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Spoiler Review of Five Magics
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DanielRand47 Away
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Information Review of Five Magics

Disclaimer
This is my first review ever, and all the written content in this post is my honest opion based on my own playthrough of Five Magics. I am open to constructive criticism and suggestions to make future reviews better.


Introduction
Ever since Amnesia's release back in September of 2010, we have encountered numerous custom stories and full conversions created by various members of the Frictional Games community. All of these mods are unique and special to us in their own ways. Some short, some long. Some scarier than others, and some of them are more story driven. But there are a few mods that do an excellent job at combining all the elements that Amnesia had into one. Master of Five Magics does just that.

We all remember the days when Amnesia first came out. We would shut ourselves in our rooms with the lights off, headphones in, and the audio at max. We would inch our way through the long and twisting corridors of Brenenburg Castle because we never knew what awaited us just around the corner or behind the next door. We remember having to go search through dark cellars and dungeons to find the next item we needed to advance the plot line or solve the puzzles that seemed nearly impossible to us at first. We remember the conflict between Daniel and Alexander and the moral argument that arose from it. Is it better to sacrifice many to save yourself, or to sacrifice yourself to save many?

That being said, let's press onto the criticism of this mod.


Positives

Level Design
To start of with this review, I will begin by addressing the level design. I will say that having played multiple Amnesia mods down through the years, the level design in this mod currently holds the top tier. The amount of thought and details that were put into each map made for an immersive experience and the lighting in each map and room added to the realism and atmosphere that one would expect in an Amesia mod. Furthermore, the placement of entities and static objects gives the player the impression that the villain has numerous servants using the rooms for whatever his purposes may be.

I must give credit to the amazing level design that was featured in the town of Cederholm. Seeing as the HPL2 engine is not specifically designed for detailed outdoor enviornments, the town of Cederholm is a fine example that the engine can handle detailed outdoor environments. Another fine example is the woods map that is available in the later part of the game. It has Amnesia written all over it. Dark, very few lamps, potentially no oil in the lanter, and statues pursuing you. All makes for an edgy experience.

Sound and Music
Adding to the immersive feel of each level comes the various sounds and music that are featured. The sounds do their job well at keeping the player constantly wondering what is lurking off in the distance or even behind them. This combination of ambient sounds, and the layout of a level keeps the player on edge throughout most of the game. The music on the otherhand is very well done. It is quit fitting for the level or situation in which the music is playing. Some of the musical score hints back to the Cyan title RIVEN, though mostly in the melody. Others hint back to the original Amnesia. The music for the villian Bethavat is quit foreboding and fitting. When the theme plays, one knows to tread carefully as he may be lurking right around the next corner, which leads me into the next section of this review.

Enemies
Amnesia is memorable for its three types of enemies: Grunt, Brute, and Water Lurker. All three of these enemies add their own element to the environment and the players behavior. The Grunt is memorable for its grotesque look, the Brute for its fearful look and haunting sound it makes upon activation, and the Water Lurker for potentially being present in any body of water. In Five Magics, the most common enemy is the stone golem, which is probably one of the most terrifying enemies seen thus far. Mainly because it is a stone statue. The fact that it is a statue instills caution and uncertainty into the player each time they see or walk past any stone statue that is placed in the maps. One never knows if one of them will come alive and jump out. Such uncertainty is observered during the early parts of the game when you are introduced to the stone golem in 01_study.map. As soon as you enter into the level you see a dark figure standing at the other end of the hall. In its right hand it is holding the lantern. As you slowly approach the statue, the feeling of it's going to come to life as soon as you get to it or as soon as you grab the lantern becomes a constant thought. Furthermore, the feeling of "when I complete given task, it will not be there when I come back" is also a real thought.

Slanderous does an excellent job at keeping the player on edge in regards to the stone golem enemy. In one section of the mod you only see the shadow of a statue and you know instantly that as soon as you finish your current task that it will have moved. Where it moved to is what keeps the suspense. In fact one might not even encounter it until the next map. Same rule applies to Bethavat. Upon seeing him for the first time, the desire is to tread carefully and to avoid the dagger he holds. He and his minions make it so that the player never feels safe.

Puzzles
As for the puzzles, each puzzle certainly keeps the player thinking and searching through all of the areas that are available in each map. Furthermore, successful completion of each puzzle does bring about satisfaction.

Negatives

As far as negatives go, I do have a short list of items to layout. The first being the quality of the voice acting. (This is in no way an insult to the voice actors). My only criticism is that the audio of the voices were to low and were sometimes overpowered by other ambient sounds or music. Fortunatly there are subtitles, so you will never miss out on what is being said.

My next is related specifically towards Cederholm in regard to the level design. During my playthrough, I on many occasions found my self getting stuck on entities such as bushes or tall grass while exploring or hiding from any unfriendlies. Overall the level design was excellent.

My final criticism is related to the puzzles. While the puzzles were unique and proved to be a challenge, I to often found my self consulting the guide file to find out where I should go or what items I need. This was especially so in the final area were you have to find one item that resembles each of the four elements. I often found myself running around in circles trying to find the last item, activating enemies, running low on sanity, out of oil, only to find out that the item is not an actual inventory item. However there was a great deal of satisfaction.

Conclusion
Overall Five Magics is a fun and enjoyable (through can be frustrating at times) mod to Amnesia. It is clear that a lot of thought, time, and effort was placed into this project. And I wish Slanderous the best on his next installment. The only question that remains, is will it live up to the standards that Five Magics set, or will it surpass and set a new standard. Only time will tell.

Verdict

Rating Scale
1 = Don't bother playing.
2 = Look into it.
3 = Play only once.
4 = Recommend to a friend and play it again on a later day.
5 = Play it again and again.

Based on all the above I give this mod a honest and solid rating of: 4 out of 5.

When speaking to Slanderous via private messaging, I asked him what encouraged him to create this mod. He mentioned that mods such as The Great Work, Obscurity, and Key to Freedom where the three main ones. He also thanks the developers of those mods. Slanderous went on to mention that the name "Five Magics" comes from the song "Five Magics" by Megadeth. Other inspirations came from The Witcher 3 and the Souls series. (Courtesy of Slanderous)

Link to Five Magics
(This post was last modified: 12-22-2016 05:46 AM by DanielRand47.)
12-18-2016 10:57 PM
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Slanderous Offline
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RE: Review of Five Magics

Again, thanks for the review Daniel. I thought it was great!
12-18-2016 11:09 PM
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