Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers Image
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  • Summary: An extension of the world's premier trading card game, Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers brings a pulse-pounding mix of strategic thinking, fantastic artwork, and arcade-style thrills to PSN. Experience an epic game of fantasy and strategy, as never before, when you take on the mantle of a planeswalker - a powerful mage capable of traversing the infinite planes of existence - and forge your destiny! Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 20, 2011
    While it lacks the depth of the physical game, this is an excellent introduction to Magic: The Gathering. [Issue#202, p.96]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. Dec 2, 2010
    If you're a long-time MTG fan, there's a lot to like and a few things to dislike about this game. If you're new to MTG, please note that this game does not give you the whole MTG experience. The reason I say both of the above is that in this particular game you cannot create your own deck. A lot of the fun in MTG for many fans is creating a unique or at least personalized deck. There are so many cards and so many interesting strategies in MTG that provided one has the cards, one can come up with a vast number of different winning (or losing) strategies. Building your own killer deck feels great, but alas you can't do that here. That aside, what the game does give you as far as decks and gameplay is very nice. And Duels won't bankrupt you the way constantly buying MTG booster packs could, so that's a plus.

    In a nutshell, Duels of the Planeswalkers has you use any of a variety of unlockable decks in a series of duels against increasingly difficult opponents (read: their decks get better). There are also a number of puzzle challenges where you are presented with an end-game situation and you have to figure out the correct play in order to win. Furthermore, there are online modes including a co-op campaign and 2-, 3-, or 4-player free-for-all matches, and two-headed giant mode in which two players per side share one increased pool of total life points.

    The decks provided by the game run the gamut of what an experienced MTG player might expect. There's the always popular red "burn" deck featuring goblins as cheap fast attackers. There's the white deck (my favorite so far) which goes with a theme of flying creatures and life gaining. The green deck with land acceleration, wurms, and token creatures. The blue deck with counters and spells for all occasions. The black deck with some nasty and annoying creatures that tend to come back from the dead and some discard effects to add to the feeling of desperation. Later on you get multi-color decks; not having unlocked those I can't comment, but multi-color decks tend to be even better at winning.

    Each time you win a duel with a deck, you unlock a new card for that deck as well, until you unlock them all. These unlocks are very nice, giving you some primo spells, creatures, and even artifacts. You can replay any campaign duel you've already beaten, so by doing that repeatedly you can work on improving a particular deck. MTG newbies, note that replaying the same opponent can be a totally different experience than before since every game depends on which particular cards get drawn from the deck, thus keeping it interesting.

    One critical element of MTG is the timing of plays. Certain spells are only effective if played at the right time. The game gives you the ability to accomplish this by means of a 3-second timer that appears every time you could theoretically play a spell or take some other action. You can pause the timer with the square button.

    Other than the lack of ability to build your own deck, I recommend this game to both fans and newbies to MTG. Also purchasable separately are the three add-on packs that give you even more decks to play around with, more puzzle challenges, and more campaign levels (and 3 trophies per add-on).
  2. Dec 10, 2010
    Good game if you like magic/card games. Delivers well, a little more options in changing the decks would have been nice. Represents the card game well. Collapse
  3. Dec 6, 2010
    This is a great implementation of the card game, but there are a few irritating problems that keep me from giving it a 10. One is the sideboard. You are allowed to swap unlocked cards in and out of your sideboard, but not the cards of the basic deck. This defeats the whole purpose of a sideboard! Why did they even waste their time programming such a thing? The unlockable cards are the best cards in your deck, so apart from color-specific effects, you'll never want to swap them out. My other problem is that you cannot tap your own lands, ever, for any reason. The computer always chooses for you, making its best guess based on what spells remain in your hand. And yes, it is usually right. But those few times when it's wrong are infuriating! I can understand them automating this part of the game in general, but there should at least be an option to tap your land manually.

