UN­TAPPED PO­TEN­TIAL

Magic 2015: Du­els of the Planeswalk­ers

HWM (Malaysia) - - GAX - by Az­izul Rah­manIs­mail

Magic: The Gath­er­ing (M:TG) was the Trad­ing Card Game (TCG) that started it all. The pro­gen­i­tor of the genre, the game is now over two decades old. A staple of the table­top gam­ing scene, this fan fa­vorite have had a tough time com­ing into the dig­i­tal realm ini­tially, but saw suc­cess with the Du­els of the Planeswalk­ers se­ries.

Orig­i­nally, the Du­els of the Planeswalk­ers se­ries is more akin to a puz­zle game. Although it plays like M:TG, play­ers are lim­ited to ready-made decks and a rel­a­tively small pool of cards to up­grade their decks with. It was the best way to in­tro­duce play­ers to the TCG, how­ever by open­ing up the game, some ma­jor prob­lems emerged.

Firstly, the game’s in­ter­face is not con­ducive for such a large amount of cus­tomiza­tion. It is slow, slug­gish, and some op­tions are buried un­der­neath mul­ti­ple lev­els of un­in­tu­itive menus that pri­or­i­tize aes­thet­ics over func­tion.

This is also ap­par­ent in game­play. M:TG re­lies heav­ily on tim­ing, this how­ever trans­lates to plod­ding game­play, and the mul­ti­tude of pop-ups just makes things worst. The game­play in­ter­face could use some pol­ish­ing, as the cards look clut­tered and can’t be un­der­stood at a glance.

Magic 2015 also suf­fers from a chronic case of mi­cro­trans­ac­tioni­tis. The game costs US$9.99. Its tu­to­rial ad­e­quately teaches play­ers the ba­sics of play­ing the card game. Upon com­plet­ing that, play­ers are made to choose one of sev­eral ready-made decks. The prob­lem is once you pick a deck, you are stuck with it. Even if the deck may not fit your play style, or you’re hav­ing a hard time win­ning, you can­not swap it out.

The only way to get out of this rut is to buy card col­lec­tions at US$4.99 each or US$19.99 for the whole col­lec­tion. This is ba­si­cally a short­cut that gives you in­stant ac­cess to cards that are un­lock­able through game­play. Also sold in the in-game shop are pre­mium boost­ers, cards that you can’t un­lock any other way. These cost US$1.99 for a pack of 10.

De­spite its short­com­ings, at its core, Magic 2015 is a good game. It will take a few patches and it­er­a­tions to make it right, but it is, to some, a step back­wards in the Du­els of the Planeswalk­ers fran­chise.

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