When a game ships you off to Vietnam, you have certain expectations. You expect guerrilla warfare, dense jungles, and a bit of napalm--specifically in the morning. What you don't expect is to be controlling a pack of brightly colored wizards armed with freedom staves and M16s while you're there. But that's just the sort of offbeat humor developer Arrowhead Game Studios is aiming for with its first expansion to Magicka, Magicka Vietnam.
The bulk of this expansion takes place in the vast Vietnam challenge map. This map is divided into three sections, with each section having its own objectives to complete. As in every great Vietnam struggle, your ultimate goal is to rescue a group of captured prisoners of war. Their captors are the Goblin Cong, one of the five new enemy types included. These nasty critters have traded in their bows and axes for grenades and firearms.
Not to be outdone, the wizards are also dressed for the part. While still rocking the same colored robes, they're now sporting some stylish olive-drab helmets and ammo belts. Among the 10 new weapons is the aforementioned freedom staff, which, as its name suggests, lets you shoot liberty grenades at your enemies. Basically, you'll be able to blow your foes away with the powers of democracy. Or you could just roast them with the new napalm airstrike spell, if that's more your style.
Humor is certainly a priority for Arrowhead Game Studios, but the developer is also taking the time to make sure the gunplay is satisfying as well. It has even gone so far as to enlist the aid of EA DICE, developer of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam, and its sound designers to help craft the audio effects for the guns.
When you get your hands on an M16, AK-47, or any of the other numerous firearms scattered about, your block ability is replaced with the crouch ability. While this may hobble you into an early grave against melee opponents, it will save your life once the bullets start flying. In that situation it's time to take cover behind rocks, sandbags, or an earthen wall of your own creation and return fire.
Magicka Vietnam draws inspiration from the likes of Tropic Thunder and Full Metal Jacket, and even the 1993 satirical top-down shooter Cannon Fodder. Its aim isn't to make light of this historical conflict, but rather its place in popular culture. All of the classic Vietnam tropes are here, and we have been guaranteed that someone will say, "Get to da choppa!" Look for the Magicka Vietnam expansion on the PC this March.