Magic: The Gathering, Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 is this year’s new incarnation of Wizards of the Coast’s card game Magic: The Gathering, developed by Stainless Games.
For any of you who don’t know what this game is, shame on you! It’s been around for….. well a long time. I’ve been playing the game on and off for over 18 years and not much has changed really bar from tweaks here and there. At its core Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game where you, the player take on the persona of a mighty wizard. You draw cards from your deck to summon creatures to aid you in your battle against your opponent until one of you dies. This is all carried across in to the digital version very well. I’m always very apprehensive when one of my hobbies get converted to a computer game… I know this is not the first MTG game to come across to the console world, and it will not be the last, but the worry is always there for me.
Magic: The Gathering has converted across very well. It is the same game that I play around the table with my friends, but with a few more special effects thrown in for good measure. The only difference is now, I pick up a controller to play against them over Xbox Live. Stainless Games have really tried hard to keep it as close as possible to the original game and they have done it very well. From the minute you turn the game on, it somehow feels like an old friend. Everything is logically laid out, and menus are are simple to navigate. While you’re playing the game you are only ever using a few buttons to play cards from your hand or go into combat. For newcomers to the game it will be very easy to pick up, but very hard to master.
Magic: The Gathering has always had great art work from many different and well known artists and Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 is no exception. The art, which is outstanding, is what we have come to expect from this franchise. The graphics are very simple but are in keeping with the feel of the game. The only thing I didn’t like was the the opening video to the game, it seemed a bit out of date, like it was rendered in the 90s, but other than that it looks a great game.
The single player experience is not bad at all, you fight other Planeswalkers, earning the decks you beat, you also unlock more cards along the way to add to your deck. One of the things that I felt was missing in the single player game was a link to my character. It felt more like a revolving door – once I had won one round I moved on to the next combat. If you fail you can retry until you get it, and then once again you move on to the next combat. I know this really is not much to pick at, I just felt more could have been done to make me feel a bit more linked with the game from a player’s point of view.
Multiplayer in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 is very simple. You jump into a game and play other people or just your friends. This is what you would expect from multiplayer. In MTG there are ranked games, if you’re the type of person who wants to climb that ladder and be the best. Or for people like myself, there are the friendly games which most of the time are more slower paced and less aggressive in the playing style.
I can see where Wizards of the Coast are going with Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014. There is going to be masses of DLC for this, which people are going to lap up and buy and why wouldn’t you? With the ability to customize your deck in the game, buy boosters as well, it really could turn into a great cash cow for Wizards. Don’t let that put you off, I’m not, and for 800 credits you really can not go wrong. It will keep you going for a while.
Reviewed on Xbox 360