SquareGo Magazine asked me to go over the various DLC packs released for epic sword & sorcery pastiche Magicka
I give my thoughts on them here.
Magicka: DLC roundup
As if the sword & sorcery satire Magicka hadn’t made enough of an impact upon its first release, Arrowhead Studios have been incrementally boosting the content with subsequent downloadable challenge maps. In the original game, there were a couple of challenge maps; however Arrowhead have been quick to implement downloadable content by increasing the challenge maps with a smattering of themed and jovial little romps into the slaying of evil minions.
First off the mark is the curious departure from the normal fantasy fare as your multi-coloured mages are plunged into the sweaty, wah-wah guitar steeped depths of the 60′s. Yep, it’s time to get ready to go back to the jungles for some ‘Nam style action. Remember the scene in Magicka where you came across the village who worshiped an M60 Machine Gun? Well that was enough to inspire the devs to craft two mayhem-filled challenges in a Vietnam setting. And what a Vietnam! The forests, glades and fields have had a minor overhaul to bring them into a more visually stimulating rendition of the paddy-fields and jungles surrounding Laos and Saigon. What’s more, the swords and axes used for melee attacks in the original game have been swapped out for a selection of rifles and machine guns. Allowing you to mow down foes at great distances under a hail of lead, whilst still hammering them with the magical attacks as before. Watch out though, the orcs and ogres have their own hardware and are pretty trigger happy.
The maps themselves consist of a standard map where the Mages must as always survive increasingly difficult waves of Vietcong-goblins and beasties, under heavy hails of gunfire. The other, far more fun challenge is a rescue mission where the players must traverse deep jungles and act out a strange cross between Platoon and Lord of the Rings, en route to rescue captured friendlies from a POW camp. Overall the Rescue mission is by far the more enjoyable and will have gung-ho players everywhere calling down rains of napalm amidst their flashing beams of dark energy.
Were that not enough, the ever fun-loving folk at Arrowhead set up a poll to decide which one of two maps would be made freely available to all owners of the original game. The zombie-esque rampage of Marshland or the mining depths of the grim Caverns.
The overwhelming winner in this regard was the Cavern’s map, and as such if you have Magicka, you already have it. No really, go look.
The obvious inspiration here has been the Mines of Moria from Lord of the Rings, as the players enter through a lift and are subjected to the usual ten waves of goblins, orcs, ogres and walking Treasure chests. There’s a nice progression of bads to wipe out and the change of scenery is quite nice. It’s not like you’re paying for it anyway…
The other helping of DLC is the Marshland Challenge map, again this is a single map, with a twist. This time we have a bayou of swamps and vines, where legions of swarming undead leap upon the play en masse. Touches of Left 4 Dead 2 are clear in the design and influence but ultimately aside from the change in background and the different foes, there is little to merit having this map, other than the cheap pricetag and the promise of more evil slaying.
The lack of a story based map is an omission which hopefully will be rectified with further releases from the team.