• Publisher: Atari
  • Release Date: Nov 18, 2003
  • Also On: PC

Mixed or average reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 25
  2. Negative: 3 out of 25
Buy On
  1. I find it hard to believe that any Magic The Gathering fan won't like this game. I've caught myself playing the game hours on end.
  2. 90
    There is likely no other game with this combination of strategy, competition, planning, and fast-paced action out there.
  3. Although it's far from cutting edge graphically, it puts together a balanced gameplay that fans of the card game should enjoy.
  4. 85
    I love Battlegrounds for the same reason I love arcade-style sports games; it exploits the aspects of its source material that make for great design, and throws the rest out.
  5. There is so much game packed in here because of what it's based on that you could literally get lost inside of it. But I hope you get the gist of how the game is played. It's totally a thinking person's game.
  6. Official Xbox Magazine
    Deep, wonderfully balanced Magic battle system. [Dec 2003, p.100]
  7. Using both real-time action and strategy elements, developer Secret Level has pulled off a wildly challenging, but addictive game.
  8. Sure, it may be a dumbed down version of the card game, but by focusing on action and strategy the game becomes much more accessible to casual gamers and those who aren't already hardcore fans of the card game.
  9. What could've been crap on a DVD turns out to be a game that's easy to pick up and damn fun to play.
  10. 80
    The graphics and sound are as solid as the strategy. They didn't quite match the card game's distinctive art style, but most avid players will be able to identify each creature at a glance.
  11. 79
    A nice change of pace for hardcore gamers because it combines elements from fighters and RTS games but I'm not sure if your average gaming schmo will be able to get into it.
  12. The single-player game basically involves a series of duels and the A.I. can get a bit predictable.
  13. The mediocre graphics bring the quality of the game down somewhat, and, while the need for frantic strategies will probably keep you playing, the lack of any sort of selection of different game modes may reduce Battlegrounds to being a rental, at best.
  14. Computer Games Magazine
    While it can become predictable at times, the game does have Xbox Live support, which adds to its shelf life. [Apr 2004, p.8]
  15. Could have benefited from a better interface, but at its core, Battlegrounds is still a good game.
  16. It is not the Magic that I grew up with, and purists may find the changes to be a bit too extreme.
  17. I've played so many "Warcraft III" clones recently that it's really refreshing to cover a game that's actually doing something innovative. However, it's the online and VS games that really flesh out Battlegrounds, since the single-player experience is pretty flat.
  18. Weekly Famitsu
    7 / 6 / 6 / 7 - 26 [Vol 815; 30 July 2004]
  19. Magic fans will likely scoff in disgust, but if you're in the market for a game that plays like a fighter but has a little more depth, you may want to give this a whirl. [Dec 2003, p.173]
  20. 60
    A surprisingly addictive, insanely frenetic multiplayer game that will delight "Magic" fans. But even those who've never played it (and maybe shot spitballs at those who did) might take a fancy to it.
  21. netjak
    The spell effects are fantastic, and the arenas are cool-looking, but the duelist models and the in-game videos clearly needed some more work, both on the graphical AND content fronts.
  22. There are definitely some hurdles you'll have to get over to enjoy this game, but there is certainly fun to be had. For me it was the strategic, puzzle-like single player mode, but for others it may be the ability to alter decks and play against online opponents.
  23. Instead of being boring, it's totally unbalanced and infuriating. [Jan 2004, p.142]
  24. Xbox Nation Magazine
    A horrid single-player quest mode offers frustrating, ill-designed scenarios. [Mar 2004, p.91]
  25. Two steps removed from the CCG it seeks to emulate, and is unlikely to appeal to anyone but Magic aficionados - and even then it has so cruelly crushed the freedom and essence of the licence that players of 'chess with cards' cannot help but shun it.

Awards & Rankings

#87 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2003
#36 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Engee
    Dec 11, 2003
    Half you guys are full of it. some of you haven't even played the full game and you're raving about this! and Magic P - if youHalf you guys are full of it. some of you haven't even played the full game and you're raving about this! and Magic P - if you played for 36 hours in a weekend, it means you slept 6 hours a day and played all day apart from that. In other words, You're Full of Crap. In regards to the game - 14 spells per colour seems pretty few to me. I wonder how good online extensions would be? and how much they'd cost....(!) Full Review »
  2. Substryk
    Nov 29, 2003
    Awesome! The creaters have managed to capture the card game and translate it to a competitive action packed arcade game for the masses. Excellent.
  3. Russ
    Nov 25, 2003
    The demo is great. The full version must be even better!