What a cycle we’ve undergone. First came Magic the Gathering. Then came Hearthstone, a simpler game that many considered a sort-of rip off. Then came Magic the Gathering: Arena, a clunkier and less appealing Hearthstone. What’s next? Are we going to get a physical Hearthstone card game? Produced by the children of Blizzard’s CEO?
I mean, it can’t be worse than the stuff Blizzard is putting out nowadays, so I guess I’d take it.
A long time ago, I talked about how, no matter how hard I tried, I could never get into Magic: The Gathering. But I figured I’d give it another go. They just came out with the new online game, after all. This seemed to be a great chance to learn and get into it at last!
Spoiler alert: it was yet another failure. But to give credit where it’s due: they tried. And now I somewhat know how to actually play the game.
Except not really. I’m still terrible at it.
Gameplay: Yeah, It’s Magic
Yup. It’s still Magic: The Gathering. If you’ve played the card game, you know how this one is played. You put down cards so you can put down other cards. You use these cards to kill the other player. Then you win.
What do you want me to say? We’ve established that I’m not an expert on this game. But in a way, that helps contribute to this game. Thanks to the tutorial (which is a near one-to-one rip off of Hearthstone’s tutorial, I swear to god), I now know how to play the game on a basic level!
This is an improvement, I swear. Even if the tutorial was super boring. But hey, at least I had Ciri from Witcher 3 walking me through it. Although that just made me yearn to go back and play that game instead.
What I can critique is the aspects of the video game side of it. See, it plays entirely like Hearthstone is. But unlike it’s Blizzard counterpart, none of it is flows or controls smoothly.
See, in Hearthstone, all you had to do was drag and drop your cards. Then, when it came time to attack, all you had to do was select the card you wanted to attack with, then drag the cursor over to the one you wanted to attack. If you were capable of the attack, considering the different effects in play, then bang! He’s got less health to work with. Good for you.
In Magic: Arena, you can’t just drag and drop outside of placing a card. If you want to attack, you need to click the button in the bottom corner. Then you need to assign which cards will attack where, or which cards will block an oncoming attack. Then you need to click the button in the bottom again, and then all the things happen.
Let me put it simply: Hearthstone is a smooth river, flowing without a bump or issue. You have your turn, then the next dude does. Magic: Arena is like climbing a mountain. When you’re done climbing your mountain, then the other guy can. Then, while their having their turn, you have to go get ready to climb another one. If you want a smooth card game experience, which would you prefer?
Visuals: Hearthstone, Without the Charm
Alright. Wizards of the Coast. Listen here. Just having pretty artwork in on your cards does not make your game visually interesting. You’ve got to have a little… anything to spice it up!
God, just looking at this game is putting me to sleep! Yes, the artwork on the cards is incredible! But guess what? I can get those from the real life actual cards! If I’m going to play the video game version, shouldn’t I get something to look at that I can’t get from the actual game? Or did you expect me to be so desperate for someone to play with that you thought I wouldn’t care!
Well, jokes on you guys! I could just get two decks and play with myself! Did you think I wouldn’t because that’s too depressing! Guess what?! I’VE BEEN DOING THAT SINCE I WAS FIVE, PLAYING YU-GI-OH! YOU THINK I’M GOING TO STOP NOW?!
The animations are horribly dull and forgettable. If they’re not generic glowing aura effects that are gone within seconds, they’re… nothing. You put a card down, and it just goes. This game has little to no visual flare.
I hate to keep comparing it to Hearthstone, but I really need to do that. In Hearthstone, each card has personality! From it’s voice clip to the visual effects that pay when it’s put down, simply putting one down is a spectacle! Each spell looks unique, each monster has their own flare, and they go hand-in-hand to make the game much more interesting to play.
The same goes for the game boards! In Hearthstone, if you get bored during your opponent’s turn, you can just click on the corners of the board and get a show! It gives each board personality and makes the game far more interesting to play! But the boards in Magic: Arena are just… barren! At best, you’ll get a bug on the side to click on. And… that’s all.
WHAT A THRILL!
Magic the Gathering has always been a game that I’ve wanted to get into. But no matter what I try, I can’t do it! So I admit, I had kind of hoped this would be the game that changed that. But in the end, all I got was more disappointment.
But hey! At least I got a free deck from Twitch Prime (not sponsored). Now I have a bunch of fancy cards that I’ll never use!
Maybe if you’re really into Magic, you might get something out of this. But aside from the online play, there’s really nothing here that you can’t get from the actual card game. There’s just nothing to this game!
Don’t bother with this one. If you want to play a good online card game, just go play Gwent or Hearthstone. If you really want to play Magic, then just play the actual card game.
There’s no shame in playing with yourself. There’s no one who knows how you think better than you. There is no challenge greater! After all…
You can’t win against yourself. But you also can’t lose.