Technically better than the original, but it's still just Magic.
- Ten new decks with new styles and variety of play
- Multiple single-player and a three player co-op campaigns
- Improved deck customization that is at least a little more robust than its predecessor
- "Archenemy" mode is fun and very, very hard. Get two friends, not bots!
- Unlocking cards can still be just as addicting and fun as before
- Small UI changes make for a faster and smoother experience
- Though the load times are better, they are still way longer than they should be
- AI seems dumber in this game for some reason, at least when they are on your team
- Only one background to play on. The original had like four; what gives?
- DLC decks are still here, even though this game was released only a year after the first one
- I really don't like the idea of making this an annual thing, especially since the Green and Red decks aren't that different from the previous game's.
- It's still "just Magic."
|Here we go again.|
The LongMagic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 (heretofore referred to as Magic 2012 because good grief why is that title so long?) is the follow-up to last year's iteration because it sold really well and if there's anything Magic: The Gathering fans enjoy it's spending more money. It touted a list of improvements before release, claiming to have better deck customization, more decks, and general improvements.
I honestly kind of find this game hilarious, for these reasons: The original wasn't exactly groundbreaking or anything. They tried to make it sound cool, but it was just Magic. Which, again, is fine, but it's still just freaking Magic. Then this second game comes out and they are like "we are ramping it up!" and it's the exact freaking game as the first game, which in turn is the exact freaking same thing as Magic: The Gathering.
These guys are like the most ambition-less people I've ever seen.
|Three vs one. The mighty fight battle begins.|
So...what is different? I could just sum up this review by saying "not enough, but if you like Magic you bought it already so..." but that would be a cop-out. So I'll briefly (yeah right; you've read my other reviews, I'm wordy as balls) go over the changes between Magic 2012 and Magic: The Gathering DOTP.
First, the load times are better. My biggest complaint from #1 has been...not fixed, actually, but at least improved. Load times are still longer than they should be, but 15-30 seconds is a lot better than a freaking minute (I timed it the first time) so...good on them. At his rate Magic 2013 might actually load in a normal, reasonable amount of time. Hey, off subject, remember God of War? Or Gears of War? Those games with way better graphics that had no loading times at all after an initial one? Why did I bring this up? No reason, just thought it was interesting.
Second, there is very slightly better deck customization, and unlocking cards is a lot faster. You unlock cards in clumps now (rather than one-by-one; thank goodness) which means you get to the good ones quicker. You can also swap out any cards including ones in the "core" set out and even land to better customize your deck. I guess this is an improvement, but still not being able to pool all my cards and make my own decks is freaking stupid. That's like the main point of Magic. How did they miss this?
|That's a lot of pizzazz for a freaking Magic card.|
Third, there's a new mode called Archnemesis, which is pretty cool. You play 3v1 (with you as the three) against a computer who, every turn, draws a special card that gives him a powerful ability that round. These include summoning powerful creatures for free, forcing players to destroy permanents, and so on. It can be frustrating if you have a run of bad luck, but with friends it can be very fun. It's a pity that actually playing as an Archnemesis is locked behind paid DLC. Of course.
Lastly, you got ten decks instead of eight, and I like these decks a lot better. They are tighter knit, and several actually play completely different than each other. Still no Sliver deck (which was my favorite deck ever and the only one I actually bought cards for) but whatever; they're all fine. They are also more complex this time around, and they do a good balance of making it so they start off relatively easy and the unlockable cards add depth to the deck. It's cool and works a lot better than in the original, and the better decks mean the game is funner.
That is all the major changes I could think of. The rest of the game is exactly the same. There are still a few things carried over from the original that suck though, so here we go again (in very brief).
|Put this deck in the game. I command it.|
Attacks still look stupid. Why are the cards just slashing each other? Yeah, you can turn it off, but it still seems real lazy.While the original at least had variety and choices on what background you could play on (the "table" if you will) this game only has one. Why? Why would you remove options? You could have at least ported the original ones over!
Still have to zoom in on all your cards in order to see what they do. Controls still default to simple, and on advanced it has difficulty determining which card is directionally relative to the one next to it, meaning you can hit "right" to go to a card on the right of the board but instead it goes down. I don't know how you could release a second game without at least streamlining this. I bet it works way better on computer, though.
DLC and the ability to buy cards is still here. Hopefully people who bought DLC for the original Magic learned their lesson; nobody is playing that game anymore because they decided to make yearly iterations. It's like buying DLC for a certain year of Madden. That's stupid. Don't do that. And don't buy the DLC for this game.
AI is still clever but somewhat oblivious when you are playing against it, and dumb as a sack of bricks when it is on your team. They never coordinate, ever, and several times we could have won if he'd just attacked but since you can't directly order them to do anything (why not?) we ended up losing. Thanks, buddy. You freaking suck.
Still heavily based on luck a lot of the time, but that's an inherent flaw in Magic: The Gathering, so I can't really pin it on this game.
|Aaand, we're done.|
Despite my complaints, there is certainly a lot more content here than the first Magic XBLA game. More decks, longer single-player (including a "Revenge" campaign that keeps kicking my butt), more options, and a faster game. It's a pity they still haven't done anything imaginative at all with this, simply sticking to the basics on nearly every level, but now that both this and last year's version is out I can say to ignore that one and get this one. It isn't a big improvement, but it's enough to render Magic 2011 or whatever redundant.
...until Magic 2013 comes out, so don't go buying this game yet. Hey, on an unrelated note, how about you do what Harmonix does with Rock Band and let us export decks? Maybe for like $1 (total. Not a deck. You greedy bastards.) since you have to monetize everything in this stupid franchise, but it would essentially add eight more decks and would make the game a lot funner.
Who am I kidding; then they couldn't sell three decks as DLC for like $5 a pop. My mistake. And as much as I hate this aspect of the game, it's how the Magic TCG has worked since its inception, so I'm preaching to the choir here.
Still, if you dig Magic, this is a decent run of it. If you hate Magic, you know what to do. Avoid and make fun of anybody who plays it's hygiene.
Three out of five stars.
|Now do this but with the Pokemon trading card game. Oh wait...|