Magic the Gathering
Just to let you know, I've never played the craft game, but luckily that didn't make much of a difference. They've added enough to it to make it completely separate from the card game. Magic: Battlemage really impressed me. I admit my initial reaction was a bad one due to the stereotypical idea of what I thought Magic was all about in any form (thanks to Andy Baran of EGM' fame). After playing the game awhile though, my reaction was proved wrong. The intro FMV looked great, even though the wizards look like they're dancing or doing yoga or something. The interface and territory description screens are really nice-looking, but the duel screens were average--maybe even below average. Imagine Machine Hunter or Loaded on the PlayStation. Now take away any 3-D elements and any lighting effects. That's what the Duel Mode looks like in Magic: The Gathering. The control took me awhile to get used to, and that was after many hours of reading the manual! I ended up really getting into the spell and mana system, but I admit I have a long way to go before I know all of them. Besides the Campaign Mode (which I prefer), there's the straight Duel Mode. It's a good way to start practicing and learning about the effect of various spells. I recommend this one to anyone with an open mind to a different - but good - type of game.
Let's face it. Magic the Gathering fans don't have much out there in terms of video games. If you're a Magic fan, you're going to want to check this game out regardless of what I say (and I think you should). Battlemage is a very complicated strategy game that Incorporates the card game's flavor well. But If you've never played the card game before, you probably would want to skip this one. The intention is good, but the execution falls short.
Even if you're a pro at the Magic phenomenon (and I am not) this video game version will take you a while to learn and master. It's a safe bet it'll appeal to Magic the Gathering's avid fans. At the same time, it'll probably turn off other gamers, who may find Battlemnge's bulky interface and slow-paced gameplay too trying on their patience. Sure, the ability to collect and wield all the game's cards is intriguing. It's just not my thing.
Two important facts: I'm not a big fan of card games and I've never played Magic: The Gathering (nor do I plan to in the future). With that out of the way, let me just say I had difficulty understanding the point of this game. The role-playing overtones are cool but the graphics leave much to be desired. As far as this game is concerned, Magic fans may dig it, but I don't. It's too confusing of a strategy game for my tastes.