From Baseball to Marvel, Card Collecting has been around FOREVER!! (<–Sandlot Style) Once the introduction of the TCG (Trading Card Game) Card collecting went to a new level. It wasn’t only about having a Frank Thomas Rookie Card (Okay just showed my age there), it was about getting that Death Star Card. That one card that would just make your deck the most powerful force to be recokon with. Well Cardboard Crack has evolved sense then manifesting through various online options, from complete gameplay to just being able to get in game items. Magic the Gathering has tried the online portion and is now setting it’s sights to the XBLA Community. How does the game actually compare to it’s Card Counterpart?
The Gameplay is much to what you would expect if you have ever played Magic. The area that this game really shines is the usability. I myself have played various iterations of Magic and decided that it was time to test the Game’s UI. I skipped the tutorial and jumped right into the gameplay. Right away it was very clear that the UI was excellent. It only took me about 3 rounds to discover how everything worked. My favorite aspect of it was the ability to look up particular rules built around the deck I was using. You do this by highlighting a card and clicking RB. This will then bring up a brief description of the cards and any rules pertaining to ability i.e. Trample. This works for both your cards and your opponents. Another interesting thing was the press Y to Continue and the Timer. The Continue feature is used when you opponent plays a card more like a verification that you read it. During some Phases though there is a Timer which helps keep games from lagging. You have ability to stop the timer but it was nice to see the combination of having both Beginner and Advanced mixed together to make a nice flow for Gameplay. The only area that I was a tad disappointed in was the Card Customization. Your limited to the Decks they supply to you and there isn’t much customization. One of the things I liked about the Yu Gi Oh games was the idea of buying packs and customizing you deck. In this game your simple given a card for the deck your using when you win a match. This makes things a little tougher to get a super strong Deck going. That being said that does help when playing online keeping the Decks relatively similar.
The Graphics were surprisingly nice, I wasn’t sure what to expect in this area. Cards all look super clean and crisp. The Text is really easy to read and the artwork really shines on a HDTV. There were some other graphical elements that were added to make you aware of what was going on in the game. It was actually a nice change up from other TCG Games I’ve played, usually there is an attempt at making a CG Version of the creature you summon. In Magic they just do element effects to signify that a monster is being summoned or a attack is being made. THe UI was also fantastic in the graphics area, everything was really simple to understand at just a glance on what was going on. It still kept the Magic theme as well making it a really nice blend of UI and Graphical Elements.
The Sound is the only area where the game kinda lacks. There is a Music Track that just loops, which is fine one of the nicer features of the Xbox 360 is playing you own music. While the music isn’t terrible in the game it’s far from entertaining. The SFX are pretty standard and nothing really stands out. Just your general slashing sounds.
Overall this is a great version of Magic the Gathering. I found the most entertaining feature the lack of having to consult the rule book about a move someone has tried to make. It kinda took all the stress from the game and just keep the core part that you love. The lack of Deck Customizing is a tad disappointing but the game still shines a a good counterpart to a already strong game. Hopefully in the future the game will get some DLC fun.