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Raine's been gaming for as long as he can remember. It all started back with his video gaming roots, and as he got older he transitioned into tabletop. A lover of all games, some of his favorites include Pathfinder, Battlestar Galactica, Magic: the Gathering, D&D Attack Wing, Regnum Angelica, and Warmachine/Hordes. Raine's been writing for many years, and loves being a part of the gaming industry.

Written Review – Magic 2014 Duels of the Planeswalkers (PC)

DotP 2014

Magic: the Gathering is one of the most popular trading card games in existence, and throughout its time the game has gone through many different outlets. Players conventionally play on the tabletop, but they also have Magic Online. For the players who want to enjoy some casual gaming in the digital world without having to buy packs, there’s Duels of the Planeswalkers. The most recent edition of DotP, Magic 2014, boasts a whole new set of cards, challenges, and achievements.

In Duels of the Planeswalkers, players will choose a deck and take it through various different challenges. These challenges are mainly one-on-one bouts against an A.I. You’ll either be facing another rival Planeswalker, or against a deck with a singular theme. As you move up through the ranks you’ll unlock cards for the decks you use, earn achievements, and unlock other in-game items like avatars. The decks you receive in-game are pre-built, though you can customize them by adding cards you earn through challenges.

DotP 2014 4

An example of Sealed Play in action!

The main difference between DotP 2013 and DotP 2014 is the addition of Sealed Play. This mode lets you crack open booster packs to create a deck that you use throughout a campaign. Throughout this campaign you’ll go up against six different Planeswalkers and earn more packs through your journey. Once you’ve tested your deck out against these A.I. opponents, you can take the deck online and play against others. There are some limits to this, and I’ll cover them in my opinions section in a bit.

DotP 2014 2

As usual, the graphics help keep the game heated!

Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 includes a new layout, which is an upgrade from its previous version. Your mouse can be used to click on different options on the interface, abandoning the scrolling that players were bothered with in the previous editions of the game. The new design offers a much more open space to work with, and it’s a lot less strain on the eyes when playing.

If you’ve played any of the other Duels of the Planeswalkers titles, then you’ll most likely enjoy this one. It incorporates everything that worked from 2013 and fixed some of the things that didn’t. Honestly the game is a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy Magic: the Gathering right from your own console/PC right out of the gate. What’s even better, it’s a way to enjoy the game with friends who may have moved away or are no longer in your area. You won’t have the same level of customization that you do with the tabletop or Magic Online versions, but the core gameplay is still there.

Speaking of customization, let’s go back to Sealed Play. As I mentioned, it’s about the only new addition to DotP 2014 when compared to 2013. It’s a great addition as well, but there are some issues. When it comes to creating decks, you’re only allowed 2 deck slots. Now you can buy more, at $2 for a single deck slot or $9 for five slots. This might be alright if you could share cards between decks, but you can’t. Booster packs can’t be shared between your decks, and created decks can’t be deleted. This forces you to spend money to create more decks, and monetizes a game that I feel shouldn’t be. That’s what Magic Online is for.

DotP 2014 3

You can choose your deck before a battle, so try different ones!

Another issue comes in the themed decks you’ll face along the way. Some of the themes you’ll go up against become really annoying and can make you ragequit in an instant. I feel like some of the themes outright abuse the game’s rules, and it gets hard to enjoy a match when it seems that your opponent always draws the card they need when they need it. Things like this don’t happen all the time, but through playing enough I started to feel that the later duels had predetermined moves placed in them right from the get-go.

Don’t let all this get you down, however. I still had a lot of fun with the game and I think any Magic fan will too. It’s a great way to introduce the game to new players, and it’s a nice way to play the game with far away friends.  If Stainless and Wizards keep improving like they have been, I can see the Duels of the Planeswalkers series only getting better.

If you're a fan, this is for you.

If you’re a fan, this is for you.

 

The Good

  • New interface looks great
  • Addition of Sealed Play adds new play modes
  • Keeps all the things that worked from previous versions
  • Inexpensive way to enjoy Magic out of the gate

The Bad

  • Themed decks can get annoying
  • Has potential to suck money in Sealed Play with deck slots

Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for providing a copy of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 for review!

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3 Comments on “Written Review – Magic 2014 Duels of the Planeswalkers (PC)”

  1. johnheatz September 20, 2013 at 12:15 PM #

    Seems like I’m really going to have to get this, been postponing it for a while but this review kind of helped me decide about getting it

    • Raine September 20, 2013 at 12:16 PM #

      Glad we could help, that’s what we’re here to do!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Today in Board Games – Issue – #50 - September 23, 2013

    […] Duel of the Planeswalkers 2014 [PC] (Initiative: Tabletop) […]

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