Friday, July 1, 2011

All in the Cards - Magic 2012

So, I may be tapping into the deepest reaches of nerd-dom here, but I just love love Trading Card games, and while Magic 2012 (Full name:  Magic:  The Gathering:  Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012) may not be the perfect video game form of a TCG, it's acceptable at its worst, and excellent at its best.  There's just something about the strategy involved in a card game like this that gives it an allure I can't resist, not to mention the inherent "Collection" aspect of the game.  I've made it fairly clear in the past that I'm highly susceptible to collecting in games and the like, so you'd actually think that a TCG with a full-range of cards that you can gather would destroy me absolutely.

...And, in all honesty, it could.  I remember staying up til all hours of the morning playing Metal Gear Ac!d 2, grinding battles for points to buy booster packs just to try and get cards I didn't have already.  But the point of the matter here is that Magic 2012 (Nor its predecessor) is not one of those games.  Which is a blessing and a curse all in one.

Instead, what Magic 2012 does is starts you off with two Pre-Constructed Decks (that likely actually just mimic the decks they created for 12th edition) that you can use to try and unlock the rest of the ten available decks through campaign mode.  And as you use, and win, with each deck, you unlock up to 16 more cards per deck that you can swap out with cards in the deck.  Bare minimum deck is 60 cards, so when you unlock everything, you can have a 76 card deck, but, for a more optimized experience, it's heavily advised that you pare it down to 60 again, using your own judgment to decide what you need and what you don't need.

Doing some quick math here, every deck starts with 60 cards, with about 25 of them being lands, and with copies of cards, you can generally take that number down quite a bit still.  So let's figure on there being about 20 cards per deck being unique, not to mention the unlockables (which are sometimes copies as well.)  Bump the number up to, being generous, about 28.  Times that by 10, you get 280, which seems like a good number.  That's the number of unique cards I'm figuring are in the base game, or something of a rough guess, at least.  Every deck is different of course, but it's a fairly simple guesstimate anyway.  $10 for 280 unique cards is pretty good!  Even though you can't really mix and match them like you can with physical cards.

....Getting back to the point, is that Magic 2012 offers a fair bit of bang for your buck (especially if you got it on the Playstation Plus sale like I did.  Sure it was only a couple bucks less, but, well, I saved a couple of dollars) considering the Multi-player is quite well set-up, and there is a rather full campaign.  Pictured above is the campaign path, or at least one of them, with each battle with a planeswalker (the dots with faces in them) offering either a new deck to use or a pass to one of the other two 'campaigns', titled Archenemy and Revenge.  While I haven't played those yet, I took a look at the Archenemy board and it, well, looks kind of like the campaign board.  So even if you don't have any friends who'd geek out with you in a TCG, you can still play it.

Or, if you do have friends to play it with, you can.  And possibly lose spectacularly.

So if you're looking for a TCG game and don't mind minimal customization, consider this an endorsement for Magic 2012.  Once you get used to the flow of the game, it really captures the essence of playing face-to-face.  And speaking of, apparently there's an option where you can actually use your Playstation Eye to sort of Video Chat during matches online like only a few other PSN titles that I can think of (Hustle Kings being one of them.  I think.) can do.  Which is actually pretty neat, if you're playing with someone you know personally, or if you're just not camera shy.

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