Posted: December 20, 2013
My Opinion: While Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers greatly improves on the mechanics of the previous games, poorly constructed decks ultimately ruin the game.
I have a deep love for Magic. It's one of the best card game's I've played, and I've been an avid player for years, playing both the online versions (MTG 2012-14, MTGO) and the real life version. So jumping into this, I thought I would love it out of pure fanboyism. And in fact, I did. The campaign in this game is good, although there's still some problems with AI cheating. The challenges were fun way to spend the time if I got tired of basic duels. Most importantly of all, Sealed play (a game mode where you construct your own decks) was the most enjoyable part of the game, a place where veterans like me could go and test their skill instead of facing people with the same decks. Every opponent was different, and that's where a player's skill lies.
So what's the problem? The problem is that using my own created decks can only be so much fun. I said every deck was different in Sealed Play, but always within the same core group of cards. The variety was lacking, but this is it's first installment so I couldn't have gone it with too high hopes. So naturally, when I get tired of Sealed Play, I go to basic multiplayer with the dozen or so decks that the game provides me, right? Wrong. As the standard multiplayer is the main aspect of the game, it should have been the best, but ended up being the most terrible experience I've had in MTG.
Each deck, without any cards unlocked, is pretty good in itself. If you used those decks in real life, you could play a pretty good game. In MTG 2014, as in the previous installments, the more games you win with a deck the more cards that are unlocked, usually good ones. To start off with, unlocking cards is painfully slow. 2013 had, let's say 30 unlockable cards, but each win would give you a card plus all of it's repeats, meaning you only had to win 15 or so times to unlock the full deck, so it didn't take too much of a grind. In 2014, each 30 cards has to be unlocked individually, leading to an incredibly slow grind that ultimately isn't feasible to do, especially since you have to win the game to unlock a card, could take upwards of 60 games to get the whole deck if you're good. When each game lasts around 10-20 minutes, that's just impossible, at least for me. The second problem is the card choices, each deck is riddled with the most overpowered game breaking cards imaginable, taking away all skill and making it a game of simply who can get out the most mythics (the technical term for game winning cards) in the least amount of time.
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