Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Magic the Gathering - Duels of the planeswalker (+ 2012 and 2013 editions)

7.5/10

If you did not know MTG is collectible card game where you play as a wizard who can summon creatures and cast spells. Your goal is to kill your opponent (also a wizard), usually by reducing his hit points to 0. Its a fun game with a lots of strategy and tactics, however its one hell of a pay to win game. For people who realized this, there are usually modes where players don't come with pre-made decks. But they still make  a lot of money by having players buy new random cards for each tournament.

It exists in physical form (go to the store, buy real card) and in digital form (Magic Online which is very old and looks like shit, where you pay the same price for virtual cards!).

Still its been the most played, most complex and interesting card game out there for a long time. So without any major competition, Wizzard, the company behind MTG, has been sitting on its ass for a long time and selling its physical and virtual cards at a ridiculously high prices. Which has always been a turn off form me.

But at some point they released Duels of the planeswalker on steam and Xbox live, where players only play with somewhat balanced pre-made decks (you can swap a few card in and out for each decks). So you don't pay for the card in those games,  you pay once for each of those games (and their expansions) and then you can play against other player with relatively balanced decks. And it can be a lot of fun.

At least the challenges and campaigns are fun. The multiplayer is a bit buggy sometimes, when there a bugged game at the top of the match making list and you always get match to a game where you can't connect. Also since you can only play with premade decks, players cannot do everything they want and play all the modes they play with physical cards (like drafting). But there are new competitors on the tablet and PC markets now and they announced much more features for the planeswalker version of 2014, that's why I'm reviewing these games now.

Also its more fun if you don't buy the card unlocks downloadable content and instead unlock the cards as you play the campaign, it makes the campaign more interesting. So buy the game and expansions but not the unlocks.


I can't find the original (pre 2012 edition) on steam, they probably removed it because there were too many bugs and they did not want to fix them).


2020 edit: Since then I've a played the other planeswalker games, Magic Duels and Magic arena. Magic Arena is probably better maintained (and they will maintain the game instead of releasing a different game each year). But its also different, gone are the pre-built decks and you can now buy cards and virtual currency to play the game. I'm sure that it is very popular and that they are making a lot more money that way ... but it could not retain my attention. I don't feel like spending so much money on virtual cards and games and grinding free to play is also unappealing for me. Things I hated: Losing (or winning) because of mana flood, mana screw, or better cards. The difference between common and rarer cards in magic is too great in my opinion. There are lots of digital card games these days, many of which don't have these problem. See my other CCG game reviews.

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