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Mage Knight: Apocalypse

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.
Developer: InterServ International Inc.
Media: CD/6
Players: 1; 2 - 5 online
Genre: Action/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Graphically, Mage Knight: Apocalypse is a good example of what current high-end PCs can really do. Though the models and landscapes don't seem to look as good as what I see on my 360, both the main heroes and bosses come off great. Characters are smooth and everything from Ashton deserts to the forest of Firefeather or the icy landscape of the Vale of Dawn seem to radiate just the right feel.

The game's special effects (fires, sparks, particles ... oh, so many particles) also seem to be done really well and don't seem to slow down the game's overall performance.

Sound, on the other hand, is only fair. The music seemed a little bland at times and always feels generic. Sound effects (swords clanking, spells being cast, etc.) didn't seem to vary all that much. To put it simply, my gameplay experience didn't change much when I just turned off the volume.


Mage Knight: Apocalypse is your (stereo)typical action-RPG title. The campaign starts you off as a lone character who must go out and take down the biggest baddie in all the land. Along the way, your party will grow and you will travel to different lands. You will pick up various weapons, skills and run into other races.

There are five races that each have their own skill tree and, for the most part, the attacks or spells each race can learn fits pretty well. These races are Vampire, Draconum (dragon-like creatures), Elves, Amazons and Dwarfs. Each hero type's skill branching starts with choosing a discipline. Each race has three such disciplines and these help to direct the types of attacks or abilities the character will have. For instance, a necromancy Vampire will behave differently than an assassin Vampire.

Unfortunately, I never took part in the table-top mini figure-RPG from Wizkids that this game is based on, so I don't know how close these classes and the game's scenarios fit with the original mythos, but from what research I was able to do prior to writing this review, it seems to congeal with the game fairly well.

One of the biggest aspects of Apocalypse is its multiplayer aspect. Instead of providing different gameplay modes, you and up to four other people can band together and take on the game's story online. Online games are completely co-op, and you can configure the game to play through the entire saga, or just specific chapters in the story. If it wasn't for the chat box and the extra effort it takes to join or host an online match, the game feels just the same online or off. This can either be bad or good depending on how much you like the feel of the game in the single-player Story mode.

Mage Knight's online options are vast and almost as complex as the many skill trees your character(s) can learn. Not only does the host have the ability to limit the scope of the game's story, but he can also set the game to end when you reach the end of the chapter/saga, or loop and start it over again. This, coupled with the Dedicated Server options (yes, you can host your own games on your own server), means you could set up a saga game that just continuously loops as players pop in and out (well as long as the host is up at least).


Like most Action/RPGs, Mage Knight: Apocalypse has a fairly steady difficulty gradient. If you ever find yourself getting beaten to a pulp over and over again, then hold back and spend some time developing your heroes' skills. After making some progress, go back into the fray and you should be able to overpower any enemies in the area. Though I had to hold back and power up occasionally, I found that I could typically plow through the various chapters of the story without having to worry about being completely overrun.

Even though the general progression of the game was solid, there were a couple of bosses that just seemed to be a little cheap and got me on the edge of frustration more than once. But like I said above, if you take the time to back off and level up, you will eventually get past even these oafs.

Game Mechanics:

Mage Knight: Apocalypse's controls are about as simple as they come, point and click. Moving around involves clicking on the ground where you want your character to move to, or using the W-A-S-D keys to manually guide him/her. Looking around is a matter of holding down the middle button or space bar while you manipulate the mouse and attacking enemies or interacting with objects is as easy as clicking on that person/item.

At the bottom of the screen, there is a list of eight skills and two of these skills are loaded into Active Slots. If you left click on an enemy, your character will perform the attack in the left slot, similarly, right clicking activates the right slot's attack. You can select which action you want to be in the Active Slots simply by clicking on the attack's icon. The HUD also gives you access to your character's skill tree, recipe book, forge dialogue, inventory back pack and quest log. It amazed me how much information Mage Knight was able to give to the user without letting it get in the way too much.

Apocalypse is a pretty standard Action/RPG. The classes and skills break away only slightly from the standard mold and the story is pretty good (though nothing you haven't heard before). If you are in the market for a new fantasy adventure, then Mage Knight: Apocalypse might be exactly what you are looking for.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:

128 MB Video Card (Geforce 6800 GT, ATI Radeon 8500LE or better) 512MB RAM, 1.8 GHz Processor (Pentium 4 or AMD equivalent) Windows 2000/XP, Direct X 9.0c, Direct X compatible Sound Card

Test System:

Alienware Aurora m9700 Laptop, Windows XP Professional, AMD Turion 64 Mobile 2.41 GHz, 2 GB Ram, Duel NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB Video Cards, DirectX 9.0c

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