Blood Magic E3 2004 Impressions

This fast-paced action role-playing game takes Diablo and mixes it with lots of magic and a beautiful 3D graphics engine.

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Blood Magic is a Diablo-style action role-playing game that focuses more on sorcery than it does on swords. But don't let that fool you; it's still a fully 3D game designed to be fast-paced and full of spectacular spell effects.

In the game, you play as one of four different characters, all of whom are magicians. Though we don't have any details regarding the plot, you'll have to explore the world and battle large numbers of monsters and other creatures along the way. In other words, it's very much like Diablo.

The magic system is very broad and flexible. For example, while there are 12 different schools of magic, each with eight spells, you can combine spells to create different effects. Thus, you can mix a poison spell with a stun spell, temporarily incapacitating opponents while poisoning them at the same time. Or you can meld a fire elemental spell with a powerful fire spell, therefore strengthening the elemental.

Another cool feature of the game is that as your character specializes in schools of magic, his or her appearance will change. So if you select nature magic, your character may grow branches or horns out of his or her head. And if you choose another school of magic the next time you level up, your character's appearance will combine aspects from both schools. There are so many different possible combinations out there that this should guarantee unique-looking characters.

Though there's an emphasis on magic in the game, you'll still be able to use swords and armor. Picking up loot from fallen enemies will be an important part of the game. There will be hundreds of different types of items, all of which look different and will affect your appearance appropriately.

Blood Magic uses a new graphics engine with support for DirectX 9 features, including bump-mapping. The game looks good, and the environments are very nice. We saw an underwater level, complete with tiny fish swimming and darting around, as well as a wide variety of different locales in the game.

There are plans for a Battle.net-like multiplayer service. Not surprisingly, we're told that the multiplay will be very similar to Diablo. However, the beautiful 3D graphics engine and the spectacular spell effects should offer some much-needed eye candy to the genre. Blood Magic is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2005.

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