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Backlog Review: Magus

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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.

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Our Verdict
Backlog Review: Magus
Some interesting spells.
Everything else. Boring story, boring characters, boring, music, boring combat, and boring level design.
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Cameron Ward
Hello Gamnesia! My name is Cameron Ward, but you can call me camseyeview. I have been gaming since the mid 90’s and I still enthusiastically play video games today! I have been writing reviews for about 5 years now and have recently made a website called camseyeview.biz for my reviews and other special feature articles on gaming. I love many varieties of game genres, but I am mostly a Nintendo and Sony fan. However, I do enjoy Microsoft games also. Got a question to ask me? Have a video game to recommend for a game review? An upcoming game or game developer you want me to do a Thoughts On um, on? Ask away!

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