Editor: Diane Hutchinson Editor@girlgamersuk.com

Magic The Gathering: Duel of the Planewalkers

Posted by TurtleGirl On August - 3 - 2009

I’ve played ‘Magic The Gathering Collectible card‘ game for years. Over time I’ve built up quite a reasonable sized deck. I’m pretty excited to try out ‘Magic the gathering: Duels of the Planewalkers‘ the new game on the Xbox 360, after all how different could it be?. As a wizard I like the idea of unleashing my demon creatures and creating devastating spells to my enemy, so I set forth on my journey. My first impressions of the game as I play in single player campaign mode is that it is very similar to the collectible card game. You and the computer both start out with 7 cards in your hand consisting of various creatures, spells, monsters and lands. Although sometimes I would end up with too much land and not enough creatures and visa versa. At this point you can choose if you want to take this deck or if you want to change it for another.

The gameplay is simple as you both take turns to place down your first mana card. This will resemble either a mountain, forest, plains, swamps or islands depending on what colour deck you chose. There is red, black, white, green or blue to choose from As you progress through the gameplay, each of you tapping the required lands to bring your creatures into play, it’s only then that the game really begins to get exciting.


I started off with a green deck in my hands in which I had a nice selection of monsters and spells from which I could choose from. Trying to do as much damage to the com, I prepared myself for battle and waited to see what damage the other wizard could inflict on me or my creature depending on the circumstances. Now I don’t mind saying this, but I’ve pretty much beaten a lot of creatures and monsters in my time with Magic, but this time round it seemed very difficult and that maybe it just wasn’t so easy to beat the computer. Gradually over time I did successfully win some battles and my ego may have taken a slight beating to the losses as well.


Although this game is a good one, I did find some of the gameplay a bit long and drawn out and I felt that increasingly frustrating. The battles that I did manage to conquer, I was rewarded with new cards to add to my deck and new decks were also discovered. I even managed to unlock a white deck which gave me plenty of flying creatures and some much needed healing spells. Over time you will come across many characters you have to defeat in order to progress through the game. Choosing your cards for your deck is the ultimate key to success in defeating the enemy. Certain decks have their own disadvantages and advantages.


I remember summoning some creatures only for the computer to completely take me out. You have to choose wisely when casting spells, as they are always in short supply. I experienced playing online too on Xbox Live where you can have a quick match or custom match with other people, but you need a lot of time. The online mode was enjoyable, but lengthy and it takes a while for everyone to take their turn.

In  local co operative mode you can team up together to battle the enemy. You each play simultaneously summoning your creatures and casting your spells and you have to share your life points between you. This means you have to do a great deal of communicating with each other to attack or block from the oncoming enemy. Team work is crucial and essential in this part of the game. It was pretty fun and we managed to defeat one of the boss’s at the end of each campaign.


The one thing that I feel is lacking when I played this game on the Xbox 360 is that I did miss the whole social aspect. This is why when I think back to playing Magic on the cards it was more of a social interaction and the whole motion of having that deck in your hands and thinking hard and physically laying them cards down has been lost in this game, because it’s all done on a computer and it kind of took the magic out of Magic for me, but that’s not to say it’s a game not worthy of your time. If you have loved Magic on the cards, then I recommend it on the Xbox 360. It does have a different feel to it and it’s not easy, but it’s definitely worth a go.

I rate this Xbox Live Arcade game 7 out of 10.



4 Responses so far
  1. StalkerB Said,

    I reached the opposite conclusion to you – If you loved M:TG on cards avoid this like the plague.

    No real customisation or deck building options, much less freedom than MTGO and the decks you’re given aren’t particularly fun to play.

    I’m not a hardcore competition player, I like my tribal decks and while I’ll netdeck the odd tier one normally I just play for a laugh.

    I’d say this is good if you’ve never played or if you’ve very limited experience as it visualises things like the stack very well and explains ‘interrupts’ (showing my age there).

    Ultimately I bought it without looking into it. If I knew it was going to not have any deck bulding options (even remove some of the ridiculous 7 mana green creatures you never get to play) then I wouldn’t have bought it.

    Posted on August 3rd, 2009 at 9:41 am

  2. GG Goblin Said,

    I, too, was disappointed at no real deck editing abilty. That is a shame. Maybe that is something they will bring out in the future as DLC along with new cards?
    But, being that I am in no way a hardcore player (and I would say much less of a hardcore player than StalkerB) , I found the game a lot of fun. The game is designed to be enjoyed by everyone, including those who have never played M:TG before. For those experienced in the game, it may be a little lacking, but being limited will make you change your tactics and put everyone on a level playing field. I have played against M:TG experts before, its no fun (unless you are a M:TG expert yourself)
    I think of the game as Magic: The Gathering Lite. It’s like the difference between the Gran Turismo campaign and arcade modes.

    Posted on August 3rd, 2009 at 10:11 am

  3. Steven Jones Said,

    The problem with any deck building, particually linked to DLC would be creating a tiered system where you wouldn’t stand a chance against anyone who had the money to buy all the DLC as someone who had bought none. I think the fixed decking in this game is intentioinal to create a nice level playing field for all players. Adding contect that isn’t availalbe to all will fragment the audience and make finding a battle all the more difficult.

    Posted on August 3rd, 2009 at 10:59 am

  4. StalkerB Said,

    @Steven Jones – I’ll guarantee that with DLC anyway they won’t be able to balance it so that every deck has a chance against the others. They’ve not even successfully balanced the decks that are in the game just now!

    All they’d need to do is release cards that have a track record of not being ‘broken’ and don’t do anything to out of the norm (which is limited by the system anyway).

    All I want from deck building is to be able to choose from the cards I have available. I don’t want 4x Craw Wurm, I don’t want any Craw Wurms! I just want to make a 40 or 60 card deck out of the cards available.

    I also don’t want to be limited to less than 4 of a certain card for no obvious reason. If I want 4x Loxoden Warhammers, let me use 4x, not the 1 that’s available in the story deck.

    I do still want it to be fair and wasn’t expecting anything too special but by removing the deck building element they’ve removed any sort of skill factor. Players will never learn how to pace a deck, balance mana etc and being a better player (which is limited only to deck building and understanding the now much reduced mechanics) will not have any advantage.

    So, why would anybody keep playing beyond the first few weeks? I gave up before completing the story with all the decks.

    Posted on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:58 am

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