Apocalypse, Now: Magicka ‘Nam Launches

By Alec Meer on April 12th, 2011 at 5:15 pm.

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Paradox have today squeaked out their excellently batshit DLC pack Magicka: Vietnam, which relocates wizardry to misguided war. Not that this is exactly approaching the Vietnam conflict with anything other than farce and satire, but it seems to be saturing its co-op monster-splatting with as much ‘Nam-themed excess as it can conjure up. POW camps, napalm, hueys, Rambo and raaawk all appear, but mostly it’s about making camo-clad goblins die by the dozen. It’s enjoying itself first and foremost, and there are precious few commercial games that can be said of. In what’s now Magicka tradition, the latest trailer is an exercise in explodey absurdity.

Despite the general air of delectable merriment around this expansion, I must observe that said, ‘Goblin-Cong’ is a gag that leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth – I’m sure the unpleasant overtones weren’t intended but it means that, for all the good-natured tongue-to-cheek interfacing, this doesn’t exactly escape the tawdry heritage of games giving the VC characterisation and perspective incredibly short thrift.

Still,the spectacles of mages and machineguns is pretty hard to argue with. $4.99, out now on your preferred downloady-site, and it looks a little bit like this…

Goodness me, what a lot of fire, explosion and exploding little green men. Also, that looks like a bit of a Cannon Fodder reference at that starting title screen to me…

Magicka itself is being 50%-offed to commerate the release, as is a two-pack of the original game and the ‘Nam DLC. Details on that await you here.

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58 Comments »

  1. Xocrates says:

    Sadly it’s not 4.99$ over here, it’s 4.99€ which is as much as the full game right now :P (Though I suppose I could get it from Gamersgate for 4.95$)

    I’m a bit undecided, I really like Magicka and was looking forward to this, however I’ve came to learn that the vietnam level is actually a challenge level with no checkpoints, which means is very much designed for multiplayer.

    Can anyone who got this give an opinion how it holds in Single Player compared to the full game?

    • Meneth says:

      Just bought it. From what I can see it includes both an arena-style challenge mode, and that long mission.
      I’ll probably write more about what I think about it once I’ve played it for a while.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    Looking forward to this, although I may need to delay gratification due to being a little skint at the mo.
    However, regarding that bad taste, how about a retrospective of the excellent Vietcong?
    I thought that handled the whole thing particularly well, and the titular Vietcong were absolutely terrifying enemies.

  3. Navagon says:

    I still can’t believe this is a real thing.

    That said, Steam have a sale on the complete pack: http://store.steampowered.com/sub/7816/

    Which looks well worth getting. What does this play like singleplayer?

    • Xocrates says:

      I played the full game single player and quite enjoyed it. I had a few issues in areas where checkpoints were a little sparse, but I believe the devs added more checkpoints in the more critical areas.

      The main difference from multiplayer is that it goes from silly fun where you end up killing your friends half the time to a fairly challenging game that doesn’t really allow to a lot of mistakes.

      I fully recommend it for the current price, even if you never touch multiplayer.

    • Premium User Badge

      mcnostril says:

      Singleplayer is unforgiving.
      Still fun, but more in that horribly frustrating hardcore way.

      The yetis. Oh god the yetis.

    • Urthman says:

      [never mind]

    • TheSaddestSort says:

      Arggg … those yetis … must burn them.

    • lonkero173 says:

      Assuming the balance hasn’t changed for a while lightning bolts will quickly kill yetis (keep one ready, cast when yeti appears, throw in another one, dead yeti). Also remember that rain makes lightnings even more deadly and shielded wizards don’t get wet. This way you (irc) you can single shot yetis. Indoors is harder but freezing them seems to work nicely.

      The game is a bit deeper than people give it credit for…

  4. Qabal says:

    lol boobs

    whoops, wrong thread

  5. LimEJET says:

    The Biscuit and the Yogscast tried playing through this a couple of times, and failed miserably. You guys should totally include that video.

  6. DukhaDave says:

    Has war ever been so much fun? I guess it has, once or twice.

  7. gorgol says:

    I’ll be getting this ‘cos Magicka the only “recent” game I’ve bothered playing extensively since GTA IV. Certainly on my list of top PC games.

    EDIT: though I desperately wish they’d add proper PvP like they promised.

    EDIT: err wait, just watched the release trailer. 2 challenges?! Is that it? Dammit I was hoping for a campaign too. Might have to rethink.

  8. Meneth says:

    I’ve died my first time. I was playing alone, and lasted 8 and a half minute before two orks with machineguns managed to kill me.
    Seems nice so far.

    • Meneth says:

      Small follow-up. After a few failed runs, I managed to last a grand total of 12 and a half minute. In the end I died due to an off-screen goblin with an RPG-7. Usually they miss, but this time it hit me and took me from full health to 0 instantly.

