Magus (pronounced May-jus) is a third-person action/adventure title from Black Tower and Aksys Games. It stars the titular protagonist; a young man imprisoned since infancy and tortured for reasons unknown. One day mysterious woman named Kinna, reveals his true birthright, to be that of a God and assists in his escape. Now with this assassin by his side, Magus sets out to gets his revenge of the King who had him locked away. It is an interesting plot, that never really delivers. It isn’t bad but there is nothing about this narrative that left an impression. It does feature some interesting and funny dialogue, mostly the protagonist’s. For some reason Magus speaks as though as he lives in modern time, even though this game takes place in a fantasy world set in the past. Sentences such as “Damn, son how many unicorns did you have to eat to get that big?”, while funny, is out of place.
The young God does not have a voice over, instead the player chooses what he says by selecting the options on screen. Usually, they have a choice of two different reactions, though there were plenty occasions where there was only one choice. Ultimately it is a rather useless feature as it doesn’t effect the overall plot much. The story does feature two endings but the choices that results in them are given at the end, so how you act earlier on doesn’t matter. The two endings are very similar as well, and it really isn’t a big deal if you don’t experience the second as they don’t leave much of an impression or impact.
It makes no difference how you respond, the outcome is the same.
Gameplay centers around casting magic to defeat your enemies. Magus utilizes three different types of magic in the game: blue, red and green. Holding down the R1 button will allow him to quickly fire a basic magic spell. While L1 fires off a strong one, which is more powerful but takes a little longer to use. Neither basic nor strong spells, uses up any mana (energy) and they differ depending on the color, effectively adding more variety to your attacks. Some enemies are invulnerable to certain types of magic, so the player will be required to switch it up from time to time.
There are quite a few skills to unlock for each magic type; they can allow Magus to run faster, levitate high above his enemies or deal massive damage to multiple enemies at once. They require mana for use and take some time to recharge before you can use them again. Absorbing magic from gems is the only way to replenish your mana. Up to three skills can be equipped at a time, and assigned to the triangle, square and circle buttons. In order to unlock these skills, players must level up by defeating their foes and earning XP (experience points). Every time they reach a new level, they earn skill points used to either unlock or upgrade. Each one requires Magus to reach a certain level in order for them to be available but certain skills have two requirements, such as defeating a specific Boss or beating particular level before that can happen. What skills you unlock is up to you, you can devote yourself to one type of magic mostly or try to add a lot of variety to your arsenal by unlock skills from all types. Just don’t expect to have every skill by the end of the game; the highest level Magus can reach is 50 but the game does not distribute enough skill points to unlock every single one.
A look at Magus’ Skill tree.
Players also earn attribute points to increase Magus’ stats such as health, attack power and durability. They can also equip the young God with items such as armor, amulets and runes to also increase his stats. Defeated enemies will drop them and they can also be found hidden in chests throughout. It won’t take long before Magus is pretty powerful. Overall the game features a pretty good progression system.
Sadly, while there is fun to had with Magus’ combat; thanks to some pretty cool attacks, fast paced gameplay and the game throwing a lot of enemies on screen for you to plow through, the lack of a decent challenge hurts the experience. Enemies are basically cannon fodder and do not require much strategy to put them down. They just run straight towards you, ready to attack, occasionally strafing (more like ice skating thanks to weird animations) to dodge your attacks. Thing is all you have to do is to hold down R, to continuously fire your spells at them, while strafing and you’re golden. They will die before even reaching you.
Kinna, your companion is pretty much a magnet for a majority of the enemies that show up on screen. They will rush over to her and try to take her out, leaving themselves open to your attacks. Never have I played a game where most of my foes disregarded my presence for the sake of my AI companion. Even the game’s Boss battles are a walk in the park. Realizing just much of a cakewalk this game was turning out to be, I switched to the hard difficulty, only to find it to be just as easy. I died once, during the final battle due to be distracted by something not pertaining to the game but other than that I had no trouble.
I can understand wanting to make the player feel as though they’re a God, and really powerful. I get it, there are a plethora of action games out there that make the player a one person army, but even those games offer a challenge especially on the harder difficulties. There is no sense of accomplishment after finishing a level, no reason to fist bump the air once you’ve vanquished a Boss. It makes the progression system seem useless in the end. It is fun to mix together different skills to take down the enemy but the desire to even bother unlocking more, dissipates once you realize that you can get by only with your basic attacks and little strategy.
Graphically, Magus is a good looking title thanks to the Unreal 3 Engine. The frame rate didn’t drop once despite all the action on screen. Environments offer a good amount of detail and the character models are pretty decent. The visual effects of the magic attacks however are… um…
…yeah, that’s impressive!
The voice acting was pretty solid, with Kinna being the real standout. Sound design was decent, with effects capturing the feel of being in fantasy world; from the magic spells being casted to the incantations Magus yells whenever casting them. Nothing really stood out bout the musical score and it ultimately gets lost in the background amongst everything else.
Replay Value: Low – Once you finished Magus there really is no reason to go back, unless you care for getting trophies. Then you can reload your save, and replay any previous level you want. It is an easy yet somewhat time consuming platinum. If you don’t care for that, then this is a one and done type of experience.
While, Magus provides moments of fun thanks to fast paced combat and some pretty cool magic spells. It lacks any kind of challenge, features a passable story and a progression system that’s close to useless. Sure it looks good, and offers a few laughs but this is a mostly forgettable experience. If you don’t mind dropping $30 on an easy action/adventure game, that can be beaten in less than 10 hours with little to no reason to replay it, then by all means get Magus. If not, give it a pass. There are much better games of this genre out there.
Overall Score: 6 / 10
RGN Rating: Below Bronze
Developers: Black Tower / Aksys Games
Publisher: Aksys Games
Available On: Sony PlayStation 3
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jermain Jackson on 20140228 and was last modified on 20140228 .