Magic is as popular in video games as in every other medium, but we often see the same things over and over again—a fireball here or a quick burst of light that heals you and your allies. While the standardization of some of these mechanics is nice, it can become a little stale. That’s why I wanted to set out and see what are the top ten best examples of magic that stand out to me.
What magic has stayed with me over the years, whether it’s because they set the standard for that particular spell in my mind, took it to the next level, or is original enough that it stands on its own among the throng of magic users in gaming? There’s a lot out there, so without further ado, let’s reveal the first trick up gaming’s sleeve.
Lumbridge Teleport – RuneScape
I can’t tell you the last time I played this game, but I have used this spell more than any other. It has saved my hide on more than one occasion when I ventured too far into territory I had no business being in at my current level. This spell allows the user to return to Lumbridge, which is the starting town for the game. The town is where a lot of players come together to trade or scam since there are so many new people there.
The spell made the hub even more popular since everyone was going back for various reasons. The best part is that the spell is available to everyone from the getgo, whether they were a paying member or not. That is huge in a game that keeps most of its helpful items and spells behind a paywall.
The Force – Star War: Jedi Fallen Order
This might be a little broad, but I can’t help it. The Force in Jedi Fallen Order is one of the best examples of the Force (which is just space magic) in a video game. It gets it right and couples it with combat really well. It all feels so fluid as you are free to use Cal’s handful of force abilities to juggle combat. Pushing and pulling storm troopers or sending projectiles blasting back at their senders has never felt so good.
It can even help you traverse the world easier by pulling vines into Cal’s hands as he jumps off cliffs as if he was Ezio rather than a Jedi in training. These powers can really make the player a force to be reckoned with.
Rat Swarm – Dishonored
Dishonored has its fair share of abilities, but not all of them have the same level of brutality as Rat Swarm, which calls forth…well, a swarm of rats. These pests will devour enemies whether they are alive or dead, which can make it especially helpful at hiding the evidence that the player has been in the area.
There are even various charms that allow Corvo to buff his rats to be stronger, more resilient, or even revive their numbers, so they continue to be helpful for longer periods of time. There aren’t many spells quite like this one in the gaming pantheon, and it’s one you aren’t soon to forget.
Mumbo Jumbo Transformation – Banjo and Kazooie
Banjo and Kazooie is a wacky game that allows a bear and bird duo to take on a witch with the help of several quirky characters. The most helpful of these is arguably Mumbo Jumbo who can transform Banjo and Kazooie into various items or animals to help them perform new objectives in the world or reach places they wouldn’t have been able to before.
Some of these transformations include a pumpkin that allows Banjo to travel through pipes and toilets. An alligator that makes Banjo survive the acidic swamp and crawl into a giant alligator’s nose. There’s even a busy bee that gifts Banjo with flight on a map that arguably is the most frustrating to traverse due to its verticality.
Fire Storm – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The best fire spell in Skyrim is also the gold standard in 3D fire spells for me. There are a ton of abilities, but this one can be a joy to obtain simply because you may have been struggling with the more lowly fire abilities in the game only to whip this one out and burn all of the skeletons that had begun to surround you.
It does a great deal of damage, and the ongoing effects of the burn will often be enough to keep many pesky low-leveled enemies at bay without you having to do much else. At the point that you get this spell, there isn’t much else you need to fight with magic; you’ll be pretty good unless, of course, you are fighting Alduin.
Urbosa’s Fury – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Both Link and Zelda are capable of their fair share of magic throughout the franchise, but the one that I have found to not only be the most devasting but also the most memorable is Urbosa’s Fury in Breath of the Wild. The blessing is acquired by purging Thunder Blight Ganon from the Devine Beast Vah Naboris where you are gifted with the most overpowered ability in the game. Bring down the power of lightning on everyone within the vicinity of Link and watch them twitch in agony.
If you are willing to cross the deserts early in the game, you could take out the rest of Ganon’s blights without any issues at all, even if you are trying your hand at Master mode. Not to mention with the DLC, you can reduce the cooldown for this ability which only makes it completely broken for any encounter that you may have from that point on.
Descending Dark – Hollow Knight
In the mystical world of Hollow Nest, there are many secrets that the young Knight will uncover on his journey to reclaim the kingdom. Some of these abilities will be spells that open up the world further to the Knight’s exploration, the most devastating of which is Descending Dark. The Knight will pause in midair for a moment only to crash downward with all his might.
The shadows of the world and his own inner darkness seem to collect in a blast that he brings forth with a giant crash. The force of the is enough to break any weak soil beneath him or to prove devastating to any enemies that might be unfortunate enough to be under the Knight’s crosshairs.
Fog Cloud – Baldur’s Gate
Now we get to an almost completely broken spell. Baldur’s Gate Fog Cloud spell creates a dense cloud around your party and can actually hide them from the enemy AI who seem to forget where y’all went to after the fog popped up. This makes it perfect for guerilla warriors and cheesers alike.
It might seem cheap, but if anything, it really is just using the spell to its most optimal abilities. Combine this spell with other party member abilities or spells, and you have a recipe for total domination on the battlefield.
Pestilent Mist – Dark Souls 3
Leave behind a noxious cloud that damages enemies over time. The cloud will dissipate, but when the cast time is only a couple of seconds, there isn’t too much of an issue for people familiar with the swing patterns of the boss they are facing.
Creating a toxic or dangerous environment for enemies is always something that not only benefits you but gives you a sort of power complex over these demons who have been giving you so much trouble. It’s no wonder that GLaDOS favors poison gas over just smashing her enemies with metal spikes. It’s the slow thrill that’s the most important.
Blood Storm – Divinity Original Sin 2
Blood Storm is one of the most overpowered spells in all of Divinity Original Sin. The caster brings down a bloody rainstorm that damages enemies within its clouds. The torrential downpour of blood can add a certain tonal shift to your encounters, too, proclaiming the infamous blood mage is in the battle, and nobody will be escaping.
This spell makes it incredibly easy to deal even damage across the battlefield, and with the right buffs, it can dominate. I like to think that the storm is fueled by all your past encounters; their blood is forever forced to be used in furthering your journey.