Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 (DTOP2012) is the 2nd go at bringing the popular trading card game Magic the Gathering to consoles and PC’s (on Steam) the first version (just called Duels of the Planeswalkers) was realeased in 2009 and was one of the most downloaded XBOX live arcade games of the that year.
This is Magic the Gathering aimed at the beginner / novice / casual market as this iteration of the game automatically takes care of all the fiddly bits and pieces involved with the real life card game that can stump people at first, such as counters, hit point count, damage rules etc. It lets the player just get on with playing the cards. The graphics are good for this sort of game and the rendering of the cards themselves is truly wonderful. Magic the Gathering has some of the best fantasy artwork around.
Single Player mode consists of playing through a ‘tree’ of opponents with only a certain amount of decks available at the beginning. As you beat the AI opponents you get to unlock other decks and also different bonus cards to customise your decks a little bit. There are different challenge scenarios that you can play as you progress where you are put into a custom situation against an AI player with only certain cards and a limited amount of turns to win. This is easy at first but get progressively harder. The mode that is new to this version and I find most interesting is Archenemy. This is a 3 against the one AI battle where the AI gets to stack the odds against you with special oversized turn modifier cards. Can be frustrating and elating!
The implementation of the game engine itself is just a bit disappointing and I’ve found it a little buggy in some respects with the selection and playing of cards and as with the first title, I play it with the music turned off as it tends to get on my nerves after about 3 minutes.
Having said that it’s an awful lot of fun and worth the £7 or so that it costs on Live, Steam or PSN and you’ll get a fair bit of replayability out of the title with different modes of play with Archenemy, double headed giant (2v2), cards to collect and decks to alter and a well implemented multiplayer system.
Verdict: Solid implementation of the card game but aimed at the casual / beginner. Hardcore fans may enjoy the multiplayer and Archenemy modes.
Geekzine Rating: 4/5
System: Xbox, Steam and PSN