Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 - PS3 Review

Man, that's one long title. I had the original Duels of the Planeswalkers game for the PC years ago. It was a very different animal than the Xbox/PSN version that released a few years ago. I've also been a long-time fan of the collectible card game. I've won, bought, sold and lost (yup, I played back when ante was common) more cool cards than most players I would guess. That said, I was a bit disappointed with the last version of this game, so I had mixed feelings about the 2012 one that came out a few months ago.

The premise to the game itself is this:

You have cards in your deck that require mana to cast. Mana is generated by land cards you have in place. There are creatures, spells and more at your disposal. Your objective is to deplete your opponent's life before they do the same to you.

There is a ton more to the game than that, as the cards have a huge assortment of effects, but you get the general idea. So, what did I think of this latest iteration to the venerable collectible card game?



Graphics - 7:

The card artwork is amazing as always. There really is not much animation going on, which is fine. Truth be told, I would probably turn most of it off after awhile anyway to speed up the matches, but some additional effects or mabye even combat animations might be nice all the same. The menus and boards all look better than the last time around.



Sound & Music - 7:

The sound effects are simple enough, but mercifully they do not occur so frequently as to get annoying. The music is actually quite good, though another couple of tracks for the sake of variety would have been nice.



Gameplay - 8:

The cards and menu navigation are all improved from last time. There are quite a few options you can tweak to change how targeting and such are handled. I found the new archenemy mode somewhat frustrating at times - just a bit cheap. The idea is a three-on-one and that one has a huge life total and gets multiple draws per turn including from a deck of cards hugely overpowered - like the ability to wipe out all permanents on another player.



Intangibles - 9:

Oh, if only they had REAL deck editing. But it's closer than last time. In the last game you earned extra cards for your victory and you could shuffle them in and out of your deck - and only them. Now you can shuffle in or out any of the cards in your deck (except land). Maybe next time you can actually pull cards from other decks in, but it's a step in the right direction.

A lengthy campaign mode, a new archenemy mode, online play for both of these modes - there is a lot to do and a good number of cards to do it with. For those who like trophies, these ones aren't too hard to acquire as I have all but one - I haven't won that fifth online match yet (only have 4 wins - I don't play online too often though).



Overall 7.75:

If you like collectible card games, and Magic: The Gathering in particular, there is a lot to like here. It's far from perfect - my favorite part of CCG's is the deck-building, but you have more control over the deck than in the last version and there is a good number of cards to experience. The additional modes add value to the package as well. This is slow, thought-provoking strategy. People looking for an action game of any type need not apply.


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