previewed on PC
Battling an evil immortal
Set in a medieval world, Blood Magic centres on Modo, an immortal who has been stripped of his powers as punishment for his actions in the afterlife. Having been sent to live on Earth and wishing for vengeance, he is determined to gain enough strength to destroy the whole world. The player has a choice; whether to aid in Modoís evil plans for world domination or hinder them, eventually defeating him and his diabolical schemes.
Heavy on magic, light on weapons
The player can choose between four different characters; a bakerís wife, a fat friar, an awkward scholar, or a weird gypsy. Unusually, there is only one type of character profession/class: mage. The game is heavily magic based, with a dozen different schools of magic, each with eight spells. These can be combined in a number of ways, creating unique spells with doubled effects Ė for instance, a combination of a poison spell and a stun spell, resulting in an enemy who is both temporarily incapacitated and poisoned. Or two spells of the same element Ė for instance, two ice spells Ė can be combined in order to increase their strength.
Although weapons play a smaller part in this game than in many others, they are not neglected entirely. It seems that players will be able to combine different kinds of weapons and armours with different kinds of items, to create equipment with new and varied effects. Only time will tell how effective this system is.
Blood Magic uses a real time combat system, with battles taking place on the field. The number of enemies seems astonishing at times, and unfortunately, I suspect that that may get a little tiresome. Every RPG player knows how irritating random battles can be at times. That said, it seems that the game will allow characters to warp between cities and other locations by using the world map, so perhaps this wonít be a problem.
Your choice of magic changing the way you look
As your character grows and levels up, it seems that their appearance will subtly change, according to the disciplines they follow, and different kinds of magic they choose to specialize in. For instance, a character who specializes in nature magic may grow branches or horns from their head. Mixing two disciplines will result in a character gaining a mixture of traits the next time they level up.
Single and multiplayer
Both single and multiplayer modes are available. In multiplayer mode, players can pit their characters against each other in one-on-one duels, or they can duel a number of others in large arenas, in a melee combat experience. In other words, the multiplayer experience can be either cooperative or competitive.
The single player storyline will also expand to allow multiplayer campaigns. This multiplayer mode, and even the spell combination system leads me to compare the game to Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, although the far greater control over your characters development will probably make Blood Magic far more engaging and in-depth than FF:CC.
Because of the myriad of ways in which your characters can train and the different kinds of magic they can learn, multiplayer mode means that your team can quickly grow to complement each others strengths and weaknesses - with a little communication between players, of course.
Blood Magic is fully 3D, with a number of lushly rendered environments, from forests, to snow, to grasslands, and probably many others, including an underwater level. Since battles take place on the field, itís possible that these differing environments can be used tactically, for instance by using part of the landscape to prevent an enemy attacking a character while the player prepares a spell. An issue which may make the battles strategic is the sheer number of enemies. Itís very probable that each will have their own elemental strengths and weaknesses, giving battles a tactical edge.
The graphics on the game arenít truly amazing at the moment, being of around the same level as many other games released recently on the PC or for next generation consoles. That said, they certainly donít suffer in comparison, and can hold their own with any other recent releases or upcoming games.
The release date for the game has been put back a number of times, and itís to be hoped that Sky Fallen used the time to improve the game as much as possible. So far, it looks promising.