Not Magic: the Gathering (disappointing)
Opalescent wrote this review on .
However, a game's bane is that it needs to impress in a lot more than just technical proficiency. If this were a University project it'd get an A, but it's not. As a game, specifically as a collectible card game, it falls disappointingly short.
Firstly: the game, like all collectible card games, intends for its users to actually collect the cards. For some, this will be a put-off, as they will expect to be able to play decently with the cards they're given out of box. Being a long-time Magic: the Gathering player, I knew this to be false, but I can see this to be a potential put-off for many players. It would have been better to have handed the purchaser several random packs instead of a very mediocre starter deck, so that the purchaser could have the visceral joy of constructing their own decks (as well as having the joy of possibly being lucky enough to get an awesome card in a booster pack).
The gameplay has a much slower pace than Magic: the Gathering. Gone is the concept of mana coming from cards, instead coming in at a steady rate of two-per-turn automatically. The problem is that there are very few mana-accelerating cards in the game, meaning that high-mana cards tend to be almost impossible to bring down. Magic the Gathering "Timmy" types will typically be very disappointed.
Graphically, the game is impressive. Each card has a unique animation, which is very good at adding character to each card. The sound can get a bit grating (especially the music), but otherwise, the gameplay seems solid if a bit staid.
Frankly I can't see why the whole Playstation 3 angle needed to be brought into it. I could see them doing this with Yu-Gi-Oh (since the Anime already established much of what the cards would look like), but the way they designed this game, it really feels like they tried very hard to make the game look impressive on the PS3 without realizing that a huge chunk of what makes a good card game is gameplay. For instance, the cloth game-map is a bit of a head-scratcher; does it want to be a card game or a board game? They don't usually match very well, and in this case I think it didn't really work.
The game is certainly not a very good Playstation 3 game (if you like tactical combat like this, wait for Final Fantasy), and as a card game, it's not as deep or tactical as Magic: the Gathering, Pokemon, or Yu-Gi-Oh. There are certain gimmicks that the user needs to understand that really seem tacked-on so as to make it more obvious that the Playstation Eye is "needed", such as the whole idea of fields and card-types, but the whole game would have been much stronger, in my opinion, if they had simply made a solid collectible card game, and just used the Eye to show the monsters duking it out on-screen, the way the Anime for Yu-Gi-Oh represented that game.