A plethora of Magicka stuff is about to both delight and, sadly, disgust the fans. On the back of the release of free PVP mode on 21/6/2011, four new DLC 'packages' attempt to take advantage of a loyal fan base. Treading familiar footsteps, the content is once again on the ridiculously slight side and offers little value for money. On the positive side, at least it does offer all new content and some richly researched themes.
First the good: Magicka: Final Frontier delves right into the wonderful world of Star Trek and gives players the very popular Vulcan Arena (in both Versus and Challenge), allowing those who are more geekily inclined to live out famous scenes through the wizard medium. For those who have no idea of what I’m referring to:
My leader - Gold wizard has not lost thus far. For a Star Trek fan, it is well worth it and deserves much credit. For all others, this is better missed, but unlike some of the weaker Magicka additions, this content is worthy of a niche market.
Then, the OK: Magicka Party Robes is designed to take advantage of group play through some stereotypical complimentary party roles, with three new robes. Their categories: Tank robe (slow, weaker spells, resistance to damage and resilience – the meatshield), Rogue robe (stealth, does things from behind) and Support robe.
There are some amazing tricks, through intelligent utilisation of spells, that you can apply to all three of these robes to devastating effect. For instance, the Tank is initially weak offensively but can be boosted through haste in combination with some of the more offence spells, can be rendered virtually invulnerable with some of the more powerful self shields.
The new way to play is slightly overpriced (at 1.99), with no new map, but it is a lot of fun. It offers no real value for people who play single player.
And the bad: both Magicka Watch Tower and Magicka: Frozen Lake offer the least value for money (1.99 each). Both are best described as a PVP mode offering a small but intense map to fight. The Watchtower offering a few height differences on platforms and, hold onto your wizards hats, a lack of rail. The frozen lake, is, shockingly, a frozen lake and gives magicians a chance to further demonstrate their inability to swim. Nothing more is worth saying.
Verdict: I keep covering the DLC releases from Magicka. The guys themselves seem ideal – the pranks on both April Fools and at E3 (Magicka in Elder Scrolls fame) and, most recently, the Reservoir Dogs-inspired PVP advertisement has earned a great deal of respect.
However, this goodwill will only work for so long. Whilst I understand the need of the developers to continue funding their work, what they are doing in overcharging for poorly conceived additions is guaranteed to anger their fans. Apart from Vietnam, each subsequent release has felt like fleecing of money without adequate compensation and I have a strong suspicion that their rather fantastically earned popularity will dwindle should they continue to offer such fare.
This loyalty can only be stretched so far. One only hopes that greed doesn’t sink this franchise.
- Owen S