Fun and rewarding, but feels a bit too random and unfair at times. Only reconmended for fans.

User Rating: 6.5 | Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 PS3
I know of the Magic: The Gathering card games, but I never got the chance, or will, to play them. They look fun, but also very strategic, which isn't always a strong side for me. I don't know any person who plays it, and… it feels a bit nerdy. I know, I know. No one can have a huge game collection and not call himself a nerd, but playing it makes me feel like I'm an even bigger nerd. I guess it's the same thing some people thinks about World of Warcraft. Playing it makes you feel like you're a huge nerd and people will make fun of you for it. So it came to my surprise when my brother was given this game for free (why? Uhh… beats me, but it is thoroughly legal, so don't worry), so I decided to play it, because why not? It's sort of new, and it's free, and that's more than enough reason to play.

Magic The Gathering – Duel of the Planewalkers 2012 is a strategic card game. You have different cards that do different things. Monster cards deal damage, while enchantment cards enhance monster card's powers, and some allows you to remove some of the enemy's cards. Now, before you can use any cards at all, you need to use your land cards, which basically work like mana. Aka, if you use a certain amount of land cards, you can use your cards. Simple system, yet all I can really do for confused readers is consult the game's tutorial, which does a better job of explaining then I ever could.

So, you get three campaigns you can fight. You get "Campaign" (wooo, originally), "Archenemy" & Revenge. "Campaign" basically lets you fight against 11 enemies, in one on one matches. "Archenemy" is the same, though it's you and two others versus one guy. Sounds a bit mean to the enemy, but it's still difficult. Then there's "Revenge", which is basically "Campaign Rematch", except the enemies have gotten their hands on even better cards than before.

Difficulty depends on how good you are, with your given deck. In theory it is possible to win with every deck you get, even if it's a crappy one. I say "in theory" because being good or not doesn't always depend on how good you are. Sometimes, your enemy took out the only card you could use, and you don't have enough land cards to use your other monster cards, and because the game randomly selects what card you get in your turn, you don't get the land cards you so sorely need. This seems mean, considering there are moments where your enemy can draw multiple land and monster cards in a row.

At times, it's all based on luck and the deck you're given in the beginning. One match, I spent half an hour on and I lost (though I did give my enemy a run for his money). Yet when I retried, I won after 5 minutes and he barely had the chance to do anything to me. That's how the difficult is. At times it's hard and feels a bit unfair, and at other times it feels too easy. There's challenges in "Campaign" and "Archenemy" , which requires you to think extra carefully and extra hard to solve the current situation (or puzzles, as they in reality are), but these can be really difficult. It's not so much that it's unfair, but some of the things you have to do to solve that specific situation are ridiculously complicated, and involves various techniques that most might not even get to think about.

The enemy AI isn't dumb (though they are lucky with the cards they get at times, as mentioned earlier), so if they spot a weakness in you, they will take advantage of it. The only weird thing however is this: Whenever the enemy is about to attack you, you can use your monster cards (the one that has entered the fight) to block, which means they'll take all the damage instead (unless you got special cards that can't be blocked or that said card has an ability that damages you anyway). It's effective to stay alive for a bit longer in the game, to the point where you intentionally let some of your monster cards die so you can live. Yet the enemy doesn't do this. If you got a card that has higher health and attack than whatever monster cards your enemy has, he won't sacrifice them when you're attacking him. Sounds like the game tries to give you a chance, but it is a bit weird.

Despite these difficult (or balancing?) issues, the game is quite rewarding to play. Removing enemy monster cards and damaging the enemy player to a dangerously low health is satisfying and winning is even more satisfying. The teammates AI in "Archenemy" are actually good and they will, like the enemy, take advantage of any weakness if possible. But even if that isn't enough, you can always switch out the AI partners with 2 real players, online, or offline. That's what saving the game, the sastifying feeling you get when you finally win, and the actual fun you'll be having when playing it. It is a pretty short game, though again it depends on how good you are and how fair the game is to you at times- It only took me around 5 hours to complete the game fully, and sadly, it didn't feel like it was worth it. Maybe it's because you don't earn anything, or maybe it's because the final boss went down as easy and as fast as the numerous random wins I made earlier.


Graphics & Sound
There really isn't a lot of graphics in the game. There's a drawing like cut-scene in the beginning, which should be ignored because there's no story of any sort in the game itself. The cards at least have some good artwork, but the menus are a bit boring to look at. There are actual game graphics, but that's mostly in the background when selecting enemies, and they look like their picked up from a PSP game. The sound is meh. The voice acting in the beginning is alright, but that's about it for the sound. The music during the matches and menu is… meh.


Magic: The Gathering – Duel of the Planeswalkers 2012 is a fun and rewarding game, make no mistake on that. But at times, the wins often feels too random, and the enemy getting an unfair advantage. If you're a fan of the card game, you'll probably like the game a lot more than non-fans. It's still fun for non-fans, but it's not really worth buying if you aren't not into it.