Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 Reviews

I MFC I Tiagox
172,697 (102,726)
I MFC I Tiagox
TA Score for this game: 440
Posted on 02 July 12 at 19:15, Edited on 17 July 12 at 13:47
This review has 20 positive votes and 5 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Magic: The Gathering - DotP 2013 Review

Welcome to my review of Magic: The Gathering - DotP 2013, the third instalment on this franchise that has now become yearly.

If you're not familiar with Magic: the Gathering, this is a collectible cards game published by Wizards of the Coast that has been around (in physical form) since 1993. This is a game that, not unlike chess, has a simple core set of rules, but true mastery of the game and its strategies may take a lifetime to achieve (and requires a lot of money).

New players will find that Duels 2013 is definitely the the best introduction to the series there is. It includes a good tutorial that teaches the basics of the game while presenting the controls in a intuitive and pleasant way. It includes a lengthy campaign that does a good job in teaching different strategies and techniques and prepares you for competitive on-line play.

Veteran planeswalkers can easily skip the tutorial and go right into the duels and will notice that Duels 2013 is very similar to its predecessors, with about the same quality graphics and gameplay controls, but with a few welcome improvements. You can now zoom into a stack of cards -- a creature with several auras or equipments for instance -- in order to select abilities to activate, as opposed to last year's interface that highlights only the visible part of a card.

The biggest improvement is without question the option to manually tap lands. Planeswalkers around the planet have asked for it and it has been flawlessly implemented by the guys at Stainless Games. Unfortunately the 10 decks shipped with Duels 2013 don't showcase this important feature, because there is only one that is not mono-color.

The decks are this game's weakest part. If you look at the cards that compose each of the decks you will be surprised with the variety of effects and attributes, but somehow the decks feel limited in terms of strategies. If you played the 2012 version you'll notice that this year the decks are in general considerably weaker and slower. On the positive side, the decks are mostly well balanced and suited for competitive play (with few exceptions).

Another new feature is the Planeschase duel mode. In this game type you will face 3 other planeswalkers in a Free-for-all match that includes a die and a plane card that have effects that range from the very funny to the plain annoying. This mode replaces Duels 2012 Arch-enemy mode but fails to deliver the same fun.

The sound effects are consistent and after a few matches you will recognise each of the sound clues that mark the passage of turns and casting of spells. The background music will feel a little too repetitive in particular on matches that last more than the usual 10-15 minutes.

The multiplayer netcode has also been improved and the on-line duels now run very smooth and rarely pause to resync. When it does resync it generally takes little time.

Achievements are very straightforward and none of them are really difficult, just time consuming. Solving the challenges would require a lot of trial and error but fortunately there are really good guides here on TA.

For gamers new to the series, Magic 2013 is Stainless Games' most accessible and intuitive MtG game to date. You will have no problem jumping right into the game and it's innumerable strategies.

Returning players will be pleased by the improvements but will miss the raw power and flexibility of the previous decks.

3/5 Stars
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50,127 (34,695)
TA Score for this game: 384
Posted on 27 June 12 at 02:40
This review has 2 positive votes and 5 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
This is the 3rd installment of the highly popular Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers video game. If you have played DotP2012 then you instantly recognize the games features including the campaign and challenges modes.
Most of the mechanics are the same with 1 tiny but very noticeable difference: manual tapping. This is a feature that was missing in DotP2012 but there is always a catch. At the moment there is only 1 duel-colored deck, the White-Black Exalted deck and the need for manual tapping is not really necessary, but you will use it on some of the challenges.
Another new feature is during the campaign mode is some games are called encounters and it's always the same. The AI pulls the same cards and plays the same cards in a set pattern and once you learn the pattern they are fairly easy to beat.
Just like DotP2012 the revenge mode becomes harder with some decks becoming really hard. This is kind of frustrating because for every win you get you only unlock 1 card of that color with a total of 30 new cards for each deck, so in order to have a full strength deck, (which is what the revenge Planeswalkers have,) you have to win at least 30 times with the same deck. You can also buy a deck key for 80 MS points and it will unlock the full deck or make the entire deck foil.
Multiplayer has had the biggest change with addition of the new planechase game mode. Planechase is a great new spin on multiplayer where eachplayer has a planechase deck the can add special abilities or slightly change some rules and each planechase card is a different "plane of existence" where the game takes you. You roll a special "planar" dice to find out when you "jump" planes. This mode can drastically alter a normal game and is very fun.
Overall this game has had some good game upgrades and graphical updates as well and looks really good but the best the part is for those of us who are avid Magic players, the entire game previews a lot of cards from the upcoming Core Set 2013 that releases in July.
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