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PAX East – Lichdom: Battlemage Hands-On Impressions


PAX East – Lichdom: Battlemage Hands-On Impressions

I know I’m not alone when I say that playing as a mage in almost any game is just truckloads of fun. The only problem is that there has always been that little drawback to having cooldowns and a finite amount of “mana” to really unleash the pain and become the ultimate mage you know you’d love to be. Well, the developers of Lichdom: Battlemage sympathize and have sought to create that dream game where you can create and cast fifty shades of destruction at will. Simply put, it’s magical.

Raw power feels great, and that’s exactly what you get in Lichdom. Right away, you’ll be receiving three primary elements: fire, ice, and corruption (there will be nine in total). Any combination of the three results in different ways to dispatch your enemies. You can shoot your spells forward, cast a large area-of-effect attack on any spot in front of you, or raise a magic shield with each corresponding abilities to block or parry enemy attacks. It’s this arsenal and several other abilities, such as a specific dodge that slows down time temporarily, that you must harness to deliver whatever deadly combinations you prefer. And there is a ton of different combinations you can use.

Just stop, drop, and roll, guys. No big deal.

Just stop, drop, and roll, guys. No big deal.

Lichdom: Battlemage boasts an extremely deep customization system that lets you craft and synthesize any and all aspects of your spells creating different passive and active abilities corresponding to various traits depending on however you like to play. Whether you’re into close quarters or ranged combat, you’ll be picking up the magic components you need to form whatever strategies you wish as you make your way through the game.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t your standard fantasy game where you must upgrade your armor either. In fact, you won’t be picking up any number of trinkets throughout your journey, flooding your inventory with junk. From the first level to the final battle, your characters stats are fixed, changeable only through the strength of your spells and your crafted passive abilities. It’s fascinating to see how by the end of the game your strategy can change completely.

I was initially worried that there would be a difficult balance to work out if your character were going to be given so much power, but the enemies definitely put up a fight of their own, providing a nice challenge in spite of everything in your arsenal. Instead, Lichdom finds an excellent balance to maintain its complexity without being convoluted by any means. Even its plot seems modest enough, although it’s hardly the central aspect and selling point of the game.

Now how should I kill this thing...

Now how should I kill this thing…

To balance it all, the visuals are breathtaking. It seems like it would require a pretty powerful system to run it optimally, and I’m so tempted to upgrade my own computer before it’s completed so I can get the chance to play it as it was meant to be played. Lichdom: Battlemage looks as good as it feels, and is by far one of the most refined and sophisticated games I have seen at PAX this weekend and one of the most polished games I have seen on Steam Early Access.

When most Early Access games are a big risk in that the game may be awful and buggy at the moment, yet still ask for your money, Lichdom, after two years of development, shows an incredible amount of potential, and it blows my mind to imagine how it will improve from now til the release date. Mages, rejoice.

You can look forward to playing the completed version of Lichdom: Battlemage when it arrives on Steam on August 26th.

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