Magic: The Gathering is one of the longest running card-games of all time. With thousands of cards released since it’s inception two decades ago, it has been a force to be reckoned with annual tournaments, meet-ups, and it’s own secondary market to selling, buying and trading. In 2009 and 2010, Wizards of the Coast released a simplified, digital card game version for consoles and the pc. Since then, there has been continuation of the digital game with some minor changes and tweaks with each iteration. Although Magic: The Gathering Duels of the Planewalkers 2014 has addressed complaints from critics and players from past releases, there are still some gripes that I had personally with this game.
Having little to no knowledge of the game in either incarnation, other than echoed conversations I have had with friends, I was a bit nervous jumping into this dedicated, fan-based driven game. Thankfully, like the others, Magic 2014 has a hold-my-hand tutorial for those unfamiliar with the gameplay and its mechanics. After completing the tutorial, gone away were my doubts on how to know the types of color, summon creatures, utilize artifacts and enchantments, and how to block attacks. The tutorial did introduce me to the previous mentioned and more, however there were a few items left off the table regarding complex advanced techniques, though this was probably intentional in order to over complicate novices.
The campaign for Magic 2014 has the player traversing to different realms, conquering opponents and besting the Planeswalker (boss) from each “stage” in order to move on to the next one. The campaign features unique cut-scenes and voice over, it’s not ground-breaking, but it adds some spice to the mix. The “minions” other than the boss use the same strategy and deck which can be boring at predicable at times, but beating the campaign nets the revenge campaign, which has you challenge only the bosses from each realm, which can be challenging but rewarding.
Sealed Play is the main draw for Magic 2014. Unlike the main campaign, which allows minimal changes for the pre-constructed-deck, Sealed Play has the player open booster packs filled with random cards in order to create a deck from the ground up. A definite step in the right direction as winning duels in Sealed Play’s own minor campaign will often yield more booster packs to unwrap and use. Now every card isn’t available in Sealed Play to use, but for the most part there is some variety in this packs.There is also downloadable content if you feel the need to get that extra “boost” in your deck.
Multiplayer is big here as well; you can battle one on one against a fellow duelist online with or without a sealed play deck; you can also team up with a local or online buddy to take on two opponents on the special Two-Headed Giant Mode.
Challenge is certainly the weaker of the modes here, and has a few bare-bone brain-buster tasks to accomplish. Nothing challenging as the name of the mode implies, but beating them unlocks avatars that are used to represent you in the game.
The tutorial/campaign did have a few hiccups for me, seeing as I was prompted to select an action with one button and on the side of the game was also showing the same action but substituted with another button, only for me to skip the action by error and my turn altogether, thus allowing the opponent to alter the game and win the duel. Duration of the duels due to said action-stopping sequences and speed of the digital game altogether can make some duels last two to three times it normally should in the real card game. The music though one-tracked, is catchy and sets the mood for the game.
The price to enter the world of Magic: The Gathering in digital format is cheap and well worth it. Although there’s a few of the gameplay hurtles that I have yet to master and understand, and Sealed Play can use some changes that will hopefully be addressed in the 2015 game, I am at ease knowing that through this game, I know how to play the card game and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to the next installment of the Duels of the Planewalkers series.
|Sealed Play is a welcome change. Overhauled Campaign. Friendly Tutorial for Novices.
||Very Slow paced game. Questionable button prompt layout. Predictable AI.