"Magic: The Gathering..." (XBLA) Mini-Review
When I was in fourth grade, my parents had a treehouse built for me for my birthday. When it was finally finished, I didn't pretend it was a pirate ship or a secret clubhouse. I grabbed my four giant boxes of cards for Magic: The Gathering, hauled them up the rickety ladder, and proceeded to play with Eric and one of his friends for hours. This was a continuing trend for quite a while, until I foolishly sold my cards to my cousin for a meager $30. That was almost 15 years ago. These days I can legally drink, have sex pretty frequently, and fancy myself to be quite the fun guy. Apparently, none of these things have made me immune to a relapse of a former addiction in the form of illustrated playing cards.
Yesterday, I was thumbing through the new releases on XBOX Live and came across "Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers" on Live Arcade. It didn't take very long for me to move past the demo and plunk down $10 for the full game. It plays exactly like the card game, with very few bells and whistles. There is a Campaign mode to work through to get decks and build them up, and various other "quick play" and online duel modes. After being totally beasted by the computer in the first few matches, I got my wits about me and started strategizing.
For example, on facing an opponent with a Black & Blue deck I knew I needed to counter with my White deck because it had lots of healing spells and flying creatures. If you don't know what I'm talking about, don't bother downloading "Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers." If you do, absolutely get off your ass right now and get it. After playing for a good 3 hours, I found very little about the game I didn't like. The music is AWFUL, but I remedied that by playing some music on my XBOX. Other than that, I'll be curious to see how new cards are introduced after they assume everyone has unlocked everything in Campaign mode. As of right now, there are no plans for expansions but I'm sure that if this game takes off we'll see DLC in the near future.
I feel like "Duels of the Planeswalkers" is generally made for people like me that grew out of the card game and never got back into it for fear of having to learn the new abilities that were added with each expansion. For the first time since I've had pubes, I'm almost considering buying an actual deck of cards, but hopefully this game will remain challenging and fun enough to keep me from doing that, and in the process, reinstating my virginity.