  9. Serenegoose says:

    Cannon Fodder reference. I think it’s fantastic they’re making a reference that 96% of people won’t get. :D

    Beyond that, it looks absolutely absurd. The F-15 airstrike spell… I want it so much. And that giant things massive dakkagun. Giiiiive it to me.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      Oh my god, when did I become part of a 4% minority without noticing? Still, awesome to see the old greats remembered!

    • Serenegoose says:

      You’re probably part of several minorities that small, but I’m going to hazard a guess that of the population of the planet, 4% of them knowing cannon fodder and getting the reference might be a bit high really!

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      I immediately got the Cannon Fodder reference, and I hadn’t even played the game.

  10. Premium User Badge

    RLacey says:

    For the cheapskates amongst you, that Direct2Drive code still works for this – use “kapow” on the UK site, and a Steam code is yours for £2.79…

  11. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Beyond having just gotten the Hundle3 and having three other new co-op games to play with my friends, I have just been waiting to get Magicka at the first opportunity, and a complete sale including a new and conceptually awesome DLC is definitely that opportunity.

    That being said, How and How much has the multiplayer improved since less than optimal release?

    • Premium User Badge

      Sunjumper says:

      I had the game from day one and it went from bug ridden (yet still hillarious) disaster to perfectly stable and playable. Keep in mind that it runs perfectly fine on my system and that of my friends but that it need not run smoothly on every possible system. As far as I know it still contain certain glitches. But Vietnam came with a new patch so it should also have improved the game even more.

      Go for it.

  12. SilverSilence says:

    So who’s in for an RPS server?

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Magicka doesn’t have servers

    • SilverSilence says:

      Are you THE TotalBiscuit? I am honored sir!

      You can host games which is what i meant, as in i host a ‘server’ and people from RPS join.

  13. Coins says:

    Bought. But, err. I feel so stupid. How do I actually get to the ‘nam part? Do I have to finish the first game for it?

    • Xocrates says:

      Vietnam is a challenge level, so I assume it’s in the challenge section.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Nah, it’s under Challenges.
      EDIT: Beaten to it, drats!

    • Coins says:

      Thank you both! Now I can feel silly AND kill goblins with hats.

  14. Hoaxfish says:

    Now it just needs Harry Potter as Colonel Kurtz

  15. Pod says:

    OMG CANNON FODDER MUSIC.

    Well, not exactly the same, but close enough.

  16. skurmedel says:

    Rambo with exploding arrows!

  17. sinister agent says:

    What is this INSULT TO OUR WAR DEAD?

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Ah the great thaumaturgical war of the Counterweight Continent against the Agatean Empire. Many good wizards (and some pretty bad ones) were/will be lost that day.

  18. nemryn says:

    I wish I could play Magicka. It sounds like gobs of fun.

    • Fillem says:

      Why can’t you then? Are you magickally impaired?

    • nemryn says:

      Video card not supported! Apparently it’s not even a real video card anyway or something…

  19. Wulf says:

    I actually misread that as ‘Apocalypse, Cow’ and that made me chuckle.

    • wcaypahwat says:

      60 feet tall, and shoots fire out of her teats!

    • Spacewalk says:

      I seem to remember an old shareware game called “Apocalypse Cow”. The graphics were nightmare-inducing.

  20. trjp says:

    I’m afraid I lost interest in this when they launched it as a bug-ridden turd of a thing.

    Single-player in the demo was just frustrating and repetitive- multiplayer offered some interest but was terminately broken (it appears it’s improved to “shonky as hell”).

    DLC, at this stage, is a bit of a slap in the face when the game still isn’t really ‘commercial quality’ – it being cheap doesn’t change the fact they willingly released something broken (and have admitted as much).

    Some of the early patch notes are hilarious in that they detail fixes to things they cannot have been unaware of when they took your money – I think, on the whole, it’s better to let this die a quiet death…

    • Shouldbeworking says:

      Strange – I found it a lot of fun.

    • trjp says:

      The potential was enormous (as a multiplayer title at least – singleplayer maybe not so much) but – and this is only speaking based on the demo and a limited bit of multiplayer at a mate’s house – the controls were a mess, the game was super-crashy (even for a PC title) and the whole thing felt amateurish and unfinished.

      This is especially poor considering the huge amount of indie PC software which is anything BUT amateurish – I really do think the entire approach to Magicka’s launch was an insult to the people who dropped their hard-earned (not to mention the swift trip to bargainville!!)

