Fresh off my little essay on how war gaming needs a break, I decided to flex my hypocrisy muscles and try out Magicka: Vietnam, the new war flavored expansion for the co-op monster slaying fest. The neat thing about Magicka: Vietnam is that only one person needs to have the DLC; everyone else can join on them and play through the levels, although they don’t get access to the fatigue and helmet wearing wizard skin. Kitted out with an American flag staff and my trusty M16A1, I hopped into a Huey and prepared to face the hordes of Goblin-Cong that no doubt awaited me in the jungle ahead.
Magicka: Vietnam takes the crazy spell-casting insanity of the main game and plants it firmly in a battlefield setting, giving all your enemies firearms and having you fight alongside infantrymen. You can use a gun, much like the M60 in the main game, and you can duck behind cover, a replacement for the block move that was rarely used. If you’ve played Magicka proper, you can pretty much guess how the expansion plays, but add a rocking 60’s soundtrack and some summonable napalm strikes and you’ve got a great recipe for a few awesome hours doing co-op. The expansion includes one scenario based mission and one survival map, but they can be replayed for quite a while as you try out the new guns, and it’s always fun to see how many goblins you can nail in one napalm hit.
Despite the fact that I was decrying the over-abundance of military games, Magicka: Vietnam doesn’t really fit the bill. It’s just the main game with a new theme, and the setting works surprisingly well. The whole set up is really fresh, and hopefully this expansion sells well enough to justify future releases from the team behind the game. You’d think that a game that’s described as “wizards shooting goblins with M60s” would be a little silly, and it is, but it’s so wonderfully well done. It has all the humor and irreverence that’s part and parcel with the Magicka experience. Despite the game’s very rocky start, it’s on track to become one of the finest PC experiences this year.
Has anyone else tried Magicka: Vietnam? Did my little review entice you to pick it up? What other sorts of setting would you like Paradox Interactive run the wizards through? Magicka and Magicka: Vietnam are on sale right now on Steam, so go snap them up if you haven’t already.