Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 – Review
Follow Genre: Cardgames
Developer: Stainless Games
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Platform: PC, PS3, 360

Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Easier to find people to play cardgames with!
Bad: Lacks the personal touch of IRL cardgames
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 is a new Magic: The Gathering game for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Having experience with the real cardgame there was a reasonable fear of playing a digital version. Was this fear justified?

1

Story:

It’s pretty clear that the  background story of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 isn’t really the most important part of the game. We are treated to an overall ‘introduction’ cinematic about the different so called planeswalkers that battle each other. Further info about the planeswalkers is given before battleing them in the Campaign mode.

All in all the few story parts we get to see are well brought for a card game.

Graphics:

Personally I was very interested in how the overall graphics would look like and was pleasantly surprised. The game doesn’t lose any of it’s charm compared to playing it in real life. The cards are still animated just as beautiful and  the creators even added some small but appealing effects for damage, effects and spells. Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 also tends to treat us to some nifty artwork during the loading screens. All small, but welcome bonusses. The game will surely not bore you with it’s look.

Note: You can also zoom in to take a closer look at each card.

Sound:

When it comes to soundtrack of the game, yet again a decent job was done. The music is very welcome during those moments you have to wait and not too overwhelming when having to think yourself. The extra sfx when performing actions, doing/taking damage and performing spells are a welcome attribute aswell.

2

Gameplay:

The overall gameplay is the most important part for a game like this. As mentionned before the feel with playing the card game in real life isn’t far off, which simply makes the game a lot more personal (and real).

One of the most important things to know is that Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 offers a great experience for people who have no experience with Magic: The gathering or people who have plenty of experience. At the beginning of the game you are asked about your experience level and are able to play your campaign/custom matches at the desired difficulty level. When you gain more experience or notice that your skills are rustier than expected you can always change the difficulty level at any time.

Note: The game also has a built in tips system and if this isn’t sufficient you are also able to do a tutorial.

At the beginning of the game you start out with 2 unlocked decks out of which you can choose before every match you play. When playing the campaign mode you will probably start out with the first mode of the campaign mode which consists out of encounters or duels. These so called encounters are pretty much the same as a normal duel except for the fact that your opponent always performs the same actions. You will have to pick an effective deck and strategy to overcome all the encounters. The duels are normal matches like any other Magic: The Gathering match, however when winning the duel you will be able to unlock other decks for you to try out and play with. When clearing the first mode you will unlock the second mode called Revenge and this mode pretty much consists out of 1 vs 1 matches again. The Planeschaser mode however offers you to play a 4 people free for all with a twist, namely ‘Planes’ cards. These cards will add a special effect for all players. (for example: only 1 creature can attack each turn, …) If you want to change the global effect, you are able to roll a dice every turn (or more times if you pay a mana cost). The dice only has 2 symbols on it together with 4 blank spaces. When rolling the correct symbol you will ‘planeswalk’ to another planes card – when rolling the other symbol you will perform the effect which is written on the planes card – and when rolling a blank space nothing will happen. Now finally the last mode in the overall campaign mode is a challenge system. Speaking for itself you will have to complete a specific challenge to unlock the next one.

Note: after unlocking the decks you will have to play matches with the unlocked decks to unlock their cards to be able to customise your deck.

3

Except for an offline campaign mode the game offers plenty of other things to do. Playing custom matches in several different game modes, competing online with friends or other players and also the option of customising the decks we have unlocked.

A few points of annoyance though. During a match you have a timer which gives you time to play certain cards or counter moves that your opponent does. For some reason sometimes you don’t have a timer and other times the timer still keeps running when you are zoomed in at a card for closer examination. Which results in periods where you didn’t get the play the cards you were able to. Also when playing with a deck that adds counters to cards every turn or af certain effect, if you have several of these cards in play and your opponent aswell it takes so dreadfully long for all counters to be added. And when I say dreadfully long I mean somewhere along the lines of => you can take a toilet break and dinner every single turn then…

Now some extra information for people who arent familiar with the concept of Magic: The Gathering. Hopefully when reading this far you found out it’s a cardgame. The basic format of the game is pretty much 1 vs 1 and each of the players start out with 20 life each. This life total can be reduced (or increased) by attacking with creatures or performing spells. To pay for creatures or spells you will have to pay Mana, you are able to add a little bit more Mana every turn if you are in possession of the right cards. The first players to reach a life total of 0 or deplete his entire deck loses the game. Simple as that!

Conclusion:

To give a short conclusion. This game is pretty much a must have for people who are in to cardgames or want to learn a good cardgame. You will keep yourself occupied with the game for quite some time.

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Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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