Mega games get mega reviews in a megaly disordered fashion.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013: A Magical Gathering

Most of you reading this probably haven't played any Magic the Gathering, either because it's beyond nerdy or just because it looks confusing as fuck. Well, this game is the perfect place to start if you want to see what's involved. For those of you who do play: this game is invaluable in fixing up your gameplans and actually being a good player, unlike me who just throws cards around like a kid on crack.

Firstly, this game tries everything in it's power to help you learn how to play. With a tutorial, three campaign modes and a challenge mode it quickly establishes an easy learning curve. It pretty much holds a tissue to your face and sternly says "spit." every few minutes, but you'll be grateful for it. Battles range from flat out monster swarms (Krenko's goblins) to a race against time (Jace's mill deck) and back to single attacking monsters (Nefarox's exalted deck from M13). Each of these not only show you how to play, but also let you experience what different decks and play styles have to offer. For the ultimate challenge, it also has the Challenge campaign: 10 or so halfway complete matches with a goal of finishing the match in a couple of moves. I'm not going to lie, I had to look up a couple of the solutions...but they show you some of the most technically awkward yet amazing moves in Magic.

For the Pros, the game has been properly programmed with all of the rules of MTG, allowing you to play through scenarios without having to wonder what exactly happens when you play certain combos of cards. This allows you to finesse your game by using odd rulings to get the upper hand in real life (such as what happens when a mix of monsters attack, some with first strike some without). This is invaluable as I've seen friends who know rules like the back of their hand realise they've been playing wrong, or finding out new ways to be a dick and ruining the game for everyone.

As you play through the matches you also unlock cards to add to your deck. In the deck manager you can make a deck of minimum 60 cards, all you need to do is add or remove cards to your deck that you've unlocked for that deck and then the game takes care of how many land are in your deck for you. Each deck is contained to only it's own cards, no mix ups with other decks, which makes it easier for n00bs, and also helps intermediates with learning to deck build efficiently. Deck.

Now, I haven't really talked about the game itself much but to be honest it'd be fairly pointless. If you haven't played it before I would recommend just downloading the trial on Steam for free because otherwise I'll confuse you, and for people who know how it's played: download it anyway, I don't need to explain the mechanics. There's a 90% chance you'll like it. The graphics and artwork is good, flying cards actually fly, and attacks have animations depending on the style of monster (flame elementals shoot fire from the card to the enemy player).

The best thing about the game is the multiplayer mode though. It allows you to play free-for-all matches as standard but there's also a 2v2 match, which is excellent fun and often hilarious. Especially if the right combination of decks come up. There's also a Planechase mode, which has a card in the centre which effects everything in the game and adds a ridiculous amount of randomness to the games, for better or (far more fucking often :< ) worse. There are problems with the match making though, and often the games will bug out and refuse to work halfway through which is frustrating but happens not too often. The only major drawback is people rage quitting. Which is fucking annoying. Don't do it. It makes you a dick.


P.s. Deck

Cliff Notes: Magic being Magic. Great for newcomers AND returning players alike.
Rating: 8/10 (for nerds), possibly 5/10 if not.
Friend Recommender: If they're nerds, then yes. If they aren't then I probably would try not to talk about Magic around them. Not going to lie. Once you mention mana, card draw or declaring blockers they kind of tune out.

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