    But all in all, it's a great way to enjoy the game without breaking the bank. Two-headed giant is especially fun -- it's great for teaming up with a newbie to teach them how to play.
  4. Dec 17, 2010
    I am completely new to magic the gathering (MTG) and I found this game to be fairly entertaining for the low price of $10. The primary reason I am giving this game an 8 out of 10 because of the fact that it only cost $10.

    Gameplay: Gameplay is smooth and the controls are quick and responsive. There is a great deal of content for a $10 game. You get a solo/co-op campaign that can also be replayed and also online multiplayer, solo challenge scenarios, custom duels against the AI, unlockable cards and unlockable decks. The AI is challenging even in the easiest setting and murderous in the toughest setting. The biggest let down, even for someone new to MTG like myself, is LACK OF FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE DECKS! Even though there are no fully customizable decks (the basic cards in the deck cannot be removed), you can still win based on skill however, you have to be fortunate as well. I rate this game at 70% skill, 30% luck. Fully customizable decks would have made this game 95% skill, 5% luck.

    Graphics: Graphics are a disappointing 720p. Why couldn't the developer have made the game 1080p? This is a card game, not Crysis 2. Another minor irritation is the fairly long load times. Again, this is a card game, it shouldn't have noticeable load times. To summarize: Positives: a ton of content for only $10.
    Negatives: disappointing (but serviceable) graphics, long load times, NO FULLY CUSTOMIZABLE DECKS, a disappointing introduction to MTG for new players. Every new player is going to ask, why can't I fully customize my decks? Heck, even experienced players are going to ask the same question.

    Some advice to the developer and publisher: Please put in customizable decks for the sequel, jack up the price to $25, and I'll buy it I swear!
  5. Jan 29, 2011
    TL;DR: For $10, this is a satisfying buy. Online multiplayer: There's 2, 3, or 4 machines free-for-all, or 2 players on one machines vs. 2 players on another. Easy to get into games; haven't encountered any networking troubles connecting to friends across continents. Control scheme is tough at first. No significant deck editing, but the prebuilts aren't bad.

    I was a big fan of the 1997 Duels of the Planeswalkers, so when this showed up on the PSN I was very excited. Unfortunately, this is not the same game as the 1997 PC software. It does not in any way resemble the older game beyond its affiliation with MTG cards. That said, the new Duels game is a fairly polished, entertaining way to dip back into the nostalgia of MTG cards without needing to buy, manage, and find like-minded opponents with real decks.

    The new sanitized design is a lot different from the old game's. As dorky as they were, I enjoyed the adventure maps of the 1997 classic. You walked around the world with your deck of cards and fought battles by running into sprites. In the new Duels, the Campaign mode is simply a ladder of opponents you climb, one at a time, a la Mortal Kombat. Controlling MTG games with a controller includes a bit of a learning curve. The timing system especially keeps you on your toes. You only have a few seconds after each effect to cast counterspells or Giant Growth your attacker after blockers are declared. The first handful of games are extremely frustrating because you weren't able to employ your intended strategy just because of unfamiliarity with the controls and interface. After you catch on, though, the game is playable.

    Other reviewers have already mentioned the deck editing in this game: You play with prebuilt decks, and only a very small amount of customization is available. Some ten or so decks appear to be available in the base purchase, with 3 more decks per expansion pack on the PSN. If you want to play "real" MTG, this will disappoint you. However, if you just want to play casually, the prebuilt stuff is a relief, because it means the game is just pick-up-and-go. Decks feel fairly balanced; it's as easy to lose as win against the campaign AI, and you'll probably restart some matches when you aren't drawing what you want. I only wish there was a "random" deck choice option in multiplayer to make matches feel a little more like drafting.

    Finally, in regards to multiplayer, I was relieved to find that matchmaking is painless. I never had trouble inviting friends to games, even ones behind routers, which is a big difference from trouble I've had on some other PSN titles. 3- and 4-player matches are possible, too, with 3 or 4 machines, and there is a "Two-Headed Giant" match in which 2 players on each of two machines compete online.
  6. Jun 15, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have played MTG since the 90ies, both with cards and on a PC, so I was quite excited about this game coming to my favourite games console. I'm sad to say that none of my expectations were met; this game was a real disappointment.

