spawning tricks with the undead popping from the ground, so it does try and do something differently. Sadly, this is a miserable failure – the addition hardly makes the game and more challenging, with bosses in the original using similar tactics.

Whilst the addition of zombies is always fun and in almost every context guaranteed to be a success, it is telling that this fails to be fun. This addition appears rather rushed, with the game designers forgetting the things that made the game successful as well as common basic themes to zombie games such as undead being killable with healing magic.

Ultimately, it is DLC like this that will turn players off franchises like Magicka. Whilst the original was enjoyable, the blatant attempt at revenue raising without offering adequate compensation is, frankly, offensive. It is highly advised that any money designated for games should be directed towards another game, or a good cup of coffee, or fruit.

In other words. BANANA.

- Owen S

Magicka DLC review: Wizards survival kit and Marshlands challenge (PC)
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