Magicka: Vietnam: It’s a little bit magic and a little bit Creedance Clearwater Revival. Kinda.
When Magicka: Vietnam was first announced, I thought to myself – is this a joke? The add-on for Magicka is an obvious reference to the downloadable add-on for Battlefield Bad Company 2, complete with digital box art mimicking that of the popular first-person shooter.
Magicka: Vietnam was released this past Tuesday, April 12th through Steam (and other online gaming services), and I couldn’t help but ask myself the same question: is this a joke?
The answer to this question is a resounding… maybe.
While part of me enjoyed playing the Vietnam-themed add-on, another part of me was slightly offended, I mean the Vietnam War was a pretty dark time in American history. Obviously, poking fun, even when done in a tongue-in-cheek way, was still a little unsettling.
Before we begin, I should address the absolutely hellish time I had locating the Magicka: Vietnam content once it was downloaded through Steam. I had assumed (incorrectly) that it would be part of the standard adventure mode. After opening up a friendly Google search and visiting the links to similarily-confused gamers, I was able to determine that the Vietnam content was part of Magicka’s challenge mode content.
Maybe this was an oversight on my behalf, a RTFM (Read the F@#$ing Manual) issue, but when a game is downloadable in nature, I think you’re even less likely to try and dig up a digital version of the manual before jumping into the game. The developers really should add a link to the content from the game’s splash page.
Gameplay-wise, Magicka: Vietnam plays a lot like the regular Magicka game. You still assume the role of a wizard (but you can choose an American-soldier themed wardrobe when starting the add-on), and you’re still taking on the usual monstrous enemies like goblins, trolls, etc.
The biggest difference is that instead of a sword or staff, you carry around automatic weaponry, like the AK-47, and the environments have a modern look to them (modern in a 1960s Vietnam sort of way), with exploding barrels, automobiles (they’re set pieces not actual vehicles that can be driven around), and other Vietnam-war iconography.
While you won’t hear any Creedence Clearwater Revival, you will get some late-60s style southern rock instrumentals in the background, reminiscent of any popular Vietnam war movie.
With Magicka: Vietnam you get two challenges, a survival mode and a rescue mode. The survival mode plays just like the standard arena challenge, only you’re being swarmed by gun-toting enemies in the jungles of Vietnam. The rescue mission plays out more like the actual adventure mode with more of a sense of direction and story.
For only $4.99 USD, you can expand the Magicka world with all of the cheekiness of the Vietnam expansion. Considering Magicka can be purchased for about $10, I think this is a fantastic deal!
Magicka: Vietnam plays very much like the regular game, but has a couple of new spells (like napalm) and characters, both good and bad, carry guns.
People who find no humor in war, especially the Vietnam war, will likely not appreciate the stab at humor that the developers attempted with this expansion. While I enjoyed the “modernization” of the settings and weaponry, I did feel slightly offended playing Magicka: Vietnam.
I personally had a hard time finding the downloadable content – you’ll find it in Magicka’s challenge mode and NOT in the adventure mode.
If you liked Magicka, and think you can take the joke, you’ll likely enjoy the expansion. However, if the complex control scheme turned you off, or the thought of mocking the Vietnam was is something you’d find offensive, it’s probably best to stay away.