Genre: Card Game | Developer: Stainless Games | Publisher: Wizard of the Coast
Platform: Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC/iPad | Players: 1 – 4 | Rating: T (Teen)
Magic: The Gathering has been around for over a decade and it’s not hard to believe that a video game featuring online support would be released. Having been out nearly every year, out comes this year’s version of Duels of the Planeswalker. The game captures the spirit of magic successfully while adding an abundance of features that keep your attention but should you buy into the mystical world that the game has to offer or should you cast it aside?
From the get-go you have only a limited amount of resources available to you. If you haven’t played the previous decks then you only can choose from two decks to play with. The game’s main single player mode is the campaign which offers a set of opponents to fight against across six different zones. In each zone are Planeswalker you must defeat or Encounters that you must overcome. Planeswalker are just a normal match against the computer AI with a specific deck. By defeating them you unlock their deck and the next major Planeswalker standing in your way. It’s a fairly simple premise but the challenge of going up against certain decks is extremely satisfying, especially knowing that you’re at a disadvantage.
Taking your life sucker!
Encounters are similar to normal games except the fact that the AI will use the same cards and moves each and every time. While you may think it’s easy to defeat opponents when you know their moves, the way their cards synergize with each other may make it difficult, sometimes outright cheap. Defeating both Planeswalker and Encounters will unlock a single card out of 30 cards that are locked for your deck, which gives an incentive to stick with one deck as it grows stronger.
In addition to the campaign, once you’ve finished it you can unlock the Revenge Campaign where you must duel the Planeswalker again but they are extremely harder this time around. Pulling out better cards and tuned with smarter AI, you might think that they are absurdly cheap. If you want to increase the your playtime with the game, it’s definitely worth it. Challenges are specific situations that you must overcome much like Encounters, however, they are series of events that are tailored to improve skill and good for a quick fun game.
The last major mode for single player is Planechase. In this mode, you are pit against three AI opponents in a free-for-all royale. It essentially plays like a normal game with a catch. There is a plane card in play that grants special abilities or conditions on the field. Each player has the ability to roll a dice and depending on what you role the effects might occur or not. It’s an odd game and can go on for sometimes an hour or more but if you’re willing to try something new for an old and familiar game then it’s worth the try.
If you’re done with single player modes then there is an online multiplayer component where you can play the game with other players. You can choose to duel against a single person or have a free-for-all up to four people total. In addition, other single player modes like Planechase and Two-Headed Giant which is a two versus two mode. It’s all clockwork and plays excellently with no problems. If any gripe is that it’s plagued by the same problem as the single player mode where you can’t create your own custom deck. Instead you have to play with the unlocked cards of preset decks.
So one sided…
Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalker 2013 is a great game without punishing your wallet forcing you to buy decks and booster packs. It’s a great buy for $10 as well and if there’s a thriving online community, which it currently does on all platforms, then it will last you a great while. Even if you’re not a fan of Magic, the intriguing card game will instantly captivate you with a low barrier to entry and high skill cap for mastery. If you were on the fence about this, no matter what the reason, it’s worth it.
- 9 / 10
Disclaimer: A digital download code for this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.