Magic: The Gathering finally receives its next-gen upgrade in the form of Magic: The Gathering – Tactics for PC. As a F2P (Free to Play) online MMORPG, Magic has evolved from being a standard MMO card battle game into a full-blown role-playing game.
Complete with talent trees, your favorite decks and mana colors, everything is now a 3D tactical turn-based MMORPG. This is far from being the Magic game we all remember playing back in the day when Pentium processors were the premium choice in desktop PCs.
The basics and core rules are pretty much the same as you remember, but you do not have the choice to play land cards to reflect your mana pool.
This is one feature that I sorely miss; I wish the developers had implemented this feature, but they did not. You do have a section in the lower right-hand corner that displays your mana pool, but it generates each turn. Basically you don’t have a choice on how much mana you actually have unless you use a spell card that will either add or charge to your mana pool.
Aside from not having your own land cards to increase your mana pool, everything else seems to be spot on. However, instead of seeing your Magic playing cards like in the older PC adaption, you see rendered creatures/monsters instead. With that said, it takes some getting use to (for the hardcore Magic enthusiast that is).
As mentioned earlier, Magic: The Gathering – Tactics is a Free to Play online MMORPG. What this means is that you can play the game for free, but to compete on a more competitve level with other players, you will need to purchase booster packs and single cards from the SoE online store.
There is also a single-player campaign that can be bought from the online store if you are looking for a single-player experience. The first chapter is free when you download MTG – Tactics, but the last four chapters must be purchased from the online store.
The single player campaign is short and to the point. Each chapter and its sub chapters give you a detailed (albeit short) story about what you will be facing and your whereabouts. Each chapter has its own static reward that will be granted at the end of each chapter, along with a hefty amount of experience. These rewards are only given out once the chapter is completed.
There are some nice features in Magic: The Gathering – Tactics: there is an online auction house to buy and sell cards with other online gamers. Plus, there is a pickup feature where you can jump right into an online match or on-going tournament (with tournaments happening daily). Tournaments take a few hours. The person that’s at the top of the leader board will be rewarded with lavish gifts and bragging rights.
The creature designs, spells and sound effects are authentic to the Magic franchise. Nothing seems out of place visually and the sounds are what you would expect from a Magic release. If you have ever played any of the previous computer versions of Magic: The Gathering, the sound effects you have come to associate with the franchise are present.
The major fundamentals of Magic can be found throughout MTG – Tactics even though the game itself improves upon the franchise visually. While in combat, seeing your cards manifest as creatures on the battlefield (instead of just seeing cards like in previous Magic games) gives you an overwhelming feeling of control and power during battle. While the visual improvement to combat is a welcomed addition, I wish we could have seen more of the actual cards in combat instead of their 3D creature counterparts. The creatures represent their cards beautifully and will certainly appeal to fans.
Sony Online Entertainment and Wizards of the Coast did a remarkable job of turning our beloved card game into a full-blown 3D battlefield where just about anything can happen. Don’t get me wrong; I truly love the other digital releases of Magic (Magic The Gathering Online being one of them), but this version takes the franchise to a new level.
Even though MTG – Tactics places Magic outside its comfort zone by going completely 3D, it leaves the fundamentals intact. Being a F2P (Free to Play) game, it will cost you absolutely nothing whatsoever to try, and you’re even given a free starter deck and one free chapter for signing up.
For seasoned Magic gamers, MTG – Tactics is a fun experience that will pull you away from your tables and into the digital 3D realm.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Price: F2P (Free 2 Play) Additional card decks and chapters must be purchased
Magic: The Gathering – Tactics’ Official Website
|The 3D graphics are beautiful and the monsters represent their Magic cards perfectly.|
|Classic Magic sound effects are used throughout.|
|As a F2P game, MTG - Tactics is a great experience. The game becomes even more involving once you start purchasing new decks.|
|This is one game that requires no investment, so gamers unfamiliar with Magic can get their feet wet before investing in better decks.|