With the rise of card-collection battle games over the past 12 months, large in part due to the release of Blizzard’s Hearthstone, Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers seemed to be poised to have its best year since the series began a half decade ago.
Instead, Stainless Games has developed a game that has seemed to regress in terms of overall feel and enjoyability with the release of Magic 2015.
Right off the bat, players are introduced to a changed user interface that, although looks nice, is one of the more clunky and unresponsive interfaces a game has had in quite some time. It’s So many times I found myself trying to scroll to a selection, and the game taking way too long to act upon the inputted action.
Once you can actually get where you want to be, the game becomes a lot better. The deck building is, for the most part, what fans had been wanting, though there is still plenty of room for improvement with that. And the layout for the deck building, well it’s just atrocious to navigate and keep track of.
In Magic: The Gathering games of old, players would have to battle bosses to unlock their available decks for use. Didn’t like the deck, then you can just discard it. In Magic 2015, players are forced to use the deck they used to complete the tutorial until they have unlocked enough cards to create something better. There isn’t a set of pre-made, basic decks to choose from in the meantime, which is a real bummer.
The overall play on the “battlefield” itself is quite enjoyable as well. It’s nicely paced, easy to get the feel for, and visually pleasing. Everything is laid out for you, and new players can always pull up an information graphic that will explain everything you seen on the board. It really is a nice thing to have when you are just starting out with the game.
The tutorial and campaign is still the best way that new players can learn the game of Magic 2015. The tutorial gives players the complete basics of the game to make you prepared enough to go into battle, but the campaign is where you will really learn all of the tricks and various plays needed to be successful in Magic 2015.
It really is the only true way to find out if you’ll enjoy this game without having to spend too much cash on it.
The game also features multiplayer, which is unlocked after defeating the first section of the campaign. Players can take their decks online and battle with other new and/or experienced players across the globe. Unfortunately, the exclusion of popular Magic 2015 features like sealed drafts as well as every other multiplayer mode other than Free for All will surely irk many a Magic 2015 fan.
But while this game certain has its ups and downs, it’s the dreaded microtransactions that really kill it this year.
This game is as pay-to-win as it gets. You can consider yourself solid to good Magic: The Gathering player, but unless you’re willing to shell out the coin for the top-tier cards, then don’t bet on beating many people when you eventually start to take your game online.
Instead, you’ll likely find yourself cursing up a storm at the fact that you always seem to get matched up against players who have spent money for their cards instead of players, like you, who simply either can’t afford or just don’t want to spend the extra money. It really makes no sense to charge players, for the non-mobile version of the game at least, $9.99 for a game where, in order to get any of the 10 best cards, you have to hope for them in booster packs that cost $1.99 each.
If you can get over the fact that, without paying extra, you won’t find much success online, Magic 2015 is a very good way of learning the game and figuring things out before stepping into the real world of magic. Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than a way to learn the game.
Still, once you get through the short campaign, it’s better if you would hop to either the physical card game or Magic: The Gathering Online because you’re sure to get a much more rewarding experience doing that then shelling out more money for this title.