Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers Review

Almost as expected as a yearly sports update, we can expect a new Duels of the Planeswalkers update and so it is with Magic 2014.

If you have played any of the previous games, you’ll know what to expect. A fine digital representation of the physical and popular card game. With a few little twists and gameplay enhancements added with each new iteration.

It depends on how much you are invested into the series as to whether the 2014 update is worth your investment. It is very similar to 2013, but does have the updated cards. So if you are just a casual fan, then stick with 2013, you’ll get all you need from the experience from the older versions.

If you don’t have a previous version, then 2014 is just as good a place as any to jump in and see what all the fuss is about. It follows the same single player structure for the most part and does a fairly decent job of introducing the game’s mechanics before taking you into more challenging battles.

Once the single player campaign is beaten the 2014 version throws the Revenge Campaign at you, which essentially has you take on the more difficult to beat Planeswalkers. It takes out all the learning battles and straight up challenges your skills. It is a nice addition to the series and adds a little longevity to the single player.

Whilst the single player is well fleshed out, the meat of the game is in the multiplayer and once again this isn’t for the faint hearted, nor the beginners. You are up against real people, many of whom are dedicated to the series, both in digital and physical forms. You will get online and get beaten soundly. It is one hell of a learning curve, going from understanding the basics and beating the AI, to taking that online and trying to apply your knowledge to real opponents.

However, as with previous versions, it does feel very rewarding when you do get that win, or even run someone close. It isn’t just a feeling that you passed something by trial and error, or even just repeating something enough times that you eventually get somewhere. With every game played, you feel you have learned something new, taking on board another person’s approach to the game, eventually finding something that suits you.

There has been another little edition to the 2014 edition, with Sealed Deck Play. Basically this mode gives you various sealed booster pack, from which you must make a usable deck and take that into battle. It doesn’t level the playing field as such, as it can be pretty overwhelming for the non experienced player, but it does add an additional challenge for those who want it.

Magic 2014: Duels of the Planeswalkers is yet another excellent addition to the series, but whether you buy it depends on two things. How invested you are into the series as a whole. Does the idea of the updated cards for 2014 mean that much too you? Or are you just someone who enjoys a casual go now and again. There other factor is if you are totally new to the game, if so, you may as well go for the latest version.

Because of the hard and fast rules of the game in the real world, there is unlikely to be any real revolutionary changes with each passing edition, however the makers of the digital version do their best to make little evolutionary additions, that do offer some interesting new challenges, but it is never enough for the casual fans to buy year on year. It is still an excellent game though.