E3 2011: Magicka Preview Impressions - Player Versus Player

Magicka gets competitive later this month with a free PVP update.

Magicka has proven to be a big hit among PC gamers. The action role-playing game's fast-paced, do-it-yourself spellcasting is a lot of fun, and cooperative play remains a big draw. Soon, Magicka will be receiving a free update that adds player-versus-player arenas. We caught up with Robin Cederholm at Paradox Interactive to get our hands on Magicka's PVP; here are some of our top-level thoughts.

Who's Making It: The minds behind the PVP update are the same as those behind the main releases: Arrowhead Game Studios. Magicka was the company's first release. The game is published by Paradox Interactive, well known for bringing quirky, ambitious PC games to market.

However, when it comes to PVP, Arrowhead and Paradox owe a great debt to their community, at least where one new mode is concerned. Krietor's Tourney is a tournament mode modeled after a tournament structure created by a member of Magicka's community.

What You Do: Outside of Krietor's Tourney mode, there are two new modes: Deathmatch and Brawl. Deathmatch is self-explanatory, but Brawl sounds a little more intriguing. According to Cederholm, this mode is modeled after Super Smash Bros., in the sense that you can be defeated only a certain number of times before you are tossed from the match for good. There will be four playable maps at release, and each mode supports up to four players, both online and local. (Yes, local!)

Importantly, the developers are adding a friendly game browser for ease of online play--not just for the new PVP component, but for all multiplayer modes. This should make it easier for players to both navigate and customize their avatars. In addition, the new game modes will all be customizable to some degree. You can set match time, score limits, and more; and if you think a certain spell or item is overpowered, the host can remove it from the match. However, Cederholm stated that Magicka has undergone a number of balance tweaks since release.

How It Plays: We joined Cederholm in a local match, both of us using an Xbox 360 controller. (Based on the ease of use, we wouldn't be surprised to see this game come to consoles.) It took some time to get used to the gamepad controls (our time was always spent with a keyboard and mouse), but in no time, we were swigging speed potions and casting fiery spells toward our opponent. We also fought chattering treasure chests that would appear onscreen, which dropped weapons and other items upon defeat.

What They Say: New robe packs are also on their way.

What We Say: Robes are great, but what makes Magicka so popular is simple: it's fun. And with player-versus-player matches, it looks like Magicka fans have even more fun coming their way on June 21, when the update is officially released.

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Kevin VanOrd

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play bass in Rock Band.
Magicka: The Stars are Left

Magicka: The Stars are Left

Kevin-V moderator staff

@GGCrew_basic -- Not a lot of info was provided, unfortunately. However, if I can get some time, I will try to dig more up on it.


Where's the info about Krietor's Tourney? The article gave it a great lead in, but never described what made this mode so special. I am reminded of the "Chekhov's gun" writing guideline: don't include something if you're not going to expand/utilize it later.