To attack in the game you use magic, which is composed of elements. Their are ten elements, all with their benefits, negatives, opposites, and forms; These elements are water, ice (made from water and cold), steam (made from fire and water), heal, shield, cold, electricity, arcane, stone, and fire. Their are far to many interesting and unique combinations to mention here, but I will supply a few. For example, casting water will create a torrent of water rushing from your staff to where ever you point, which will knock-back and wet anything it touches; Add cold and it turns into a barrage of ice shards, damaging anything it touches. On a completely separate note (but I do plan on joining them eventually) stone will launch a boulder, which will cause damage and even continue in its trajectory if it kills the enemy it hits. Now if we add water to this boulder we get a boulder that explodes on impact launching water in all directions and knocking everyone back; Or if we add ice we get a boulder that fragments on impact doing extreme damage to the hit enemy. These are just a small part of the, often intuitive, always interesting magic system.
This system has a few, somewhat non obvious from the trailer, impacts on gameplay. For one it is not nearly as easy as one might imagine to actually pull off one of the more complicated and powerful attacks in the middle of combat with enemies attacking you. So while you start off the game with all the elements and spells available to you, you still become more powerful over time as you learn new devastating combinations, spells and simply get better at executing these under pressure.
Unfortunately the game is not all great, it has the most bugs of any game I have ever played. Many people cannot even get their paid for copy to start. So far they have released six patches, which did nothing for me but make my game run even worst; But I was able to make it too the end of chapter 2. And their is some hope that they will be able to fix all problems eventually, because it is not like normal game glitches where strange things will happen that are hard to diagnose, for the most part Magicka seems to either work perfectly or crash.
Gameplay Rating (does not take bugs or story into account):