With Shadows on Innistrad, Magic Duels faces an important update to change the game, bringing it into line with the latest paper expansion published by Wizards of the Coast. Duels obviously doesn’t try to replicate the vastness of cards now accumulated over time, expansion after expansion, but rather offers a digital version that maintains the depth of the gameplay of the paper offering a selection of cards of the latest sets released. In chronological order, the novelties are called Guardian Oath and Shadows on Innistrad, with the last set that takes us back to one of the many worlds of the Magic Multiverse.
The plot starts by putting the player in front of the world of Innistrad, a world completely changed since the last time we visited him since the “dark side” seems to have taken over, unbalancing the balance and throwing everything into chaos. What happened to Avacyn, the angel in charge of protecting this world?
To try to find out we will have to face the missions of history, a springboard to unlock cards so as to compose our deck. In reality the real springboard is the tutorial, useless for those who already play on paper but fundamental and well made for beginners.
The player is in fact accompanied step by step, not only in the discovery of the basic dynamics but also towards a more advanced and strategic level of play, thus making the tutorial of Magic Duels one of the most complete ever made for a video game . Thanks to the Skill Missions it will be possible to learn directly in the field, so as to discover the functioning of the various game dynamics live.
Does anyone still know how to play Magic? In case it really existed, the gameplay is very simple: each player has a deck of 60 cards, draws an initial hand of 7 cards and, in the various turns, uses creatures, sorceries and spells to try to break down the opponent’s life points ( 20) and bring them to zero without suffering the same fate. Continuing in the game, useful coins are unlocked to purchase packs of cards, so as to compose increasingly powerful decks by choosing one of the many strategies. Players can draw on the five available card colors that reflect five different and combinable game “philosophies”.
In addition to the classic 1 vs 1 challenge where the opponent is a good level artificial intelligence, although not without sporadic questionable decisions if analyzed from the point of view of the “pro” player, the game also proposes the 2 vs 2 of the mode Two-Headed Giant, where you can play with a friend (or AI or a random online player) against artificial intelligence or other human opponents .
In fact, the game allows online multiplayer , offering an optimized sub-fund where the 1 vs 1 challenges obviously remain possible and where, just like in the paper game, you can test the true quintessence of the GCC. Playing against human opponents, in fact, will put a strain on both the strategic skills and those previously used in the composition of the deck, thus pushing us to unblock all the possibilities of the offline campaign in order to have a number of cards that can best compose the deck .
The game allows you to unlock , with time, all the cards without having to shell out a real dime ; however, the payment formula remains useful for those who want to speed things up, accumulate cards and immediately jump into online competitions with a good level deck.
Regarding the available cards, Magic Duels offers a good number, especially considering that the last two sets (Guardian Oath and Shadows over Innistrad) brought 304 new cards . The quality of the cards, a topic for “pro” players, is good and we will find some of the knowledge used in tournaments. However, there is still a necessarily reduced system and the selection is not such as to allow us to compose, for example, our competitive deck from T2. However, the choice between the available cards is in any case such as to entertain even the professional looking for a few hours of leisure and some online challenges to complement the classic live tournaments.
Magic Duels is available for free on Xbox One, PC (via Steam) and iOS (iPhone and iPad) . With the latest update the title has managed to improve in technical optimization and has made a significant leap forward in content. However, some defects remain.
The tried and tested Xbox One version, for example, suffers from sporadic freezes (so far one in about thirty games), blocks made even more hateful if in the midst of a titanic and hard-fought match against the Eldrazi during a game started at least half an hour. ..
Furthermore, there is still a certain slowness in the campaign uploads, albeit less than in previous versions, and there is still a lack of possibility that, when it comes to PC and Xbox One, it will become almost “mandatory” in the future: cross-play. In fact, you pass the absence of a single account for all versions considering that we are talking about the Microsoft environment and the Apple environment. The cross-play between PC and Xbox One, however, is now an easily reachable reality and would allow the game to expand its success, offering also a multiplayer with a greater number of challengers among those of the PC world and those of the Xbox One world, especially considering that it is a title where mouse or pad make no difference!