Magic 2014 Review

Ignite your spark

Magic the Gathering turns 20 this year, and Stainless games is celebrating it with the release of Magic 2014. For the last four years Stainless games has been delivering one of the best table top games to ever exist, to our consoles. While going out to your local game shop, or comic shop, is the ideal way to play magic, it’s nice knowing you can just boot up your console and play. It also offers a cheaper, and simpler way to play. The Duels series has been as much of a success to new comers as it has been to veterans, with it’s challenging gameplay, and strategy.

Magic 2014 finally brings what fans have been asking for, deck construction. “Sealed Deck” is a form of tournament play, where the person opens six booster packs, and creates a deck with the cards he/she acquired from the packs. Now it is a bit limited, you can only use these created decks in the “Sealed Deck” campaign, and multiplayer. You are eventually awarded with extra boosters as you progress through the Sealed Campaign. Unfortunately, you are only limited to 2 decks, the rest of which you have to purchase. Decks are rated from terrible to awesome, but the deck’s rate is determined by a checklist, not your actual deck build. You can also change the decks name, and logo, which is a nice feature. With my first go, I made a Blue/Black deck, named Swamp Butt.

Campaign this year is a little different, it features an actual plot. While the plot doesn’t stand out, it’s a welcome addition. The campaign this year is actually the most challenging of all the previous campaigns. Each chapter represents a different plane, Innistrad, Zendikar, Shandalar, Alara, and Ravnica. For those who play Magic in real life, the campaign is a bit nostalgic as it takes you back to sets of yesteryear. The chapters are split into five fights, and one additional Planeswalker duel. The first four fighters of a chapter each have a certain strategy, the AI will play the same cards, in the same order, every time, and it’s up to you to figure out a way to stop it. The campaign really urges you to try out every deck, and it’s a breath of fresh air, as apposed to the previous games where I used Garruk’s deck throughout the entire game.

Challenges are back, and they are as difficult as ever. Some may require luck, others sheer skill. Multiplayer (the most important part of magic) is still a big part of Magic, unfortunately Archenemy and Planechase do not make a return, but thankfully Sealed Play is there to mend the wound. With online Sealed play, you will take one of the decks you constructed, and test it around the world. Even thought this is the fourth game of the series, there is still a fair share of bugs. Audio will sometimes cut in and out, loads will take longer than usual, gameplay will stutter, even the opening credits will stutter. It’s baffling to think that these bugs are still present, after 4 games.

Magic 2014 is the most rounded out game in the series, appealing to both hardcore veterans with sealed play, and new comers with the pre built decks. It offers enough challenge to those familiar, and enough detail and guidance to those new. It can be brutal at times, but with the right strategy, anything is possible. Unfortunately, Planechase and Archenemy do not make a comeback, and sealed decks are limited to 2, if you dont want to purchase other slots. Sealed deck is a long awaited feature, and while it is a little limited, it does not disappoint. Stainless Games managed to top last years entry, but the same bugs are still present. Whether you enjoy playing at your local store, or on your computer via Magic Online, Magic 2014 is a game all MTG lovers should play.

PROS FINAL

 

  • Sealed Deck, while a bit limited, is a great addition
  • Challenging, creative campaign
  • Well rounded decks

CONS FINAL

 

  • No Archenemy or Planechase
  • Buggy especially online lock ups during matches that end the game

Score: 4/5

Four

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About Erik Rodriguez

Erik is an Associate Editor at Empty Lifebar and former co-host of the Restless Gamers podcast. A huge fan of Star Wars and Western RPGs, Erik is always ready to poison food in an Elder Scrolls game and believes he is one with the force.