Magus is a game that doesn't need to exist, probably shouldn't, but does. If you watch the teaser trailer, you can tell this game takes itself seriously. Very seriously. Between the music which gives the feel of grandeur to the inclusion of slow motion on a character model that should probably never, ever be given a slow motion view due to its really poor graphical quality (unless we're time traveling back to 1996, then it's pretty cool), you can tell the gamemakers were very intent and tried their best to make a game people would love in a game world that we were to have found awe.
Well, Aksys (learn how to spell, guys) did part of what they set out to do. This game provides awe. You will be in awe that not only was this game made, it got a digital AND hard copy release. Sit and think about the fact that The Last Guardian will probably never see the light of day. Then get your physical copy of Magus and cry into the pages of its manual.
Writing this review after playing the game and then doing a quick YouTube search for some additional nuggets of info brought me to the video below. If you have already played this game, do yourself the favor of watching that interview, conducted by PlayStation.com. Here's a little nugget about the game, straight from the developer's (Richie Casper) mouth.
"We kind of based it, in a lot of ways, what we'd think the real world being. So, for example, if somebody else in 2013, Tokyo, Japan, all the sudden had magical abilities. You know, people would be like' Holy Crap! Who is this guy?" and you kind of think 'Okay, these guys, do they have God-like powers..."
I'm stopping there with the quote, because I have played Magus. That quote is not close to describing anything Magus. Not. One. Bit. Again, if you have played this game, watch that video and realize he is indeed talking about Magus. Let that sink in and try not to blow your brains out knowing you live in a world where someone said any of the words that man says, about Magus. When he compares this to Marvel movies, just take a deep breath and remind yourself life is worth living.
As soon as the game starts, you know you're in for a treat. The graphics truly do appear PlayStation 1 in quality. Maybe early PS2 quality if we're looking to be generous. One of the first things you will get to is pick some dialog. I won't lie... I skipped through 90% of the dialog after I got to see some of these little gems of options like "For now, why don't I used these godly powers to get us out of this shithole?" to "So, I'm a God, huh? So what exactly am I the God of? Debauchery? Wanton Slaughter?" Magus' dialog options (which are, unfortunately, text only) seem more like part of a slapstick comedy on the fantasy world. That's a problem, because this game isn't a comedy. At least it wasn't intended to be.
Voice acting from the other characters is of the so-bad-it's-good variety but after subjecting yourself to the "gameplay" here, you are going to want to skip all text and story options to just get this damn thing over with.
This game can be beaten, literally (and I hate the overuse of that word) by holding the R1 button and running through the levels. That's it. You shoot some magical fireballs out of your hand and kill the most uncreative enemies we've seen in gaming in decades. There are Atari games with more personality than this.
I do admit, there is an attempt at RPG character elements in the way of swab-able armor, unlockable skills, etc., but when you can beat the game without ever looking at these options, because all you need is your little fireball-like thing, there's no point in ever using any of the character building you are given option over, no matter how shallow or deep they could be.
On top of being uncreative and looking like a PS1 game while also having your TV screen covered in Vaseline, it is glitchy. Sometimes the glitches are funny, like when a bad guy will stand 10 feet from you and just stare at you. Even though 25 of his friends tried real hard to take you down, he's just kind of bored so he can't be bothered. He'll just keep his spot for now.
Only he can't, you have to kill him to unlock the visible (sometimes invisible) walls to get to the next part of the level. This is where the annoying glitches come in. You might be standing at a door wondering why in the hell it won't open for 10 minutes. Well, you probably missed an enemy that needs to be killed at the beginning of the map. By miss, I mean said enemy is probably stuck in a rock or wall.
There are 2 reasons to play this game. You want a quick platinum or you're looking for something to laugh at for a while. I can't even recommend this game on a "so-bad-it's good” basis because it's too long. At 4 to 5 hours, you just wish it was over halfway through. If you need to play something just as bad, but shorter, play Unearthed.
This is a game that was made with the utmost sincerity and with an aim to make something great. Aksys failed. They failed so badly that I'd be surprised if anyone put money behind them again for another game. Yes, this is so bad; it should put them out of business. I am sure there are high schoolers who have put together more interesting games in their introductory computer programming classes. There is no doubt Magus the game has some God-like qualities. It’s God awful.
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