Spelling inside the lines

Magicka 2‘s tagline is “learn khổng lồ spell…again,” và that sums up the sequel to lớn the Paradox-published, surprise-millions-selling first Magicka. The second fantasy trope stuffed outing comes from Pieces Interactive sầu, makers of some of Magicka‘s DLC after original developer Arrowhead Studtiện ích ios went on lớn work on other projects (most recently, Helldivers).

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It’s an appropriate baton pass, as Magicka 2 feels like a light expansion.


Magicka 2 (PC , PS4)Developer: Pieces InteractivePublisher: Paradox InteractiveReleased: May 26, 2015MSRP: $14.99

If you haven’t played the first Magicka, the set-up is still familiar enough: up-to-four-player overhead adventuring & trùm cuối killing. The trade tools are the big difference. You’re granted immediate access — there’s no progression system, really — to lớn eight different magics, just about all of which can be combined, in different strings & quantities. There’s a balance between stronger spells, which are more complex khổng lồ cast, và dealing with basic elemental affinities.

On a controller, spells are mapped to four face buttons, while L1 swaps lớn a second phối of four spells, a system I much prefer over the first’s fighter-lượt thích quarter circles. Once queued, they can be cast forth offensively, as area of attachồng, or unkhổng lồ oneself. And Magicka 2 is more than willing lớn let you drop a rock on your own noggin as easily as you might heal yourself. Or let you mix an unfortunate frikết thúc on fire.

Magicka 2 gets most of its good will for its co-op, which is why controllers for couch play are sort of preferred, though you can play online, và in parties of any ảo diệu (two local, one online, & so on). While playing co-op can make the worst game fun, Magicka 2 is definitely improved with and seems designed around having friends to revive you & to lớn separate enemies whose AI encourages them to lớn clump in writhing, obscuring masses.

It is no fun to lớn play solo, constantly drowned in a sea of goblins.

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The clean interface và easy drop in, drop out are about the only significant improvements over the original. That and the laông chồng of bugs. Enemy AI mildly trips out sometimes và, especially in co-op, being anywhere near the edge of the screen feels like you’re constantly stuchồng on screen restrictions mixed with cấp độ geometry, but mostly it’s a clean running — & lean running — game. Collision detection also comes inkhổng lồ play with the physics heavy final boss fight, which was equally the most creative sầu và frustrating encounter.

The story is told over 10 or so brief chapters with replays encouraged by challenge instances and modifiers (collectable artifacts) that allow for Mortal Kombat Test Your Luck-style additions. Madly increased movement speed (please), extra unsafe damage boosts. There’s a fair amount to lớn tinker with.

That’s if you want khổng lồ tinker, though. Again, Magicka 2 just feels lượt thích more Magicka levels và I felt fairly sated not even having finished the first. There’s a giant enemy crab as a sort of sub-boss, and then you fight another giant enemy crab, and then you fight two giant enemy crabs. It gets redundant.


Enemies are fodder, relentlessly marching toward you en masse, hardly flinching in the face of your supposedly powerful magics. The crowds get messy & you die, or you vì a lot of running backwards while spraying spells at your angry entourage like metal filings chasing a Wooly Willy pen. It often feels like the equivalent khổng lồ a shooter with lengthy mounted turret sections, the discovery of powerful spell combinations evoking sighs of, “Thank god, I can kill the next wave of đôi mươi goblins more easily.”

And while I appreciate Magicka 2‘s lighthearted take on fantasy tropes, I don’t lượt thích the bulk of its humor, which confuses making references with making jokes. It’s like a non-hipster version of Life is Strange, allowing you to lớn be self-satisfied for having seen trò chơi of Thrones rather than Battle Royale. Thwacking a wooden cow — or your frikết thúc — & it exploding into lớn chunks of meat is always funnier, but Magicka 2‘s actual jokes at least fare better than the winks và nudges. Repeated insistence that Dracula-accented, narrative-driving Vlad is not a vampire? Even a deadpan loading slide regularly reserved for game tips that just says “Vlad is not a vampire.” Funny. Oregon Trail jokes? Belongs on Epic Threadz next to the “I BACON” shirts.

If you want khổng lồ pat yourself on the baông xã for getting in-jokes and you can drum up enough play pals for co-op, you might find Magicka 2 very nice! Like its references, though, Magicka 2 is just a retread.