Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, iOS
Developer: Leaping Lizard Software
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Magic 2014 Review (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, iOS)
Magic: The Gathering – Duals of the Planeswalker has became something of a staple of the release calendar for the last few years. It’s a franchise that continues to grow with each entry, in the form of new cards, new modes, and new tweaks. But can the franchise continue to grow while maintaining a high grade of quality? Magic 2014 looks to answer those questions with a resounding yes.
The core gameplay of Magic 2014 ultimately remains the same as past iterations, but given its source material, this is understandable. New players to the world of Magic: The Gathering will find the tutorial perfect for learning in the ins and outs of Magic, while veterans will be welcomed with new game modes and features, along with higher production values. But whether a newcomer or otherwise, both sets of players will undoubtedly appreciate the general finesse and fluidity of Magic 2014.
The biggest addition to the franchise is the much-requested ability to fully customize decks. It may sound minor, but the ability to customize the land count in a deck is a fantastic addition to the game. It’s a feature that adds an extra layer of depth to the core game, allowing players to play how they want , but mostly it’s a testament to how small touches in each yearly update of Magic can result in a hugely positive impact on the games.
The other additions to the game come in the shape of a new campaign mode and sealed play. The newest version of the campaign adds a storyline (along with encounters), and while said storyline acts as nothing more than filler between battles, it is a nice addition to what was a rather hollow mode in previous games. Meanwhile, the aforementioned ‘Encounters’ matches are special bouts with a challenge or ruleset being thrown into the mix. These encounters start off simple enough but become a true challenge towards the end, requiring strategy and a keen eye in order to overcome them.
Sealed play sees players creating a deck from scratch after opening booster packs. It’s possibly the closest you can get to having that true Magic deck-building experience without actually going out and buying packs from stores. As the player goes through Sealed Play mode they earn more booster packs, and this of course allows players to create a more in-depth deck. Sealed play is a great mode for those looking to push their skills and knowledge past the core game offered in campaign mode. Winning games with set decks is one thing; creating a deck with random cards is another.
The single player offerings in Magic 2014 justify the £6.99 asking price alone. They act as a perfect tool for introducing players into the world of Magic, but they also allow veterans to sharpen up. It’s almost like Magic 2014 was intended to entertain Magic fans while acting as the perfect learning tool to would-be players. The extra production values allow single player modes to dazzle with life, and Magic no longer feels like a static turned-based game.
On the other hand, multiplayer remains much of the same as last year’s offering. Sealed Play can also be enjoyed online and acts as the most enjoyable multiplayer mode to play. Magic 2014 plays just as smoothly online than it does in single player.
Overall, Magic 2014 is yet another improvement in the franchise: the various tweaks make the core game feel genuinely better, allowing players to have more control over their decks and play styles; the tutorials on offer are just as good as ever, giving new players the chance to quickly learn the rules of Magic‘s core play while satisfying franchise veterans at the same time, the spruced-up campaign mode plays a part in vastly entertaining the player; and Sealed Play acts as a much more enjoyable, if a little overwhelming, experience for new players the first time they play it. But perhaps one of the game’s biggest draws is that for £6.99 you simply cant go wrong with Magic 2014, because as a new player it’s a fantastic way to learn the game, and as a veteran, it’s a hugely enjoyable experience with plenty of replay value on offer.
Magic 2014 Review (PC, Xbox 360, PS3, iOS),