Review: Magicka: Vietnam

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Back when I reviewed Magicka in early March I made a strong case that you should buy this game immediately! Now that the Vietnam DLC is out … I am struggling a bit with what to recommend.

To put it in perspective, I started writing this four days after the DLC was released, by which time I had run through EVERYTHING there was to offer … twice. And then I still had time in between to play other stuff to gain perspective and contemplate what to say in the review.

Before I get to my recommendation, let’s take a look at some of the details.

Technically it is the same core game as you would expect with a DLC – the controls are identical, the sounds and sights and overall feel is identical, the great sense of humor and abundant fun are identical, and the performance is identical. But that doesn’t mean this is just a map pack.

The first issue you will encounter is figuring out how to get to the added content. You need to go to the Challenges section, at which point two new options are added: Vietnam Survival and Vietnam Rescue Mission. The Survival is an arena mode similar to the existing one, but set in Vietnam. The Rescue Mission is the core content that adds a single player and co-op challenge experience.

The game is set it war-torn Vietnam, and the mission has you facing the ‘Goblin-Cong’ who are armed with guns and grenades! This presents problems as it is possible to get fired upon from off-screen, but the game now allows you to crouch behind cover to avoid these attacks while readying your own magical counter-attacks!

The Survival mode is a simple but fun arena mode set in the Vietnam designs. It adds the new weapons … but not much more.

The maps are larger and designed with the new weapons and enemies in mind. It is well thought out DLC that is a blast to play alone or with others.

So what is my struggle? It sounds like this is a clear ‘Buy It’, right? Well, in a way it is – and if it came at a different price point I would recommend it without hesitation. And that is my main concern – the value proposition.

This week some sites are selling the combined Magicka and DLC pack for $10 or less. For that price – buy it NOW if you haven’t already! As I said, at $9.99 Magicka is a VERY good value – the developers are awesome, responsive, and really care about delivering value to their customers.

However, releasing a $4.99 DLC for a $9.99 game, and having the content consist of an arena map and a single mission? Not so great. Sure there are some optional elements, but ultimately you are paying 50% of the original cost for content that you can complete in 30 minutes – which isn’t such a great value.

Yet I am still going with ‘Buy It’ for this. Why? Because even at a $14.98 total you are getting a great game that is loads of fun and will keep you coming back for more, and is made by awesome developers who really deserve the support. So buy it already!

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Pros:
+ Excellent mage gameplay system
+ Great new weapons, maps, and integrated gameplay tweaks
+ Great sense of humor
+ Awesome developer support!
+ Perfect blend of gameplay, music and graphics

Cons:
– Lacking in content for the price

Game Info:
Platform: PC (downloadable content)
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Genre: Action
Players: 1-4
ESRB Rating: Teen
Release Date: 4/12/2011
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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About the Author

I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!