Product Update - Valve
Changelist for version
• Added new DLC; Other Side of the Coin (including 1 new story challenge, 1 arena challenge, 6 new achievements and much more)
• Added new DLC; World's End Challenge
• Added new DLC; Mirror Crystal Cavern Hideout Challenge
• Added new DLC; Volcano Hideout Challenge
• Challenge/Versus mode now properly updates level list when switching between online and local games.
• Updated localization for certain languages and achievements.
• Added a bleed resistance to some NPC’s and bosses.
• Fixed the art size of the Outsmouth challenge in the Online lobby.
• Fixed an issue where the game would crash when hosting certain levels using Italian.

Product Release - Valve
The Other Side of the Coin, a new expansion for Magicka, is now available on Steam!

This expansion allows players to experience a completely new take on the Magicka universe. Take on the role of Alucart the Vampire and his Necromancers to fight against the forces of good. Your mission: to thwart Vlad’s attempt to unite the humans, the dwarves and the elves.
Like the highly popular Magicka: Vietnam, The Other Side of the Coin features objective based level progression, a new story and brand new playable characters. Along with the main quest, four new challenge levels are included as well as a new playable PVP character, the Necromancer.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Adam Smith)

Friendship is tragic

More Magicka arrives tomorrow and it’s of the vampiric, necromantic variety. “Being bad feels good” it proclaims in the launch trailer below, to which I must reply that I probably killed more people while trying to be a hero in Magicka than I’ll ever kill by actually putting on an evil hat and setting out to cause harm. I think I’ve sucked all the fun out of Magicka’s jugular already and very tasty it was, but there’s nothing weirdly attractive about this DLC, no Lovecraft or ‘Nam, so it’s probably the first one I’ll pass on. I did enjoy the frolicking pinata ponies though. They were very well done.


Announcement - Valve
The Paradox Publisher Weekend continues today with 50% off the Paradox Catalog! Additionally, each day will bring a new Daily Deal with even deeper discounts.

Today only, save 75% off the Magicka Franchise!

Be sure to check back each day, now through Sunday, for more great deals!

PC Gamer
Magicka The Other Side of the Coin
Magicka's hypreractive wizards caused too much collateral damage to accurately fit the "good guys" label, but most of the time their menacing array of lasers and magic mines were pointing at evildoers. In Magicka's new expansion, The Other Side of the Coin, you'll have license to cause as much havoc as you want. You play either as the vampire Alucart, or one of his necromancer entourage on a mission to blow up the elves in their homeland.

The Other Side of the Coin will land in just a couple of weeks on June 14 and will cost $4.99. It'll add a story challenge, four challenge maps and let you play as a necromancer in Magicka's hilarious player vs. player mode. Grab the full feature list below.


Play as Alucart the Vampire and his henchmen, the Necromancers
One exciting new story challenge set among beautiful new elven architecture
4 new challenge maps playing as necromancers: World's End, Volcano Hideout, OSOTC Arena and the Mirror Crystal Cavern Hideout.
Necromancer introduced to PvP
New achivements
Innovative and dynamic spellcasting system with thousands of possible combinations
Up to four player co-op in all game modes as well as single player option
Experience the parody and satire of a cliché fantasy world


I've Never Seen a Magic System in a Video Game Without Glaring FlawsIn today's magically delicious episode of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Chris P. Bacon claims that while not one video game has portrayed magic perfectly, several have come close. He should know. He is a wizard.

I've always been a fan of magic users in games. A magician who always has a bag of tricks for any situation and an ace in the sleeve should all else fail. A sorcerer who can reshape reality with unthinkable powers. But, to this date, I've never seen a magic system in a videogame without a few glaring flaws.

Why is it that a warrior or rogue can jog an unlimited distance then swing a weapon for minutes on end while never breaking a sweat or slowing down even slightly, yet wizards often find themselves out of magic and just standing there with little to do. Muscles never tire, and yet magic energy from some unknown impossible source often does.

Now, of course magic needs its limitations, otherwise there would be no reason not to blast the strongest spell all day over and over again. A cooldown system is a fine enough choice, yet it becomes very robotic, going through a consistent rotation of the same spells thoughtlessly just about everywhere.

Then, there's the D&D style, as used in, for example, Baldur's Gate 2 wherein you think of what spells you'll want tomorrow within limited slots then fall asleep until you can use them 8 hours later. It's rather clunky, yet it does cause you to go through everything in your spellbook according to the direness of the situation. It does seem rather silly that a whole party has to wait 8 hours for the wizard to take a nap before he casts one little remove curse spell. Or resurrecting a dead friend first thing in the morning before you brush your teeth.

