Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers
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.