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Magic: The Gathering - Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2013 Review

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Darran Jones

The only popular collectable card game returns for another year of tweaks and improvements, but is this the ultimate version? Find out in our review.

magicthegathering07.jpg

Published on Jul 9, 2012

Another year and it’s business as usual for the digital translation of the popular collectible card game.

It’s arguably the slickest yet in terms of presentation, but as much as we love the deep strategy on offer, we’re beginning to get tired of the current format.

The biggest differences over last year’s offering is that you’re now given the ability to tap individual mana (the different coloured lands used to cast spells) and that the horribly random Archenemy multiplayer mode has been dropped.

There are also new mini-challenges where the computer always makes the same moves, so that you can fine-tune deck strategies.

The new multiplayer mode, Planechase, is better balanced than Archenemy, but is still heavily reliant on luck, rather than skill. The focus in Planechase is that a Planer Die is rolled each turn and can either force you to switch planes (all of which have their own unique effects) or trigger powerful game changing abilities like destroying all creatures.

Fast-paced, with constantly shifting gameplay mechanics, it’s fun, but will be off putting to those who prefer skill.

Although there are ten new decks to play with (all of which contain 30 additional cards to unlock) they’re not as enjoyable as the ones found in 2012.

The presentation to Magic: 2013 really is something else.

It’s also now impossible to take out excess land, meaning that you’ll often get mana flooded; fine when you’re playing a slow control deck, not so good when using a deck that relies on hitting hard and fast with small creatures.

The inability to properly edit your decks is now beginning to get frustrating as well. We can appreciate that these releases are aimed as introductions to the game, but they’ve been at the top of the Live Arcade charts for the past two years, meaning people should be more than able to handle the challenge (and massive amounts of fun) that deck building offers.

The lack of backwards compatibility with past releases also grates, while we noticed several annoying bugs that cropped up when stacking effects.

Magic: The Gathering 2013 is still great, more so when playing an opponent, but Stainless Games really needs to up its game for next year’s inevitable release.

 

Score Breakdown
Graphics
7.0 / 10
Sound
6.5 / 10
Gameplay
8.2 / 10
Longevity
7.6 / 10
Multiplayer
7.6 / 10
Overall
7.5 / 10
Final Verdict
Another fun instalment, but it’s all starting to feel a little too predictable. Here’s hoping the inevitable Magic: 2014 sees some considerable improvements, like proper deck building.
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Game Details
Format:
Xbox Live Arcade
Release Date:
20/6/2012
Price:
800 MS Points
Publisher:
Microsoft
Developer:
Stainless Games
Genre:
Collectable Card Game
No. of players:
1-4
Verdict
7.5 /10
Battle rival Planeswalkers by reducing their life points to zero in the latest addition of Wizards Of The Coast’ popular CCG.
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