Thursday, June 25, 2009

Magic: The Gathering on XBOX Arcade

I, for many years have opined the fact that I can no longer play Magic on a regular basis.  In College I had a large group of friends who played all the time.  Every Thursday Night was Magic Night;  we'd Get Drunk and play a 6-8 player game until the wee hours of the morning.  It was awesome.  After school I've always been mildly depressed that I could no longer play; Mainly because my pride will not allow me to go to the local comic shop and play with the 12 year-olds.  That for me seemed to be entering a new level of Loserdom that my ego just couldn't handle; this despite my geekyness in other areas.  Now that has all changed.

Recently I downloaded the new XBOX 360 Magic game from the XBOX Arcade.  I was skeptical at first because Wizards of the Coast's previous attempts at capturing Magic in video game form have been far lacking.  So far I've been impressed.  There are 3 primary game modes: Campaign, Challenge, and Live Arcade.  There is also Co-Op play, a Tutorial, and a Mentoring program.    

Campaign mode is a basic versus mode against the computer.  You start out with a Green and a Red Deck.  Each of your opponents have a specialized color deck so  you can choose the deck that best suits your opponent.  When you win matches you unlock new cards for your deck, and beating certain opponents unlocks new decks.  Overall I've played this mode the most, mostly because I've been refreshing my memory on the game rules before I start playing other people.  It's also important to play through these, because gaining new cards and decks helps you have a bigger bag of tricks when you play real people.  

Challenge Mode puts you in dire situations and forces you to figure out the best strategy to win the game.  It will start you with Low Life and a strong opponent breathing down your neck.  You'll have a Hand of cards and some Mana on the table, and you instructions are to figure out, with the cards in your hand, how to beat you op pent in one move.  It is challenging, and it's a fun way to learn strategy and realize new way to use cards to do maximum damage per hand.  

Live Arcade is pretty much what it says.  The same modes are available as with all Live Arcade games.  You can play Ranked or Non Ranked games.  and you can select Quick Games or play with friends.  I haven't played Live Arcade much, but I assume the experience is the same as with most games; half of the players are Tools and the other half are Rage Quitters.  I'll get there eventually, though.  This may be the first game I'm actually interested at getting Ranked in.  

Overall I'd have to give this game an A at this point.  It's fun, and challenging, with plenty of variety of play.  I can get my Magic Fix without feeling like a complete loser... even if I really am.