Publisher: Aksys Games
Developer: Black Tower Studios
What they say: Since the creation of the world, and of mankind, obeisance to the gods and their whims was the focal point of the lives of all who inhabit the lands created by the divine. However, as the gods disappeared from people’s daily lives, their power and influence began to wane, and cynicism and secularism replaced piety and belief.
Amidst the world’s slow abandonment of the gods, a profoundly devotee and servant of the gods named Kinna infiltrated one the many prisons of the Waterfall Realm in hopes of finding one who would become a god. Encountering Magus, a prisoner who has spent his entire life incarcerated, she believes that she has found who she was sent to look for.
After claiming the powers that were his birthright and learning his true identity, Magus, with Kinna by his side, takes his first steps towards an unknown future.
What I say: It’s not often that a game gobsmacks me so hard that I don’t know what to say or how to take it. Now that I have finished Magus (I even got the Platinum trophy!), I will attempt to share my impressions. God help us all.
Magus is the story of well…Magus. He has lived as long as he can remember in captivity. You are joined by Kinna, a young assassin who committed a crime in the hopes of being imprisoned with you. This is relayed in the dumbest and most convoluted way possible. She tells you that you may be a God and have powers or something. But what a name like Magus (Webster definition: Magician, Sorcerer) you would think it would be obvious. There are Mass Effect like dialogue trees but your choices seem to make no difference what so ever. After you and Kinna finish their “conversation” they are off to escape. Thus begins one of the most broken and ridiculous games of our time. At a vague glance it game would appear pretty deep. As you gain levels you are given points to up your stats and there is also a three tier skill tree focusing on three types of magic; green, red, and blue. Once again this is seemingly useless as for all the “different” abilities you can unlock are really variation on the same three or so spells. Not to mention the fact that the spells you start off with will get you all the way through the game with little effort. It’s like the producers watched a bunch of Let’s Play videos and made a game based on their watching the games and not actually playing any. After the first level you end up in a tower that acts as a hub. You can access all the levels from here and redo as much as you would want. But why you would want to I don’t know.
The AI in the game is either a work of genius or insanity. Kinna, who has a permanent look on her face like she stepped in dog shit, attacks whomever randomly and tends to vanish and reappear with no rhyme or reason. The crazy talk she spouts is humorous if horribly written. All enemies you encounter move EXACTLY the same they are just skinned differently. When I noticed that there were more than one mocap actor I almost shit! Somebody got robbed on that job. Speaking of how they move when they walk or run they look goofy as hell and about as threatening as a watermellon. Ah, but when they try to strafe…that’s when Magus truly becomes a comedy masterpiece. The enemies appear to be ice skating. I’m completely serious. At least one of the levels was an ice stage so I didn’t have to giggle through the whole game.
Graphically, I don’t even know where to start. I’m pretty sure I heard my PS2 snickering while I was playing. This game uses the Unreal engine. What they don’t tell you is that it’s the Unreal engine from Unreal 1 back in 1998. I immediately recognized the textures and level designs from my time messing with the level editor back in the day. And I’m pretty sure I had better results.
The final thing about Magus is how messed up the difficulty curve is. First off, I played it some on easy, normal, and hard and I could not notice a bit of difference. AT ALL. And finally, flying in the face of game design 101, the higher level you get the MORE experience points you get per kill. By the end of the game normal enemies were giving me like 120,000 experience points each. EACH! This makes the game actually get progressively easier as the higher level you are the quicker you gain levels. It’s madness.
The final level, naturally the shortest of them all, only opens once you complete the four basic levels. Then there is a boss fight that is so dull I actually had to do it twice as I fell fucking asleep the first time. As I said earlier this game is quite hilarious and I had to keep going just to see what foolishness would burst forward next, but it’s so broken that whomever thought it a good idea to charge people for this should be exiled from the planet.
Rating: (As a comedy/satire) 8/10, (As an actual game)3/10
Disclaimer: A PSN code for the game was provided to us for review from the publisher. Why they would do this I will never know.