Hacking away, boys
The original Dawn of Magic
was a solid if uninspiring slice of Diablo
-style hack 'n' slash adventuring that provided genre fans with more of what they love. This sequel is very similar to its predecessor but is still worthy of closer inspection if you just want a break from Diablo but without straying too far from the field. The story here picks up ten years after the events of the first game but finds Evil once again trying to take over the world by possessing it with its legions of shadows. As usual, it falls to you and your party of heroes to step in and save the day. As you might expect, this basically translates into an isometric adventure with a big focus on slaying monsters but which also gives you lots of opportunities to play around with magic. This is perhaps the game's biggest appeal, with a huge variety of schools of magic and spells for you to experiment with and which can be quite impressive. Other elements are fairly standard, with the usual leveling up, quests, loot and so on to discover. Dawn of Magic 2 doesn't exactly re-write the rules of the genre but it does stick to them and gets most of them just about right. The heavy focus on magic helps it stand out a little and there's no denying there's some fun to be had from playing around with the various schools and spells to see what you can come up with. The rest of the gameplay is entertaining enough if you're into such things, with a good level of challenge, solid visuals, and a decent interface. As long as you don't go in expecting something staggeringly different, you should have a good time here.