First-person games tend to be stereotyped as a hodge podge of guns and military nonsense that get pubescent boys nursing semis while they play. But there have been quite a few true first-person action games (“walking simulators” not included) that go away from the gun-shooting cliché and into something else, kind of like what Bioshock did with the Plasmids. Here’s a game that pushes that to new boundaries, through the often-used element of magic.
Lichdom Battlemage is a first-person action game from Xaviant Games that puts you in the shoes of a powerful mage, letting you throw powerful spells around to cause destruction and mayhem. It’s made with CryEngine 3, which gives it great potential in the technical and presentation department. But what this game does best is make magic in games fun again in a way by giving you a good deal of freedom with it instead of just dealing with cooldowns and mana shortages.
Basically, it’s like a more elaborate version of the spellcasting in Skyrim. But instead of just having different spells that you can gain from finding tomes around the in-game world, you get them more like skills that you can upgrade and customize as you play through the game. You can choose between a male or female character, then you are thrown into the middle of the madness and you are given a bit of a tutorial to get started.
After the introductions, you get a basic fire spell and you get used to casting it in combat with the left mouse button. Later on, you gain more spells with different dynamics, like a targeted area of effect or a laid trap of sorts, which also have their own controls like clicking left and right mouse buttons at the same time to aim where to put it on the ground. There are plenty of possibilities with different variations and combinations of these spells of different elements to take on various enemies in whatever terrain you may be in, and that’s what makes combat more fun here.
The system that lets you make your own spells is quite extensive. There is crafting and synthesis; the former lets you create a spell out of your current items, while the latter lets you upgrade an item by combining it with two other items. These items are basically runes that have their own element and properties that can be combined with others to create a spell. You can basically mix and match to come up with your own weapon to suit your needs and playing style.
When you die in this game, it’s not the end of the line at all since you respawn in the last checkppint with items picked up prior to death all in your inventory. However, the rarity of item drops from slain enemies can go up as you survive longer, so there’s incentive for staying alive. It can be a daunting task though with enemies in just about every corner, even those attacking you from very far away like snipers. That’s where making your own spells come in, letting you address those issues so that you can actually survive.
As a CryEngine game, it looks nice enough with the environments, textures, and effects that light up when you start going nuts with your spells. It doesn’t look like it makes the very most of what the game engine can really do, but it’s not too shabby at all. There may be some issues with the multisample anti-aliasing if you’re using an AMD video card instead of an NVidia one. Other than that, it should run alright in most current systems that are resonably equipped.
If you’re a fan of FPS who is looking for something different and fun in the genre, then this game could actually be a good experience for you. It’s not to say that this game doing anything too different for its own good, but it does try to stand out on its own way and does it fairly well, which is why it’s worth a try.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8/10