A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lichdom: Battlemage is an adventure game that's violent and bloody. While the player uses magic attacks opposed to realistic weapons, strikes with fireballs and lightning blasts kill human and demonic enemies. Apart from the graphic gameplay, some cut scenes also show murder and blood. Parents should also be aware the game contains strong profanity, with regular use of "s--t" and "f--k." While the game is easy to learn, the difficulty level and length between checkpoints can lead to some frustration for players.
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What's it about?
LICHDOM: BATTLEMAGE takes a different spin on the concept of a first-person shooters. Calling the game a "first-person caster," players use magic as their weapon while battling enemies around the kingdom of Lichdom. Gamers take on the role of a Mage named Dragon and unravel a story of revenge against a demonic cult -- with a backstory that unfolds differently based on whether you play as a male or female. Plus you're accompanied by a companion, Griffon, who aids in your epic journey. At the heart of combat are Sigil Powers, based on eight core elements that let you craft thousands of spell combinations. Near the beginning of the game you'll gain an understanding of your core abilities, such as shooting fireball projectiles and shielding from enemy attacks, but you will learn how to craft unique spells and modify them for battle scenarios.
Is it any good?
This bloody and violent adventure is a surprisingly fun and different kind of experience for mature action fans. You may not have heard of Lichdom: Battlemage, but it's a unique and gratifying experience, especially if you're used to first-person shooters. Once you get the hang of it, it's a blast to run around this magical world while mastering all the different crafts and spells. Many of the demonic enemies are smart, so you'll need to master the art of defense. Even better, the bosses aren't simply level fodder; they serve as an additional challenge to your spell-slinging skills. The level design can be hit or miss, but the ones that are well-crafted levels (pardon the pun) are memorable and very replayable; strafing between columns while exchanging fireballs with skeleton warriors is also inherently exciting -- especially with the lights off and speakers cranked. But be forewarned: The difficulty ramps up after an hour or two, making the game quite challenging; there's only one difficulty level in the game (more than one would have been ideal), with some save points that are too far and few in between, which is frustrating at times. At least the controls are smooth and easy to learn.
Visually speaking, the game is impressive. Big set pieces, fluid animation, high-resolution character models, and impressive lighting and special effects add to the overall atmosphere and immersion factor. The sound and music are also worth noting. It's too bad the game doesn't have any multiplayer, cooperative or competitive, as Lichdom: Battlemage would be a lot of fun with or against human-controlled players. Perhaps that'll come in the sequel? But even with this omission, mature fans of magic lore and first-person action games should give this game a spin.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Although this game uses only magic for combat instead of classic weapons -- guns, swords, bombs -- did the developers have to make the gameplay (and the cut scene sequences) so graphic? Wouldn't the game appeal to a wider audience if it were family-friendly? Should we criticize the designer's creative expression?
Talk about conflict resolution. Should seeking revenge be the only way to resolve problems in media? Is it an effective storytelling device, or does it weaken the impact of decisions made by characters?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Maximum Games
- Release date: March 28, 2016
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Strong Language, Violence
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