So I was given a copy of Magic The Gathering – Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2013 on the Playstation 3 to review, I will be up front and say that I have never played any form of Magic The Gathering before, so I am coming at this from the angle of a complete noob!
This is the third incarnation of Duels Of The Planeswalkers from the developers Stainless Games, having not played the previous games it is hard for me to compare differences, but as a complete beginner, I feel that they have included a very good tutorial, which outlines the basic way to play, which is split into three different phases which are, the main phase, combat phase and another main phase, you have to play lands before you can cast spells as each spell costs Mana and each land you play produces this, but you can only play one land each turn, each player has 20 points at the start of a game and when either you or your opponents reaches 0 it is game over.
Once you get the hang of it, the basic play is fairly simple to execute, and with lesser opponents I seemed to fair quite well, the problems began when I attempted the Planechace campaigne, which pits you against three other AI opponents with an additional deck of cards in the middle, and I guess this is where knowing the nuances of the game would have been advantageous, as I felt totally out of my depth and struggled to make any inroads even after several attempts, and no matter how good the tutorial is, I feel that players new to the game, really need a real person to teach them how to play.
That being said this is a very well put together game, the decks of cards available are interesting and varied and have the most beautiful illustrations, and I would imagine that if I had the inclination to go online and play other players, it would hopefully work very well, the trouble is, I think I would be terrified just to contemplate playing online as I feel totally intimidated at the very thought of it.
Overall Stainless games have in their latest incarnation made a game that is more accessible to the masses, but even with the added tutorial I feel that I still need to get online and research how to play the game, if you imagine a person who has never played chess before, being given a set and the simple rules of how to play and telling them to get going, they would be able to play but not well, this is the same, I can play but not well, but I can see what a great game this is and with some persistence and tuition, I might even learn to love it, but that is going to take some time and effort on my part and for most other people new to the series.