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MAGIC the GATHERING  Duels of the Planeswalkers

Well it’s happened several times before, Magic the Gathering on the computer. Previous games have ranged between very good and poor, this one ranges between excellent and cheating.

I use the word “cheating” because of the way your in-game opposition (not online real players) draws cards and because (unless the rules of MtG concerning the number of same cards you can have in your deck have changed).

When I used to play Magic regularly you were only allowed 4 of each separate card with the exception of Lands. I just a few minutes ago played a pretty solid Green deck against the lowest Black deck on the current Plane. My deck had 2 Lands plus cards that allowed me to find a Land in my deck and play them, along with 4 reasonably good cards - all different. I never drew another Land in the game!

My opponent drew a Land card every turn as well as the “Horrifying Revelation” card which is a Sorcery that forces the opponent to discard a card (from hand or in-play) and discard the top card from their Deck. In 10 consecutive Turns I was hit with 10 Horrifying Revelation cards - 9 were drawn and played from the deck and one was redrawn from the Graveyard.

Okay so there may have been one or two of these already in the opponent’s hand, but to be hit with 10 on the trot should be impossible if the 4 card rule counts and highly unlikely if it doesn’t. Anyway, with that possible hiccup out of the way, let’s look at the game overall.

It starts with an excellent story voiced over some beautiful artwork but then the artwork becomes animated and it doesn’t quite work. Compared to the gameplay and the art itself the animation is quite amateurish.

The best way to play is against other players online but if you are solo then there is a superb Campaign setting that lets you progress each time you beat the Champion opponent on the current Plane; the Champions of these Planes each have their own card deck colour. The player gets to choose from two decks to begin with (I had Red or Green each time I played). The Green deck I was given was phenomenal - with just the right number of +1+1 bonus and locate a Forest in your Deck  cards.

For players not used to Magic the Gathering there is an excellent tutorial plus you can magnify every card to read their abilities. On top of this there is additional information on the Champions, making them more like an MMO Avatar. This is by far the best MtG online game to date.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2015