If you are looking for the experience of opening booster packs after winning, this is the game for you. In Magic 2015:Duel of the Planeswalkers you can earn an unlimited amount of booster packs from the game itself by repeatedly playing the “explore” mission in each plane, rather than having to buy them for 2 dollars each or as DLC.
This newest iteration of Duel of the Planeswalkers boasts a custom deck construction system, one which makes deck making so easy you’d consider deck making as a part of the entertainment as well. From color filters to color balance indicators, the deck builder is as well polished as apps coded specifically for the physical game. On the iOS, the ease of scrolling combined with the easy to understand filters make the experience very newbie friendly, and even more convenient for the veteran player.
The game features three difficulty levels, adequate for every player. The A.I. is competent at making decisions — when you have an entire card list of options in your brain it’s difficult to make bad plays. On Planeswalker difficulty(the highest), for example, the A.I. rightfully made good plays based on the mana I had, instead of just scanning my hand and knowing what’s up. When the A.I. is toned down, the actions they take are more simplistic and don’t use multiple stack interactions, which is great for the new player.
The game has some options to make gameplay more streamlined — The Auto Land option, for example, rightfully considers the mana costs in your hand, allowing you to play the maximum amount of cards based on your existing hand so long as you play them in ascending order.
Other streamlining options like turn holding, auto resolution and auto yes to beneficial effects make the new player experience smooth, with the veterans having the option to turn them all off for a more traditional experience.
The game is clearly not optimized for the PC. Playing on widescreen resolution (16 x 9) with AA turned up to 8x, my screen is nightmarishly stretched and the text hardly legible, fragmenting into pixels as they are also stretched.
No resolution beyond 1024 x 768 is available, which is hardly what modern display drivers are capable of. The game’s controls are also clunky and tend to have the slow drag effect – obviously meant for touch screen devices (aka the iOS). All in all, it’s a chore to navigate the menu with keyboard and mouse; although it does get much better in matches, some optionally manual controls (like land tapping when casting spells) are lumped together in a single mouse click, making misplays as a result of the controls common.
The campaign mode is nothing spectacular. The bits of information they give are it easy to understand the world of Magic, but the storytelling won’t win any prizes, especially since the CGI cutscenes look like they’ve been rendered 10 years ago.
These flaws detract from the game’s enjoyment, but the experience of opening packs is no less satisfying as a result of it. You have 5 sets to collect cards from, from Zendikar to M15, and it’s heaven if you’re into that. My advice is to get the game on the iOS instead of the PC, not only because the game is clearly optimized for the iOS, but also the duration of the matches make for great in-between entertainment when on the train or the bus. All in all, this game gets a 3 out of 5, mainly because it’s the first modern full-package experience of Magic: The Gathering.
+ Gameplay is highly streamlined for both newbies and veterans
+ You get to open packs which you can earn after every match
+ Tutorial is entirely optional
+ Simple control scheme in-game makes for convenient gameplay
+ You get to build decks, the first ever of any Duels series games from Magic
+ Deck-building is so enjoyable it can be considered part of the entertainment.
– First chapter must be completed before all cards can be accessed if you purchased the Complete Edition
– Starting decks are hardly spectacular and you have no idea what cards are in the decks; you will have trouble playing if you are unable to improvise with the cards they give you.
– Planeswalker difficulty A.I. acts as if they know exactly what’s in your hand
– Mana Flood and Mana Jam very well simulated – nothing you can do to prevent this
– A huge amount of time is required to unlock all the cards (17 hours and I’m not even halfway)
– Display is not optimized for PC nor properly ported – No resolutions beyond 1024 x 768 available, widescreen resolution makes the whole game look stretched out and is horrible to view.
– Menu navigation is a nightmare on PC, extremely sluggish and irresponsive to the mouse – obviously adjusted for touch screen devices.
– Control assistance like Auto Land is flawed and will often cause you to be unable to make plays you otherwise could have.
– Still no undo option even against A.I. – Fans have been requesting for such an option since this series emerged.
Title: Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planewalkers
Developer: Stainless Games
Resolution: 1024 x 768 (8x AA)
Release date: 2014-07-16
Spent time: 17 hours
Average grade internationally: 75%
PEGI age rating: 12+
Price: 10 Euro via Steam for the base game, 35 Euros for “Complete Edition” with full content unlocks
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