Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 Reviews

I MFC I Tiagox
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I MFC I Tiagox
TA Score for this game: 436
Posted on 02 July 12 at 19:15, Edited on 17 July 12 at 13:47
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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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