Let there be no doubt: magicians and sorcerers are great. It's my greatest sadness that I wasn't born into a world willing to let me hurl fire from my fingertips and blast vicious lightning at all who displease me.
Static electricity from balloons just doesn't cut it, and the whole hairspray/lighter thing... well, let dead insurance salesmen rest, that's what I say. This action-RPG at least nails my magic fetish head-on. Sorcery isn't just another weapon in your arsenal, it's the focus. Bone Magic, Fire Magic, Pentagram Magic, Party Magic, Now That's Magic... every possible school is there, and can be chopped and changed for fun and profit.
Take one fireball, add a little lightning, and before you can say "Now every time a fireball lands home, a bolt of lightning drops down to add insult to injury", well, you're ahead of me.
It's certainly better than my character's starting weapon: the deadly Umbrella of Fire Mastery, with its special power of proving that nothing sounds cool if you put the word 'Umbrella' in front of its name. Other fun elements include the character classes, which eschew the usual Warrior/Sorcerer/Rogue business in favour of the Weird Gypsy, Fat Friar, Baker's Wife and Awkward Scholar. The word for this is, of course, 'awesome'.
Sadly, despite such touches, my phenomenal cosmic powers still aren't as fun as I so often go to bed dreaming they are. The controls are too damn slippery, the world too cluttered, and the enemies far too fond of swarming. You try to attack, but the left mouse button both bashes and moves, so all too often you end up dancing around the bad guys, trying to land your hit and getting lost in the chaotic melee, nearby objects, characters, and anything else that isn't the face of whatever's trying to tear your own off.
The game world doesn't encourage you to press on. Right from the off, characters start barking orders at you instead of trying to converse, while the simple crafting system, blunt and plain dialogue, and the way that your character respawns after death all make the action feel like a Diablo-style MMO rather than a solid Diablo game. Sadly, there's a reason no game has yet stolen that title's crown - a mix of oomph, control, expansion and generally addictive one-more-try action that no game, including Dawn of Magic, ever quite managed to curl its magely fingers around.
Some nice ideas, but a mere damp squib as a spellbinder