    As described by reviewer J1Dopeman, the game is seriously crippled by unwisely designed timer elements that often ruin your match. MTG is often a tight struggle for control, and losing terrain because of technical mishaps is a true pain, especially since even a slight mistake can easily cost you the match. In fact, what really makes MTG great is the possibility of a strategically challenging battle, where victory is often determined by making the right decision for that particular situation. If you're held back in this process by technical problems, like the ones described, all this is lost. Imagine a chess game where you have to stop a timer every time your king is "checked", or you will lose the opportunity to react. A turn-based game should avoid these timers; at least there should have been an option to shut them down. Pace is great, of course, but not if you're pushed forward too fast.

    What makes this even worse is the fact that players new to MTG will have no way of discovering the depth of this game, especially considering how "fast magic" is handled. The original game clearly lets you cast spells AFTER blockers have been chosen, but doing so in this version is an unforgiving technical nightmare.

    As an attacker, you must first tap your attackers, then state that you're done, then wait for your opponent to finish his half of the blocking phase, then press a button before a two-second timer runs out. If you miss out on this, then forever lost is the ability to boost that dragon and damage your opponent even more. It took me a couple of failed attempts before I could pull this off, even knowing that this option exists, and it felt very frustrating. I'm pretty sure I would make a lot of mistakes like this in the future, given this short timer that is so hard to reach, between phase segments.

    The game features a lot of fluff, most of it totally pointless. The gaming table is much larger than it needs to be, and the ability to spin it around is more frustrating than useful. I'm sure most players have had there involuntay carousel rides when they've accidentally pressed the D-pad to navigate between cards. Rotating the game board is never really needed, especially as you get to read the cards from the right side anyway.

    And alas, the fluffy graphics show-off does not come without a cost; as a result of the gaming table being too large, the cards on the table are way too small. I use a 32 inch HD tv set, and it is almost always necessary to zoom in on the cards, even to read their titles. Of course you eventually get used to the cards in your deck, but it's easy to notice that this could have been done much better.

    The main problem, however, is far worse. With the possible exception of PsOne game, this is the worst MTG game ever released. You pay for the game, but you don't get to edit your own deck, and you have to pay extra to get access to more cards. And even then you don't get them all. Several years ago there was a MTG game for the PC that included all the cards published so far, with readable cards, complete editing options, easy controls and good sound effects. My concern is that WotC have decided that they don't make enough money if they "give away" all the cards. So they make a seriously flawed version of a game that they did much better before, with some pointless fluff to cover it up.

    To sum up, this sad excuse for a MTG game:
    reduces MTG to being a limited experience
    frustrating controls
    very limited deck editing
    very unforgiving towards new players
    gameplay is replaced by fluff
    strategy element gets seriously weakened by crappy controls
    a lot of these problems could have been solved, had they chosen to do so
    WotC could do a lot better, and have done so in the past

    This game should be free, as it could only be viewed as an advertisement for the real thing. Even though you have to buy, sleeve and shuffle your own cards, the original plays much faster and better.
  7. Jun 8, 2011
    I used to play magic in real life and thought this would be fun to try out. Unfortunately this game is very broken and I simply cannot continue to play it. The deck editing is fairly worthless since you cannot edit full decks, only add extra cards that you unlock to existing decks. Multi-color decks are worthless since you cannot choose which lands to tap and sometimes run out of the right color. The timers that they put on actions are short, pointless, and very frustrating. More than once I've lost a match because I forgot to stop a timer and didn't get to play a critical card before it went off. Why they don't force a button press to continue instead of forcing a button press to stop it is beyond me, since whenever I don't want to play anything the timer seems too long and when I do it's frequently too short. I basically found myself playing handicapped because the interface and design decisions lead to errors and a lack of control. Good setups and strategic playing are critical to a game like this, so these flaws cripple the entire game. I would not recommend this because you will be pulling your hair out. Expand