In my primary school days, card games were my life. Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, Duel Masters, I was all over it. But the one card game I never played was Magic the Gathering. What is widely believed to be the daddy of all the trading card games.
Now I’ve played many attempts to port the card game experience to a computer game and I never enjoyed them. I consider myself to be a bit of a traditionalist and find that the game itself is so much more fun and tense when played against a human being face to face, you can read their emotions, have a small crowd gather in wonder of what you’re next move will be, but in a video game, you don’t get that same feel. But will this game break the mould, or simply be another disappointment?
The full name of this game is “Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013″ this is now the third game in what is now essentially a franchise for the card game. When you first boot up the game you get a nice little cinematic intro before being asked how much experience you have with playing Magic, with easy, medium and hard being represented with none, a little and a lot. The tutorial, despite dragging on a little bit, gives you a good idea about the rules and gives you enough confidence to go and tackle your first game.
Magic 2013 has a single player campaign mode and a multi player mode. In campaign, you move across different zones battling opponents along the way. By gaining victory you earn their deck in which then you can tweak it at your own will. I think deck building could of been made easier but the game tries to encourage you to stick to one field of Mana (Fire, Forest, Plain, Water and Dark) in your decks. As you progress there is also a wide variety of decks each with a different play style. Once you complete the campaign you unlock revenge mode where you have to go back and battle the opponents again.
Alongside the normal battles you also get encounters. These are opponents that test how your deck can hold up against a certain strategy by the opponent playing the same combination of cards over and over again until someone wins. This can be very difficult at times and may even give the seasoned players a run for their money. There is also a challenge mode which puts you in a situation and you must turn the tide of battle in order to win.
The final mode is Planeschase. This game mode pits you between 3-4 players at the same time while a Planeschase card in the middle of the field alters the rules of the game. For example certain monsters could be made more powerful, you could have an unlimited number of cards in your hand and much more. You also roll a dice to activate effects and change the Planeschase card. I found this mode especially fun and challenging as you’re having to concentrate on 3 players at the same time and tactically decide who and when to attack.
Magic 2013 also has an Online mode which allows you to do free-for-all and Planeschase against online opponents. Your performance also gets tracked on your stats and worldwide ranking. Matches can be fun but I don’t see the reason why if someone disconnects they get replaced with an AI rather than forfeiting.
The way the game is presented could be better. It took me a while to understand how the cards work and is difficult to see your hand unless you zoom right into it. At the same time, you will have no idea what your opponent is doing unless you zoom in. I feel like it would of made a lot more sense to make it automatic.
Overall I like Magic 2013, the amount of cards in the game is nowhere near the actual amount, but it makes the game more interesting and easier to get into. I still feel like a traditionalist and prefer the traditional card game to the computer game, but the computer game has made me get more interested into the trading card game and I feel this will have the same effect on other people. Heck they even give you a free real life booster pack just for buying the game! If you are a fan on Magic the Gathering, then you will enjoy this so long as your not expecting certain cards to be in there. If you are a TCG fan in general or just interested in trying out Magic the Gathering, then this is a good game to get. But overall, this is certainly the best video game interpretation of a card game I have ever played and I hope that the next interation will continue on with its form.