Paradox Interactive has a number of new titles due to be released over the course of the next 18 months. We find ourselves overwhelmed by games by one of the best strategic publishers going. We have: Magicka, a fantasy RPG revolving around wizards and spells; Sword of the Stars II, the sequel to the tactical science-fiction title Sword of the Stars and finally Crusader Kings II, a sequel recently announced set between the 11th Century and the 15th Century.
At first glance this magical, strategic RPG from Arrowhead Game Studios automatically brings to mind Torchlight or Diablo, which is certainly no bad thing. However, Magicka is in a world of its own, quite literally.
It is based on Norse mythology - the mythology of Scandinavia until the institution of Christianity - and is set in a world of fantasy, magic, and of course, darkness. As always with every fantasy story it starts off with a world that's all fine and dandy. However, along comes a big baddie and everything is turned upside-down and may, ultimately, be destroyed. The baddie in this case is an evil sorcerer and you, a wizard from a sacred order set out with your own devices to save your world from certain doom.
You only have your sword, staff, ‘magickal' elements and your wits about you. Thankfully, you can use eight different elements to cast spells to aid you in your quest and/or defeat your enemies. The elements are: Water, Life, Shield, Ice, Lightning, Arcane, Earth, and Fire. You can also use the elements to combine them together and create a more powerful spell. For example if you want to heal someone you can press the heal key up to five times and you can heal your teammate with a more powerful spell. Or you combine them to make a more dominant spell - e.g. you could use fire and earth to create a fireball. By using your imagination you can come up with masses of combinations using two or more elements. The downside is that some combinations can cancel each other out as they would not work together well as a combination. A prime example would be water and fire because if they were used together then water would extinguish the fire.
Magic and elements can not only be used to kill creatures but you can use them for your own benefit. You may want to use the lightning to illuminate your path if it is dark, or if you are fighting enemies that are fast you may want to use ice to slow them down. It is all about using your abilities to your advantage. In this sense it makes the game hard, as you need to be quick with some of your decisions. As this is a game based around your magical elements, the sword you have isn't really useful as a main weapon it can't be upgraded or replaced.
Magicka can be played with up to four players in a co-op game mode. To be quite honest this game looks quite enjoyable and something you can just pick up with a few friends and have a good time playing, as it is quite easy to grasp the game. Keep a look out for it in the first quarter of 2011.
Sword of the Stars II
This strategic science-fiction game will continue the previous title's easy-to-learn-hard-to-master philosophy. The sequel will continue from the original game and the storyline will be complex, exposing the secrets behind the sinister forces of the Suul'ka. They will be using a new graphics engine showing off all the planetary orbits in the different solar systems, including moons, asteroid belts and different space terrain.
You can lead one of the six playable factions from the original game including the Liir or the Zuul. Each species has their own ship types, with each having advantages and disadvantages. For example while one ship may be very slow once it arrives at its destination it can create a teleportation gate allowing the rest of the fleet to come through with ease.
There are default vessels which you can choose to fight with and you can design your own vessels. You make your ships in three parts: front, middle and rear and you have upgrade slots in them so you can upgrade certain parts. Therefore you can add weapons and sensors to the slots. If you wish, you can add more weapons to make your ship more bulky forcing you to sacrifice being able to see enemies around you.
Sword of the Stars II will have an eight player multiplayer. It is currently in development by Kerberos Productions, and the release date will be sometime in 2011.
Crusader Kings II
Crusader Kings II, the new title just recently announced at Gamescom by Paradox Interactive will be the sequel to the strategic historical original, Crusader Kings. It will be set in a time when Europe was in turbulence - starting from 1066 and ending four hundred years into European history.
You will have allies to assist you to build up your empire and keep it together during the most significant events in European history, but as with every king, you will have enemies. This obviously makes this game realistic with ways of getting rid of enemies and making allies by granting their ambitions.
As it has literally just been announced there is currently not much information other than it will be released in the first quarter of 2012. Check up on our site for further details on the game at a later stage in its development.