Magicka 2's Artifacts can make the game easy, or crazy hard

Lighting hoards of enemies on fire may be cool and all, but why stop there when you can blow them away with a pin-point fire laser, or cook them with steam, or freezing them before hitting them with a laser and roasting them to death? Magicka asked that question with its original PC release in 2011, and Magicka 2 (set for release on PS4 and PC in Spring 2015, without crossplay) is asking it all over again. And it wants you to bring your friends.

As with the first Magicka game, Magicka 2 is all about taking eight different magic spells (fire, water, arcane, shield, etc), and combining them into ultra-powerful super spells. Finding the best possible combinations and being able to use them on the fly is critical, since nothing else is going to take down the insane hoards this game throws your way. For instance, you'll be overrun by a rampaging onslaught of mutant crabs that endlessly respawn until you solve a puzzle in the corner of the room. Don't expect to get past that if you don't have a thorough understanding of your magical abilities, and the help of other intrepid wizards who are just as skilled.

While Magicka 2 keeps to the spirit of the original in regard to format, its big focus is on player accessibility and game customization. "It's a little more steamlined," says Paradox studio manager Mattias Wiking. "We want to make it a little easier for new players to get into the game." One way this is being accomplished is with Artifacts, items you can collect that allow you to customize different aspects of the game, like how tough enemies are, how quickly you revive, and how violently the targets of your magical wrath perish (bloodsplosions may be involved). While this can be used to lower overall difficulty, it can also make the experience even harder if you make all the right adjustments. I don't know why you'd want to fight more giant crustaceans at once, but whatever floats your boat... or ups your mana.