Since it was first announced, we’ve covered Magicka 2’s rather unique blend of
magic magick, barely controllable four player mayhem and general air of mischief several times, except that these words always came from my pen. This time around, I was able to induct two more wannabe wizards into the order, as the three of us took on the first two levels of the game, ahead of its release at the end of May.
But while moving pictures are worth thousands of words a second – 60,000 words per second in this case – Matt and Aran have shared their inital thoughts in written form. It’s a good thing they did, as you can see how carelessly fratricidal we were in the video above!
Magicka 2 caught me off guard a little bit because it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Having never played a Magicka game prior to our time making the video, I looked up a quick trailer just to try and get an idea of what I was in for. I remember thinking, ‘OK, that looks a lot like Diablo.’ In reality, other than your perspective, that’s a tough comparison.
They give you a lot of magic abilities right out of the gate, which made the first hour or so with the game a little more difficult than I anticipated. Mixing up to five different elements out of a possible eight means there are a ton of combinations and although nothing frustrates me more in video games than trial and error, that ‘aha!’ moment we collectively had when one of us figured out just the right combination of magic to easily take down a certain enemy type was definitely a fun feeling.
Also, as the only one of us that tried playing with a keyboard and mouse, I have to recommend playing with a controller – not that you’ll have a choice on PS4. I noticed several times during combat that Tef or Aran were attacking an enemy while running backward, allowing them to inflict damage while evading. With the way the navigation on the mouse is setup, that’s very difficult to do. My strategy resulted in trying to get around behind the larger enemies so I could attack them from the back, which never lasted more than a couple of seconds. I think I could’ve been way more effective had I been playing with an input device that allowed me to move backward or strafe while attacking.
Magicka is a series that I have been aware of but one that never drew me in, until I found myself unleashing spells on anything in my path alongside Matt and Tef. Of course lots of games let you do that, but teaming up with others in a world where the inhabitants speak a hilarious form of gibberish seems to be the best way for it to be done.
Much of the comedy came from our own errors though, as the control scheme took quite a time getting used to and accidentally casting the wrong spells caused explosions that would kill enemies and allies alike. Sacrificing your team mates is the answer sometimes, even if they don’t see it coming. Hordes of enemies could easily overwhelm which can be subdued with some Dragon Fire, a magick which causes fire to rain from the sky harming everything in its path. Due to the generally small sized of combat areas, someone on your team is always going to get hurt.
Teamwork is also required and finding spells that combine to create something powerful really evens the odds. In our playthrough, Matt and Tef combined water and fire to create steam, which was very effective against crabs. They did this to protect me while I used water to turn a water wheel which would open a path for us to escape the endless tide of crabs. There are lots of different situations in Magicka 2 that require players to take on different roles to solve puzzles and move forward.
As players have access to all the same spells, switching roles is easy and intuitive, so different people can play around with various tactics without needing to change anything. I found this approach an ideal one for the type of game Magicka 2 is. Some of the experiments may go wrong but the results are funny more than frustrating when they do.