      The publisher coming along after the launch and saying “Yeah, we knew it would need a load of work after launch” is just another kick in the teeth – I don’t think you should reward this sort of behaviour. I’m especially gauled that people are saying “Ah well they’ve made it better now” as if that’s a luxury we don’t deserve…

      I’m glad you enjoyed it but some people enjoyed Assasins Creed which was nothing but a tech demo which cost £40 – some people liked Jersey Girl – some people buy Paul McCartney albums with no sense of irony – who’s to judge eh? :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I agree with you trjp but this is generally why I don’t buy games on release (that and the fact that paying double or triple what it’ll cost in 6 months when I don’t have time to play it right now anyway doesn’t really make much sense). Their release notes actually made me LOL at some of the bugs they shipped with especially when the Steam news was showing a patch a day for about a fortnight for it.

      If devs/publishers fix up the issues with a game post-release, I’ll happily buy the game when it’s discounted. Sounds like a fair compromise, you release something that doesn’t work properly so you don’t get my money until it does & because of your choice you get less money than you would’ve liked.

      Bought the complete pack last night on Steam for £6 (base game plus Wizards Survival Kit & Vietnam DLCs). Will have to give it a go this weekend with some friends who’ve been playing it since release & thought it was pretty good even with the constant crashes & game breaking bugs.

  21. Barnaby says:

    It’s weird that there aren’t more people who are disappointed/not excited by this who enjoyed the main game. I loved the game itself but the M60, after initially being funny (omg look at the m60), was something I never used. Why the hell would you need the M60 anyway when there are super overpowered beam spells.

    I would have like something that fit the fantasy theme a bit better, another campaign with new monsters/levels or some new mechanic that lets you use the spells in a more interesting way would have been nice.

    The spells you cast (the ones that have a particular combination such as Rain or Grease) are pretty much useless unless you want to kill all your friends. How about making those spells actually useful. I agree with other people’s sentiment that this is a really fun game that could have been made MUCH more fun with a little bit more love and thought.

    Gonna grab the new Humble Indie Bundle. Still up in the air on this.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sunjumper says:

      Both Grease and Rain are extremely powerfull spells which can be used to turn the tides of otherwise very unpleasant situations and they can be used without killing anyone in your team.

      As lonkero173 said above the game is deeper than most people give it credit for.

      The problem seem to arise partially from the humourus tone of the game and its speed. Casting wild magicks left and right killing friend or foe alike is hillarious. Revive is quickly cast. And the speed of the game adds to the general panic which allows to measre the game speed with failed plans per minute.

      But as you go along you will learn that you can also work-out effective strategies:

      Like warning your friends before casting rain so that everyone can activate a personal shield. This leads to soaked enemies and mages dishing out lightning rays left and right.

      Or having one player take point and cast Grease on a bunch of strong enemies and having another player ignite them with a fire beam.

      Or even more complex what we did storming the orc encampment north of Havendir. Have one player slow down time while another errects a shield, then huddled behind the shield everyone gets to cast haste and prepare a steam and lightning beam. Move out of cover (or even better the shield now colapses on its own thanks to enemy fire) and move in and dish out monstrous amounts of damage with enemies exploding left and right.

      The game is easy to learn but there is tons of depth to it.

  22. Thants says:

    Is there any way to change the controls to click-to-move instead of click-and-hold-to-move? I can’t fathom why they would do it that way but it makes the game feel incredibly clunky.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Daiv says:

    I want to set fire on fire. And burn it. With fire.

  24. batteriesinc says:

    very good,it’s very important for somebody as me,I can not express my feeling with words now,just can see one hundred time of thanks.

  25. Darko Drako says:

    Can you do local co-op?

    If so how? does someone need to use an xbox controller?

    • Viper50BMG says:

      It’s got local co-op, just press “A” or “Start” on your controller when you’re at the character select screen. You can actually do local and internet and LAN co-op simultaneously, as I discovered recently. More games should have that flexibility.

  26. Viper50BMG says:

    So, did any other early Steam Magicka adopters go to purchase M:Vietnam, only to find out they already had it? Those sneaky devs, (apparently) giving out free stuff to people who didn’t expect it. That’s one way to inspire loyalty and smooth over a rough release.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Mister_Inveigler says:

    Is this game any good for single players? Don’t really know anyone who plays multiplayer and Magicka looks like a lot of fun, just so long as it’s fun solo…

    • Viper50BMG says:

      It’s fun solo, and worth the $7.99 on Steam, but it’s very different. Playing co-op results in massive firepower being brought to bear, but an increasingly high probability that a friendly will be, say, lit on fire, blown up, or tossed into a crevasse. On the other hand, when playing co-op, your “friends” can resurrect you with three button presses, which makes the long checkpoints feel less punishing. Single player lets you never have to worry about being frozen into a block of ice by a buddy, (and I believe the enemy count is subtly reduced), and lets you more strategically plan your actions, but if you die, it’s a long way back from the checkpoint. Also, I can’t imagine getting past some of the bosses without someone there to help with healing, shield buffing, and resurrection. Just my two cents.