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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wizards of the Coast to release new Duels of the Planeswalkers game

    KRT LIFESTYLE STORY SLUGGED: MAGICTHEGATHERING KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY PHIL VELASQUEZ/CHICAGO TRIBUNE (January 28) Jon Finkel holds his cards at the Magic The Gathering Pro Tour at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Illinois. (lde) 2003 (Diversity)

    Magic the Gathering is one of the oldest trading card games to remain popular. Countless people have grown up learning to play and it remains either a part of their life or a fond memory from their childhood. But part of staying popular means keeping up with modern digital trends.

    Wizards of the Coast, the game’s publisher, realizes this. That’s where “Magic the Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013” comes into the picture.

    There have been other Magic games before, but none quite as polished as their latest effort. Though previous adaptations of the game have had some problems, this recent installment is as true as a video game could be.

    As with its predecessors, “Magic 2012” pits players against a series of opponents — some mini bosses and others dimension traveling Planeswalkers — leading up to the ultimate enemy, the last remaining Elder Dragon, Nicol Bolas. Players will have access to 10 new decks this time around, with cards from throughout the game’s history. Even cards from the paper game’s yet-to-be-released set, “Magic 2013,” will make an early appearance.

    Gameplay is typically just a standard game of “Magic,” which can be as complex or as simple as a player desires. New players will find plenty of hints from the game if they need them, but veterans can tear through without a word from the game. What’s more, a new feature allows players to select exactly what lands are tapped when playing their cards. This may seem like a minor change, but it’s actually a huge help when planning out strategies.

    There are plenty of other new features to get excited about, too. Developers added in a handful of statistics to make creating decks a far simpler process. Each card has its own ranking in certain categories, such as how strong it is or how easy it is to play. And when the deck is done, players can look to see such numbers as how many cards of each mana cost are in the deck and how many spells there are versus creatures. All in all, it leads to more balanced and effective decks.

    As for gameplay features, during the campaign players will face two challenges, called Encounters, between the mini-boss and the Planeswalker. These challenges are against enemies with very specific deck strategies and smarter AI, forcing players to adapt their game plan. Game puzzles have also returned, and the interface overall has seen improvement, stylistically and from a functionality standpoint.

    Wizards also included an entirely new mode of play, called Planechase, which adds an additional dimension to the game. In it, multiple opponents are pitted against each other while a special deck in the middle of the board decides where the battle takes place. Each location offers different benefits, and each turn players can roll a special die to either try and change the location to one more beneficial to their deck, or to try and activate a greater “chaos” effect.

    Fans won’t have to wait long to play, as the game will be released on June 20 in the Xbox Live arcade, Playstation Network, on Steam and, in possibly the most exciting new feature, for iPad. Those who purchase the game also receive a voucher to redeem a special booster pack at their local game store, which will welcome new players to the community of paper players. Beat the game and there’s an invitation for something special happening later this year. I won’t say what, but if you can get that far in the game, you’ll be interested.

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