OXCGN’s Magic The Gathering: 2013 Review
by Kent Sobey
©2012 Kent Sobey
Duels of The Planeswalkers, the XBLA iteration of the massively popular ‘Magic the Gathering’ strategy card game, was originally released in 2009. Shortly after that, in 2012, a follow up was released called, you guessed it, Duels of The Planeswalkers 2012, and now another follow up 2013 has been released.
I haven’t ever been much of a Magic the Gathering fan so I’m not going to sit here and try to compare it to the previous releases; instead, I’ll just tell you what I thought of this as an individual game.
At its core the game is a strategy game but there’s a lot of luck involved too.
Some might argue that a good player will be able to take the cards they are dealt and win with them; well, I’m not a good player so this doesn’t apply to me.
You get dealt a hand of cards, some of which will be land cards, or mana, and others will be creatures. There are also spells and artifacts and all sorts of other cards too. In order to ‘play’ your cards, you have to have enough mana so placing down ‘land’ cards is important.
Each card has a value, so if you have 3 land cards down, you can play a creature card that costs 3 mana. The same of course applies to all other cards too.
Creatures all have two ratings, one is the amount of damage they deal and the other is how much they can take before they ‘die’. Some even have special abilities which can turn the battle in your favour – it never did for me though.
That’s the basic idea – of course it gets much more complicated than that but for now you should have the gist.
The idea is solid and great fun, but at times it can get frustrating when things don’t go your way and it seems there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Even if you play your cards perfectly, you can still lose.
This is probably part of the appeal of the game for some people, but for me it just made me angry… when I do things right, I want to be rewarded! Aside from that small issue that I have with the game, it hardly sets a foot wrong.
The music is eerie and well suited for the content. The art style is amazing and even if you’re not into magic and dragons and all other manner of fantasy (excuse the pun), you‘ll appreciate how good the artists are.
When you start a duel, you get to pick which deck you’re going to use. For example, you can have a deck that has creatures like vampires and zombies and all other living dead creature (and all the spells and lands that go with that.
Or you can pick something like red magic, which deals with all things fire… So Phoenixes, dragons, fiery hellhounds etc. etc. etc.
Each deck you pick has its own strengths and weaknesses and can be customised to suit how you would like to play – I tend to just go with what’s there since I am not really good enough to know how to make the standard decks any better than they already are.
This is a great feature and even though I didn’t get to experience its full benefits, I am sure that any existing fan of Magic the Gathering will love it. This is probably where the games strengths lie – fan service. They’ve taken something that people already play and love and made it easier and more convenient to do.
Let’s face it, handling actual cards is not exactly convenient. As far as I can tell, there’s no real innovation in the game from its original form, but having said that, it probably didn’t need any because it already works. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
To duel, or not to duel?
But of course, like we always are on OXCGN, I will be fair.
The game deserves a solid recommendation for any fan of Magic the Gathering – and if you’re not already a fan, then this might just be the game that makes you one.
©2012 Kent Sobey
Filed under: Console gaming, Downloadable Game reviews, Xbox 360 Tagged: | "Magic: The Gathering", Card game, games, iPad, Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers, Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012, Trading Card Games, Xbox Live Arcade