Some games are destined to be disasters on arrival. Whether it is a huge buggy launch or the game or just a terrible game in general, some games have no chance at being good at launch. So many possible scenarios could happen for a game when it launches. The game could have been in development hell, the developer could not be talented enough to make a good game, the game could have poor marketing, and many other situations that could make a game dead on arrival. Today’s review of Magus is an example of those last two—both the developer isn’t talented and almost no marketing went into this game. I saw only one trailer and wasn’t fully pleased with what I saw. I then went to the game’s website and all they had were stills. It’s like they wanted to make this game, but at the same time, they didn’t want to show this game off at all. It also doesn’t look good that barely any reviews of this game are out. What is the point of making a game if you wouldn’t want everyone to know about it? How about we get into this game and see what makes it tick? Don’t be surprised if I start ripping this game apart around the midway point of this review.
The story revolves around a young man named Magus. He was locked up in a prison inside a tower for many years. He, for some reason, doesn’t know who he is or about his past. After many years of being locked up, he escapes with a female prisoner named Kinna. She explains to Magus that he is apparently a god. Magus then sets off on a journey to reclaim his powers and find out about his past. I will talk about the story later in the review.
Magus is an action game with RPG elements. You will be running around rather linear levels, shooting enemies and fighting “bosses” at the end of each of the game’s five levels. Your main form of attack is shooting magic at enemies. You have three different kind of spells: green, blue, and red. The green magic is like a weak machine gun-style weapon. Blue magic is slower, but is pretty much a stronger version of the normal green spell. Finally, the red spell is basically your “shotgun” attack. The normal spells have a rapid fire mode or one strong charge spell mode. Now then, you will have three level trees where you can upgrade and purchase different spells by leveling up. You also have stats that you can upgrade as you gain more levels. The spells that require actual magic to use range from a wall of fire, the ability to run faster, turn giant, float, regain health, to other spells that you can use in combat. Since you can run out of magic, you will need to absorb magic from the environment. You also have a multitude of items to equip yourself with magic stones and armor. You will go through 5 linear levels, not including the tutorial level, and the overall experience will take you, well, I will explain my issue with the time later on in the review.
I am going to be honest and say that Magus looks like it came out in 2006, and not two or so weeks ago. It uses the Unreal Engine 3, but I wouldn’t consider this a high point. The textures are simple and flat, the levels you go through are lifeless, and the human characters look “off.” I think it’s the art style that makes the humans look more cartoonish than realistic. The game’s visuals, among other things, don’t look finished. It seems like everyone has the same facial expression throughout the entire game. Oh, you should also see how the enemies run at you. I saw multiple times where the characters looked like they were skating across the ground made of butter. It was hilarious. The game also looks like everyone has the same 3D model, but with different textures. The game’s music is also very boring and forgettable. Granted, the opening cinematic music was kind of nice, but the game’s music is lifeless, just like the rest of the game.
So yeah, what else is bad about this game? Well, the length of the game is one of the low points. You can beat this so-called “RPG” in four hours. Let me say that again, an RPG that is usually meant to be about 30-50 hours, you can beat in four hours. I didn’t do this with some speed running move or anything. I was surprised when I beat this game in a day. The combat is not satisfying. I don’t feel good when I destroy an enemy. They slightly flinch when they get hit, but other than that, combat just becomes a boring chore. The game’s levels are just as linear as Final Fantasy XIII. This game is also way too easy. Even on the hardest difficulty, I died only once or twice on the final boss because of the random spike in difficulty. The bosses, or the few that you fight, are also damage sponges who just don’t know when to die. The game’s story isn’t that interesting. The main character Magus doesn’t even speak, but apparently he is supposed to be a sarcastic action hero. Well, since he doesn’t speak, there is no reason to give him a personality. Sure, South Park: The Stick of Truth had a mute protagonist, but at least they revolved humorous jokes around the silent hero trope. Oh and this is one of those RPGs that have “dialogue trees” where you can choose what to say, but they never made one difference within the game’s story. Listen, if you are going to have those branching dialogue options in your game, you better give the things you choose to say weight and impact on the game’s story or world. Don’t put something in just because other games do it or it’s a popular game mechanic. There are also a lot of other issues like pointless RPG elements that never felt like I was getting stronger as I progressed through the game, items that never felt useful since I could stick with one kind of armor and be fine, and a couple of weird graphical glitches.
Final Verdict: Dead on arrival.
Listen, I get it. Most small developers want to make it big with retail games instead of relying on downloadable games, but you have to put effort into the games you make or else you are going to look like a lazy sack of potatoes. Magus is just pointless, and has no reason to have been released. This is easily the worst game I have played this year. I know Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was a really terrible RPG, but at least it had substance and thought put into its design. It might have been flawed, but hey, it was a more entertainingly terrible game than Magus. Only get this game if you see it for a dollar. Otherwise, you are better off getting a game like Of Orcs and Men.