Posted: June 24
tl;dr: this isn't exactly Magic The Gathering, but it's still fun. 7/10.
What you DON'T get in this version (compared to the CCG):
*normal game flow (phases aren't like the MTG CCG, also slow, can feel clunky)
*spells and skills that activate at the right time (I'm looking at you Regenerate)
*A real Deck Building/Design experience (you get booster packs that you can use to make a deck for a handful of battles only. Otherwise you just get prefabs with loads of mythic rares and you can select/deselect cards)
*Collecting, comparing, trading, etc.
*Great moments of triumph from strategy
What you DO get in this version:
*lots of land tapping
*online multiplayer with a couple different modes
*Pay for features you should get with the game for free
*Pay for booster packs
*Pay for each extra deck slot
*Pay some more and then some more, and then more after that
*streamlined phases and actions
*a pleasant casual experience
They somehow took a lot of the fun out of the game, namely the collecting, trading, deck building, strategy, etc. But still have fun elements like creature battles, spells, art, etc. So this version could be called a streamlined version of Magic The Gathering's actual gameplay. It's sad that they didn't seem to care about adding the collecting and actual deck building, but I suppose they were either worried about competing with their physical cards' sales, or they just didn't think that the average Xbox 360 player (who this game is obviously targeted at, and designed for) have the patience or maybe even the capacity to collect, comprehend and create their own deck from scratch.
I was rather disappointed to learn that the game lacked these crucial features (at least in a real experience), but found out through playing that although the most fun in the physical game is the winning with a deck that you built from scratch, the core mechanics of the card game still stands on its own. As for this computer game, it may not be a CCG, but it's a table top card game that is fun and casual but also a challenging experience.
One final sour point: As mentioned above briefly, there is a whole lot to pay for to get basic features that should have been included with the game. I don't really have a problem with the paying aspect as that's what the physical MTG game is, if you think about it. But I do have a problem with the growing sentiment that game development should be one half-released product and the other half behind an extensive series of paywalls. There are 49 addons for this game, and although not all of them unlock features, this is quite the pathetic attempt to disguise large payments by splitting them up into dozens of "DLC." I guess it is up to each of us individual players and whether we want to stand for this blatant capitalization of gaming addiction and half-product half-"DLC." I can't blame the industry for moving towards higher/hidden monetization of their titles, but I don't have to like it.
P.S. About the Regenerate comment: activate Regenerate BEFORE combat damage and DURING the block phase AFTER they have assigned blockers. I know.. "Regenerate before damage, WTF?!?!" I don't know why, that's just the way this game works.