I remember seeing the cards in my youth when they first surfaced, the concept was intriguing, but never enough for me to part with some cash. At the time I had other important things to attend to like a SNES, Warhammer figure painting and most likely something called beer.
Decades later and Magic the Gathering has had a good couple of years after sliding across the table to a digital side of life, now the title is reaching audiences on many formats and from the rumbles of the internet is still popular with a decent following. I booted the game up with some anticipation, the buzz is good and I know people that rate the game, people that would suggest it has a certain something.
The name and premise is quite grand and with some pretty dramatic fantasy artwork to support it first impressions are good, but you just cannot get away from the fact that Magic is a fancy pants Top Trumps. There are stats aplenty and effects or unit types that can be stacked against your opponent, but for a person that has never been bitten by the bug there is nothing here to encourage me.
I don’t doubt there are deeper strategies at play, but I question the overall effectiveness and whether being used to analysis roles professionally just helps me see past the ogres and into the trudging effect of the attacks. Duels appear to be battles of attrition where the lead may change due to a lucky strike, but there always feels like an element of control on the deck, restraining any extremes that may be available.
This version of the games offers various play modes, single and multi player, but I expect that there is a hardened core of Magic fanatics that would obsessively destroy anybody that stumbles into their path.
I guess it’s pretty obvious that Magic is not my bag, and although I really do appreciate the production values that have gone into it, although without being a member of the Magic faithful I can’t get excited by it. A duel while perhaps unlocking some in game advancement never feels rewarded particularly, in these days of sandbox wonders a card or board game has to be special to capture a console gamer, especially a newcomer to the series. I would even go as far as suggesting the card based mini-game in 2011’s Rage was more fun to play.
For me it is a slow and ponderous exercise, for a card carrying Magic fan it is most likely liquid Mana in an I.V. drip direct from a Ley Line.