I should add here that I do love the game Magicka. Big spells took a little time to type in as quickly as you could, practice and premeditation definitely helped, walking was slow when ready to cast so you can't instantly disintegrate enemies on sight, you never just run out of steam and stand there like a dope, and there was all sorts of interesting combinations to try, always a perfect tool for the job. The only drawback is that this system required a very particular control scheme, one that not every game will necessarily facilitate. Also, no one I know owned the game so I just played it single player about a dozen times over and over.

Another honorable mention should go to Two Worlds 2, getting the spell cards and elemental levels was a pain and it was still a mana bar system but it did allow creativity, fun experimenting, and a certain uniqueness between every mage who didn't go with a cookie cutter I-read-it-off-the-internet model.

I thought of a method that may be interesting to try which combines the D&D model and the basic mana bar. You can preselect a limited number of spells which cast instantly but at variable mana costs. But you can also cast from your entire spellbook at variable casting times which leaves you open and mostly stationary. This way you can choose between a quick burst of instant offensive magic or a collection of defensive spells to be used quickly, but non-clutch needs such as long-term damage per second and basic over-time healing can be cast without eventually getting tired and watching someone swing a 6 foot long greatsword for the rest of the fight without as much as needing to sit down in a chair to catch his breath.

What are some other games systems or your thoughts on how magic should best be handled?

About Speak Up on Kotaku: Our readers have a lot to say, and sometimes what they have to say has nothing to do with the stories we run. That's why we have a forum on Kotaku called Speak Up. That's the place to post anecdotes, photos, game tips and hints, and anything you want to share with Kotaku at large. Every weekday we'll pull one of the best Speak Up posts we can find and highlight it here.
Product Update - Valve
- New robe available, Reddit Robe

PC Gamer
Dungeonland thumbnail
Paradox seems to be cornering the cutesy fantasy market; first Magicka, then A Game of Dwarves, now Dungeonland. Dungeonland's premise is simple; an evil lord, tired of heroes rampaging through his dungeon, takes a loan from the Evil Overlord Foundation and creates a kingdom especially for heroes to destroy, chockful of powerful monsters and magic tat.

Developed by Brazil-based Critical Studio, Dungeon Land is half Left4Dead, half Diablo, half Overlord and totally not about maths. A team of three intrepid adventurers (that's you!) take the archetypes of rogue, wizard and warrior and fight their way through an long open level, battling varieties of minions. Each character has access to a limited variety of weapons, which change their abilities and function. For example, the warrior's sword and shield allows him to block attacks and knock back enemies, but can be swapped for a two-handed hammer.

The level we attempted was about an hour long and was a soft parody of Dungeons & Dragons and Disneyland, complete with endless gift shops and costumed characters to battle. Combat is simple, and works best with gamepads; we ran around frantically bashing enemies, looting crap, and fending off the massed hordes.

Each player had three potions, which enabled a super-attack, and a limited number of friend-resurrections before permadeath kicked in. The feel was very close to Torchlight, with enemies dying very quickly, and abilities more being used for crowd control and survival in a giant melee.

Intriguingly, the Dungeon Lord himself can be either a fourth player or controlled by the AI. With the AI, he behaves like Left4Dead's director, spawning enemies, treasure and minibosses at critical moments. It's not clear how the fourth player will handle it, but we do know they'll have direct control of any bosses.

Like the Elder Dragon (an old dragon wearing a hat and glasses) and Mind Flayer (a giant illithid, D&D fans) we encountered, bosses are huge and normally surrounded by minions. Like all bosses after World of Warcraft, they're big, cartoony and signal their attacks waaay in advance.

There are just three levels planned at the moment, giving the game about three hours linear playtime; it remains to be seen if the Dungeon Master AI will give it greater replay value. Dungeonland is due for release in 2012. You can watch the most recent Dungonland trailer here.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Adam Smith)

Run for higher ground, for the deluge has begun. As you may be aware, the GDC is in full swing now, which means announcements of a ludic nature are flooding my inbox and I only need to adjust the intricate series of valves that is my protective system ever so slightly to let them slip through, one at a time. Or maybe three at a time, as Paradox have announced a trio of games.

The first two are Dungeonland, in which three players control heroes in a twisted theme park while a fourth plays the Dungeon Master attempting to kill them, and RED Frontier, a multiplayer RTS. Let’s start with the new game from Arrowhead, creators of friend-murdering simulation Magicka. Going by the name The Showdown Effect It’s a side-on multiplayer action game. Here’s how it looks.



PC specialists Paradox unveiled three new games at GDC yesterday. One is The Showdown Effect, which if you can make it past the intro in the trailer above unfurls into something that looks like Worms and Quake III had a tiny, split-screen baby.

The basic premise is recreating action movie insanity. Up to eight players will have everything from guns to bigger guns to swords to lightsabers at their disposal.

If the focus on multiplayer mayhem on a PC sounds familiar, it's being developed by Arrowhead, the guys behind 2011's Magicka. The Showdown Effect will be out on PC and Mac in Q3 this year.