A quick look at Magic Duels on the Xbox One

Magic Duels Xbox One

Magic Duels is a free to play, yet fully featured Magic The Gathering game which made its way to the Xbox One last week. The game features a single player campaign as well as a battle mode in which you can challenge AI or human opponents with your custom built decks in order to earn coins. The coins you earn can be used to purchase booster packs, or other upgrades such as converting cards to foil cards.

Magic Duels coins

I’ve been casually interested in the Magic games in the past. I’ve played the 2014 and 2015 games (both of which required a purchase) but could never quite get hooked. Magic Duels certainly has a very slick presentation, however the gameplay feels sluggish and dated, especially when compared to Hearthstone. I’m sure comparing Magic to Hearthstone will offend Magic players, but Hearthstone is much easier to play and its card battles run smoother than Magic’s. There are way too many button prompts in the magic games. When your opponent plays a card the game expects you to look at it and press ‘A’. When your opponent attacks you’re expected to hit ‘A’ after every card attacks. The battles should just be able to play out smoothly, without all of the prompts slowing the game to an annoying crawl at times.

Magic Duels will certainly appeal to Magic and card battle enthusiasts, but those with a more casual interest in the genre will most likely be put off (especially for those who have played Hearthstone). Ultimately, Magic Duels has me hoping that Hearthstone someday makes its way to consoles. Sure the ideal way to play is on an iPad, but I wouldn’t mind playing a game or two on the Xbox One if it were an option.

Advertisements

A Video Game Life’s top 5 and Game of the Year!

Number Five: Civilization Revolution 2 (iOS)

10544337_10107005723570694_4580999677554617363_n

 

Back in 2008 Civilization Revolution on the Xbox 360 served as my introduction to the wonderful strategy series that’s been around since 1991. The gameplay was incredibly addicting and winning battles was wonderfully satisfying again and again. One night browsing the app store in my hotel room in Hawaii I stumbled across a pleasant surprise when I saw Civilization Revolution 2 for sale. I bought it immediately and spent countless hours trying to dominate the world rather than sleeping. Revolution 2 plays great on the iPad and offers hundreds of hours of enjoyment for longtime Civ fans or newcomers alike. I’ll be enjoying Civilization Revolution 2 well into 2015 and beyond, and it certainly deserves recognition as one of the best games released in 2014.

Number Four: The Wolf Among Us

the-wolf-among-us

Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us took me by surprise this summer. I was never blown away by the Walking Dead games but decided to give The Wolf Among Us a try. I downloaded the entire season on the iPad this summer and dove right in. I was immediately blown away by the unique, dark world and the amazing characters within. The music and scenery during the introduction following the preface absolutely blew my mind and ranks as one of the most awe inspiring sequences in a video game I’ve ever experienced.

The mystery Bigbee gets wrapped up in kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire experience and every twist and turn made it so hard to put my iPad down. I burned through the episodes as quickly as I could and loved every minute of it.

Number Three: Hearthstone

hearthstone

Hearthstone is an incredibly well made, free card battle game. Blizzard took a chance and hit a grand slam with Hearthstone. The game features great artwork, animation and sounds along with easy to pick up, hard to put down gameplay that provides countless hours of entertainment. I feel like Hearthstone is quite easy to understand and get the hang of compared to other card battle games like Magic the Gathering, but there’s still plenty there for more seasoned players. Hearthstone is so hard to put down because no matter how badly you’re being beaten you’re never quite out of it. I’ve been on the edge of defeat and have gotten the right cards at the final moments and have battled back from that edge and onto an incredibly satisfying victory. There’s hardly anything more rewarding than experiences like that!

Number Two: Tales from the Borderlands (episode one)

header

Telltale games have had a big year this year. The Wolf Among Us came to a wonderful conclusion this summer and then this winter saw the start of two new adventures with Game of Thrones and Tales from The Borderlands. The latter has not only been my favorite Telltale game to date, but also one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had with a video game ever! The first episode is upbeat, colorful, energetic and absolutely hilarious from start to finish. I’ve never laughed so much while playing a game. I had a smile on my face from start to finish as I made my way through the exciting chapters of the first episode. There was never a dull moment and the conclusion to the episode had me dying for more. I can’t wait to experience the rest of the story! Tales from the Borderlands confidently lands at number two on my list because it was a refreshing experience with some incredible writing in a great world. I highly recommend it!

Game of the Year: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

8175Btj5gGL._SL1500_

This is sure to be a controversial pick for a variety of reasons. First of all, this is technically a re-release of games spanning from 2001 to 2013. Secondly, the game had an incredibly rocky launch, and was not ready to be released upon the salivating masses in November. It’s true, for the first three weeks I owned the game I was only able to play around 15 matches which is entirely unacceptable. That said, now that the game has been more or less working as intended for the last week or so it’s easily been my most enjoyable gaming experience of 2014.

604122_10107555653227254_6294369042107777422_n

Being able to jump into matches across four different Halo games with my friends from around the world with whom I’ve played the games with in the past. It’s amazing to see how much Halo has grown all in one package. We used to throw our cumbersome CRT TV’s in our cars and drive miles to a central meeting place, lug our TV’s downstairs, order pizza and play Halo for hours on end. To be able to jump into a game of Halo Combat Evolved or Halo 2 with the push of a button is awesome. To be able to play a match of Halo 3, 2, and CE in quick succession is equally awesome. The Halo 2 Anniversary remake is a stunningly beautiful way to relive both a great campaign and a great multiplayer experience.

10615496_10107555653441824_1451167678017847394_n

I will easily spend hundreds of hours over the next year and beyond enjoying the Master Chief Collection. The last week of fun alone has already made up for the three weeks I was barely able to play the game I invested $60 in. From the start the Master Chief Collection was a bargain for $60. They could have easily charged $60 alone for the Halo 2 Anniversary edition, but instead they threw in three more games and gave us an unimaginable value. For that, Halo: The Master Chief Collection is crowned A Video Game Life’s Game of the Year! Congratulations 343!

 

Gumballs Plays: Hearthstone 001

I tried out Hearthstone for the first time today and I have to say it’s been enjoyable so far. Hearthstone is a trading card battle game similar to Magic, but Warcraft themed. It’s easier to understand and get into when compared to the Magic games I’ve played (2013 and 2014) and I’m looking forward to getting further into it. Hearthstone will be released sometime next year and will be free to play across various platforms.