Review: Magic: The Gathering 2012 (PSN)

Review: Magic: The Gathering 2012 (PSN)

To summarize in one paragraph: playing Magic on a video game console against the computer is akin to playing against the biggest jerk you associate with.

I used to be big into Magic back in high school. Well, okay, maybe not “BIG” with capital letters and quotation marks, but I knew how to play the game. I had my own deck, I had some good cards, I knew general strategies. So yeah, sometimes some friends and I would get together and play a fantasy card game.

Now I say all of this because I want you to know where I am coming from with this review. I like the game of Magic. It’s not a bad game. And while this is a pretty faithful recreation of the physical card game, the limitations of it being a video game make it such a lesser experience. Please note going forward that I shall be talking about this game like you, the reader, are at least a little bit aware of the game of Magic. This is because this game is mostly built for Magic veterans, as it will kick a newbie’s ass. Speaking of which…

Let’s start with single player for a second, you and I. First of all, it’s hard. It takes all the things that can make a trading card game cheap and throws it all at you. I can barely compete against the fourth guy in the main campaign. He has a card for everything. I stack my deck with the best cards I have and he has a counter for every single one of them. For example, I have a white deck that has a card that adds one strength and one defense every time an opponent’s card taps. Well, this fourth guy bastard has a nice supply of cards that can send that card back to my hand, thus resetting all that progress. Or he has a card that counters any creature spell, thus sending my prize guy to the graveyard before I even get him out. Or, if I use one of my cards to immobilize his best creatures, he has a card that sends all cards back to their owner’s hands, thus destroying my spell. Again, this is the fourth guy. On the normal difficulty setting.

But maybe I just suck at Magic. There was a very good reason I fell out of the game in late high school. Two of my friends were really good at it, had the best cards and just wrecked me every time I played. That does not make the game of Magic bad, just me. So, okay, I accept that. Here’s the problem. The game isn’t just hard. The computer is a dick. Playing this game is like playing against the most dick Magic player you know.

One of the big dick thing this game does is keep a strict timer. You have to make a move dammit and the game will not wait for your slow ass to get around to doing it. Did you drop something? Turn away from the screen for a few seconds? I hope you pressed pause. I hope you didn’t assume that the game will give you some time. It won’t. Now the good news with this particular problem is that you can turn the timer off, replacing it with a not-that-annoying-but-still-somewhat-irritating “Press the button to continue!” prompt every five seconds. It’s much more acceptable in the long run.

The biggest blow against this game is that you can’t build your own deck. Now like I’ve said, its been a while since I was in the ol’ Magic game, but from what I remember crafting your own sweet ass deck is the best part of the game. Making your own strategies, picking cards that will absolutely destroy your enemies…hopefully…that is a thrill. This game gives you pre selected decks that you can unlock new cards for. But come on, that’s not the same. You know that’s not the same game. Why must you do things like this? Like I said, the game is a dick. It’s like playing against a guy with a ton of great cards who then tells you that you have to use one of the pre-constructed decks he made. Why? Because he’s an over controlling prick, that’s why.

Now I don’t want to keep running on about the faults, bitching like a little five year old. The good news…and bad…is that this is pretty much the best a straight game of Magic can be as a video game. I understand why there is a timer. I understand that the computer is hard because it’s a God damn computer. The problem here is that the card game, the physical card game, is a much better prospect if you want to play Magic. Playing with some buds, a more casual experience, that is the preferred option here.

But of course, you can’t play the physical card game online, can you? That’s the big draw for this game. You can play Magic with anyone anywhere. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Yeah, you would. And this is pretty much the best an online Magic game will get. Well, besides not being able to make your own deck. But the actual playing of the game, it’s pretty fun against human people. You also get some neat little features, like a few extra matches where you are royally screwed and have to win in one move. These little puzzles make you really think and make you learn some of the better strategies found in the game.

Now to make sure that this is not just a me thing, that this game is actually irritating to the seasoned Magic player, I had a seasoned Magic player take a crack at this game. After a day of playing he said that, while it is an accurate representation of Magic, the lack of deck building, the stupid timer and the inability to go back if you screw up really hurt the experience. Also, he got his ass kicked. Hard. When I asked him what score he would give the game, he said a six out of ten. Well, that sounds good to me.

Review

ProsCons
Its a pretty accurate recreation of the classic card game. Good graphics and tons of options for online multiplayer battles. I also really liked the puzzle games.Unfortunately, this game is a bitch. I think so. My Magic playing buddy says so. Its just a bunch of little things, like the harsh timer, the unyielding phases that don't tolerate any mistakes and the absolutely brutal single player game that, when added together, make a rather annoying whole.
Rating
60 out of 100
  • Jchodes

    With the timer you can (PS3) pause it by hitting Square at any time… Beyond that and missing that you can reset the game over and over (rather easily) until you get a cherry hand I’m with you. Fat MEH

  • Jchodes

    With the timer you can (PS3) pause it by hitting Square at any time… Beyond that and missing that you can reset the game over and over (rather easily) until you get a cherry hand I’m with you. Fat MEH

  • You’re playing a white deck, there is your problem. Try Green, Black, or Red as those tend to have the better cards in the 2012 block.

  • You’re playing a white deck, there is your problem. Try Green, Black, or Red as those tend to have the better cards in the 2012 block.

  • uest

    4th guy is blue. that’s what blue’s for. stop moaning.

  • uest

    4th guy is blue. that’s what blue’s for. stop moaning.

  • uest

    @Steven Finch@604142444abcb08b1d9a7d4b73bc5a3b:disqus Nah green loses to white. Not in the prequel, but it loses in 2012.

  • uest

    @Steven Finch@604142444abcb08b1d9a7d4b73bc5a3b:disqus Nah green loses to white. Not in the prequel, but it loses in 2012.

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