Another key feature is, of course, the addition of more modern cards that will release as part of the 2012 Magic: the Gathering core set. Yes, even in the virtual world, you can't avoid the good old fashioned (and costly!) pattern of trading card game iteration.
The online portion of the game has received really only one notable improvement: You can now play the game's Two-Headed Giant mode online. In the original, you could only play the frantic two-on-two matches locally -- being able to do so without being within punching distance of one another makes the co-op experience a much more accessible (and safe!) way to play.
For many, the inability to import any cards or decks from the previous game is likely going to be the sequel's biggest drawback. It's disappointing, not only because of all the hours returning players assumedly spent grinding for cards in the first game, but also because some of the new decks lack the punch of their O.G. counterparts. What good is the ability to almost completely customize my decks if it's simply not a fun deck to use, or is far less competitive than it was in the last game?
It's small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, however. Stainless Games has improved on the previous game in almost every way: There's way more content, a slicker interface and even more cards to tamper around with. The only real disappointment is losing all of those hours spent in the previous game, and the earlier edition decks it offered. With all of the expansions, the game offered much more variety -- something I don't doubt will eventually happen in Planeswalkers 2012 -- but for a card game that's designed to encourage customization and coming up with your own strategy, not having that from the outset is a slight disappointment.
For those who tore through the last game and are hungry for more, the inclusion of Archenemy, an online Two-Headed Giant mode and some new cards to play with are features worth the price of admission. However, if you're only interested in the odd game of Magic here and there, the first game will suit your needs just fine. It boils down from what you want from Wizards' timeless TCG franchise: With all of its expansion packs, the first game has greater card variety; but if you're looking for some innovative changes to the classic gameplay formula, Planeswalkers 2012 deserves your attention.
This review is based on a Steam review copy of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 for PC provided by Wizards of the Coast.
- Key specs
- Game format Optical disc, Downloadable
- Online features Multiplayer, Voice chat, Video chat, Store, Browser
- Drive capacity 250 GB
- Controller type Wired, Wireless
- Motion controls Accelerometer, Gyroscopic
- Video outputs HDMI (v1.3), RCA / composite
- Released 2012-09-25
Microsoft Xbox One