Tag Archives: gamerscore

Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Plainswalkers

Get ready to bust out your old Magic cards, because Magic is now on the Xbox 360!  Yes, I was a nerdy high school kid that played Magic at lunchtime.  magic_the_gathering-card_backI was also in the marching band, so I guess it goes with the territory.  Luckily, I got through that stage; yet I still retain a nostalgic fondness  for playing Magic.  The game is available on the Xbox live marketplace for 800 Microsoft points.  This means that all of the closet nerd can play without having their buddies see them at a card shop.

There are 3 main modes that you can play in the game: campaign, co-op campaign, or challenges.  The campaign mode is the standard 1 on 1 Magic game.  In this mode you can unlock new decks and new cards for those decks (part of the completion achievement).  You start out with the green and the red deck unlocked and from there you get the white, blue, black, green/black, red/green/black, and red/green/white decks.  Each of these decks has between 15 and 17 cards that can be unlocked.  Luckily, the cards are unlocked by simply winning a match, not which computer opponent you play against.  Personally, I used the green deck until I got to the first battle with Tezzeret, then I switched to the green/black deck to finish the campaign.  Tezzeret is the 15th and 17th (last) fights in the campaign and he has an awesome deck.  It is a blue/black deck that is full of artifact creatures and you do not get it in the game!  I am hoping that they will release it as DLC sometime soon.

In co-op campaign you and a friend (on the same box) play against 2 computer players.  There is no card or deck unlocking in this mode.  The opponents are very good at using their cards to help each other out, and I was getting my ::cough:: kicked until I got Jack and I both on the green/black deck.  Now it is almost too easy.

magic-the-gath

The newest innovation of the game is the challenges mode.  In this game, you are given a scenario and you have to figure out how to use the cards in your hand to win the game in one turn.  This teaches you how to use the abilities of cards with others and make them work to your advantage; a much more subtle game that casual players usually get.  Some of these challenges can be downright puzzling, too!  Here is a great site for challenge answers, if you get stuck and frustrated.

I have only a few complaints about the game, and none of them are insurmountable in my mind.

  • You do not unlock Tezzeret’s deck after you beat him.
  • You cannot modify or make your own decks.  I was told that this was done to make online play more balanced between the amateur and expert Magic players.  I can understand that reasoning, but I still want to make my own decks to play against the computer.
  • Sometimes the game freaks out and freezes when you have too many creatures out.  I have had the game freeze 3 times and go extremely slow during the attack-damage phases 2 times.  This is sub optimal programming in my mind.  Hopefully there will be a patch soon to remedy this.
  • There are some very immature people playing online.  I have had about half of my opponents leave the game when they realize that I am going to beat them in the next turn or two.  This is bad sportsmanship and very rude.  When playing a ranked match, you should stay until the end so that the person gets the rank up that they deserve.

I think that this is a great game.  It is much better than the old PC version of the game.  Running around looking for battles was not fun, and very buggy.  So far, I have unlocked all cards for the red, green, white, and green/black deck.   I have completed the campaign, challenges, and ¾ of the co-op campaign.  Once I finish unlocking all of the cards available, I plan on playing many online matches.  This game has a very high replay factor, and I do not see it becoming unpopular anytime soon.

 

For all of the uber-fans out there:

NXE

Hello and welcome to the New Xbox Experience (NXE)!  I have been waiting for this update for about 3 months now, and I am loving it.  The new interface and avatars seem to put the 360 somewhere between the Wii and the PS3 when it comes to target audience.  Microsoft is deffinately trying to get that crowd of casual gamers on board.  Jack does not like the avatars, being too Mii-like for him, but I spent about 2 hours working on mine and his.  I only wish that they had more clothing and hair options.  There is a predominace of straight hair styles, which does not work for those of us who have curly hair.  There are 2 true curly hairstyles, and both of them look like frizzy triangle heads.  The current hairstyle on my avatar is as close as I could get, and my hair is about twice as long as that.  There are not many long hair styles either.  I am anxiously awaiting the first pack of DLC for the avatars.  I am hoping that it will be free, but i highly doubt it, knowing Microsoft.

The Netflix capabilities of the NXE are simply awesome.  Now I can watch something on my TV even if my discs get delayed in the mail!  Boo for Sony not taking the higher ground and allowing their movies on the Netflix Watch It Now.  The only irritating part of this is that you have to set up a queu of movies to stream to your 360.  No browsing from the console.  Oh well, this is not a major issue, and I always have a computer on in the house for one reason or another. 

Another feature that I am enjoying is the ability to delete the 0 Gamerscore Games.  This has really helped increase my completion percentage, and has asthetically improved my gamerscore.  Those 0’s just looked ugly!

I have not had a chance to try out the party capabilities with my friends yet.  Nor have I been able to play a game that utilizes my avatar.  I am looking forward to playing the new Scene It: Box Office Smash with my avatar.

All in all, I think that this was a good move for Microsoft.  It gives their system a whole new look and feel, without them having to produce a new system!  Even though people have been complaining about the themes not looking great on the NXE, my favorite old theme looks great (Think Blue by Disruptive Publishers).  With avatars to play with, and a faster, easier to navigate interface, I give the NXE 4.5/5 stars!