Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Magus (PS3) Review
Magus is a recent addition to the PS3 library and is the story of Magus, a prisoner who meets a mysterious woman and is then awakened as a god. Using his new powers, he escapes the dungeon and seeks to dethrone the man who put him there. The story, while not the best, is well done. It isn't confusing, too weird or hard to follow, though it is a bit predictable. The voice acting is good too, with several of the characters being portrayed by voices I recognize.
However, the first thing you will notice about the game is the graphics. They just aren't very good. Character and armor textures don't seem up to the level of most PS3 offerings. It is nice that armor and helmet changes will show up on your character, but there aren't that many different models. The stage locales are done pretty well though. The scenery looks nice, if some of the detail is a bit sparse. I also like the spell effects in the game. The fire in particular I think looks good.
The game is a third-person action RPG shooter. It's a strange hybrid, but works pretty well. As a mage, you have a weak magic attack (R1) that you can shoot for no mana cost. There is also a stronger blast (L1), which stilll takes no mana, but has a cast time and cooldown period. Up to three spells can be set at a time to the Triangle, Square and Circle buttons. These take mana and have a cooldown. There are three different skill trees to invest points gained from level ups. There are power-up skills, targeted spells, area of effects and even summons. Each color also has a different weak and strong magic attack- green is rapid, blue is burst and red is spread- which gives more variety that it would first appear. There's several spells to play around with, and combat was at least enjoyable. I liked the combo spells, where you would use the strong magic, and shoot its effect with the weak to get a third effect. They were hard to use, but fun.
Enemies have a good array of appearances, from skeletons to unicorns (not how you would think) to giants and more. While the variety of enemy skins is good, there aren't really many attacks they do. Enemies are mostly melee based or shoot arrows at you, regardless of the way they look. There is only one enemy in the game that can use offensive magic. Most encounters pose little challenge, even boss fights. You can easily shoot enemies while they are away from you, then run when they close in. Since this works on every fight, boss fights don't really stick out as special other than the enemy looks unique or you talk beforehand.
There are several ways to make your character stronger. Upon leveling up, you gain a few points that you can distribute to stats like health and mp, which is pretty standard fare. You also gain a point to put into one of the many spells available. You also have a few different pieces or armor, including on the head, chest, arms and a belt. Many pieces of armor have slots that you can put gems into to increase the stat bonuses. There are also several runes you can equip, but only after you meet a character that can identify them for you. The best way, however, is the character that can turn your excess equipment into scrolls that permanently increase your stats. It takes half the value of the pieces, but you can put as many as you want to together to get the maximum benefit. There is no limit to how many times you can do this. Soon you will have a massively powerful god that can smash through the rest of the game with ease. The UI for equipping items isn't the easiest to read (especially the values for Blue mana), and it can be hard to tell if something is stronger. Also, there are a few times where what was displayed on the screen stretched beyond the viewable area, and there are no options to change that.
There are seven stages total in the game. After the first two, you can do the next four in any order, which is nice. The last one opens up when those four are completed. The overall game length is about 8 or so hours, and a few more if you want the rest of the trophies. The game isn't very hard, either, as the only time I died was when I didn't quite levitate far enough over a pit of spikes. Plus, the enemies level with you, so you are always getting relevant experience and the order of stages doesn't matter much.
The platinum trophy in Magus is easy. You will get most trophies just by making your way through the game normally. There are ones for stage completion and several for killing 100 of each enemy type. A few of those require replaying a stage, which can be done any point after the first two stages. Even though you cannot go back to those two, everything you need is in the rest of the game, and no trophies are missable (thankfully). Since enemies level with you, it's not hard to get the trophies for maxing each spell tree. The longest one is picking up 500 items, and that's what will add a few hours onto the game time if you seek it.
While not that pretty to look at, Magus does offer some fun. In particular, it was fun to make your character stronger, since there were several ways and it was easy to do. The game is not difficult at all, but does give you the sense that you are playing with the strength of a god while blasting down groups of enemies. The game is short, since it can be completed in about 8 hours. The story wasn't bad, either. Hopefully, the turning spare equipment into stat upgrades mechanic can go to more games. It's very useful! All in all, it was a unique experience and I had some fun playing it.
Bonus tip: I suggest doing the mines first when given a choice. Completing it will give you access to turning your spare equipment into permanent stat upgrades for your character.