Understanding of Magic is not required to comprehend this review.
For the sake of clarity: the card game known as Magic: The Gathering, will be abbreviated as MTG, while the video game Magic 2015: Duels of The Planes Walkers will be abbreviated as M15.
Thank god for Hearthstone. Not since Solitaire has there been such a successful digital card game, but most card games don’t have the same success. More specifically, I am referring to M15. Before I get to M15, let me talk about the big problem with card games going digital.
The 2000’s to now
When I was a kid, the biggest thing in school was Yugioh. For those who never got into Yugioh, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. The card game spawned a cartoon, a movie, and of course, video games. Even as a kid, I hated the games for failing at the one concept they should have gotten right: imitating the actual card game. Flash forward to 2014, and here we are. An older, wiser, college educated yet still childish Quark, who still plays MTG. As someone who loves the game, not for how complicated it is, but for its “easy to learn, impossible to master” style, I had to check out M15. I’ve heard good things of the series before, but was always turned away as it was nothing like playing the actual card game. However, is Magic 2015 different from it’s predecessors?
I played two rounds of M15 to realize that I had seen enough. This game, with its over-reliance on in-game apps, just sucked the soul out of me. What we have here is a poor man’s equivalent of MTG. A game, where at its most basic core may play like MTG, but it is not. Let me explain by breaking down what makes the card game fun as compared to the lifeless zombie that is M15.
The Card Game vs The Video Game
The Card Collection- In MTG, there are literally thousands of cards to use to create a deck from. In M15, there are only cards from the past few years of Magic to use. However my complaint isn’t from the lack of cards, but the cards used. There are only 298 total cards in M15. That is pathetic. They should have used a single block of cards, like the popular Return to Ravnica where creating decks would have been much easier than the random amalgamation of cards they decided to throw in for no reason. This becomes an issue when you get to customizing decks.
In MTG, you can make your deck any way you want. All monsters and buffs, all sorcery with few monsters, it doesn't matter. You aren't limited to one deck, and even the most casual of MTG players has more than one deck to play with. With M15, you are forced to pick a pre-made deck and use it for the remainder of the game. After battles, you will get cards, but most of the time they will be cards that literally cannot be put into your deck. The only feasible way to make more than one deck is to spend real money in the store.
Price/ Buying Cards
MTG is expensive, but I at least feel better spending four dollars on something tangible as compared to M15 where it’s the the same price just for mediocre cards, most of which I can't use with my ONE deck. In MTG, you are always guaranteed to get a pretty good rare card in every booster pack. Even if the card isn’t good right now, it will most likely have a use down the road. In M15, you better like what’s there, because that’s it. Also, you have to pay per set of stages, so to “beat” the game, you’ll be spending at least twenty dollars.
The interface for M15 is super streamlined and the iOS controls are the way to go, as compared to MTG where you have to worry about sloppy people and their disorganized side of the battlefield. Even with my gripes, M15 is the easiest way for someone to learn Magic. I could praise the actual gameplay for being just like MTG, but the fun dissipates after an hour (and the minute-long load times.) M15 does more harm than good to Magic as a whole. Many novices will come into M15 as their first experience, hate it, and never even try playing the much superior card game. I cast Murder at instant speed on Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers.