Thursday, February 12, 2015

MTG 2015: "Garruk's Revenge DLC Expansion"

Sometimes in the process of reviewing a game a journalist finds out hands-on that their first verdict may not have been befitting of the nature of the game, or product that was being reviewed. Some things arise in follow-up playthroughs that the journalist just did not think to take in account so early on. As far as my review goes everything I said in my core review of "MTG 2015" was spot on, but only in the sense that I believed it to be true before moving on. I gave you the details of what the game entailed, and delivered an honest, opinionated verdict at the end based up what I had experienced. What I had experienced on the other hand though was an up, and down roller coaster ride that eventually ended on a good note.

The core game of 'MTG 2015' ended up seeming alright, and I stress the word "seeming". As I continued on with my playthrough of the DLC that was released not long after the 2014 launch of the core game, and given to me recently it became apparent that there was still one nagging problem with gameplay, one problem that had me beating my humpty dumpty noggin against brick wall like a mindless bafoon. This of course was tied to the one-sided duels that I ranted briefly about on Twitter during the beginning of my core playthrough. Well, it seems that this problem I thought was fixed ended up being ten times as worse in the "Garruk's Revenge" DLC. Before I get too far ahead of myself though allow me to go over what the DLC includes.

In the 'Garruk's Revenge' DLC you finally get to play as the cursed planeswalker, 'Garruk Wildspeaker', and don his OP (Over Powered) green, and black deck in four new duels. The tale which is told from a beginning standpoint, and one that fully fleshes out what drove Garruk to the point of madness has the planeswalkers grasping for his sanity while a bloodlust fills his very being. This bloodlust which was instilled by Liliana Vess has him convinced that the people who are trying to help him are in fact against him. Through brutal, and unrelenting fights Garruk murders one victim right after the other before finally confronting the masked man who was shown being killed off in the game's video intro.

What the DLC gets you, aside from four new duels, and an "Explore Alara" duel node (area of random duels) is some new Alara themed cards via booster packs, DLC specific Xbox Live achievements, and a completion of the tale's prologue through the usual onscreen dialogue. It's not exactly hefty when it comes to content, and honestly after playing up to the final duel against Captain Vronos I left the game feeling a bit bitter about it. As I mentioned earlier there was one nagging problem I had with the game, and that problem bled on over into the DLC like the crimson river flowing from one of Garruk's victims. The boss duels, for some unknown reason are so one-sided, and damn near unbeatable that it makes you feel like you're beating your head repeatedly against a brick wall, hence the humpty dumpty head banging reference I made earlier. To make it perfectly clear as to what I mean though I shall explain ...

In the final boss duel, no matter if it's in the core game, or the 'Garruk's Revenge' DLC the bosses always get the cards they need when they need it. They play a little too perfectly if you know what I mean, and it matters not if your deck is well equipped for the battle. What I've found is that the CPU card dealing will either not give you the lands you need, or deal you too many lands to begin with. Even when choosing to mulligan the luck of the draw is never in your favor regardless of how many times you choose to do so. I've personally tried everything from manually adjusting lands, and cards for maximum deck rating to using the auto-complete function on the lands alone. It's just a badly one-sided deal.

If it weren't for this nagging flaw I might actually be inclined to continue forth with my praise for the game, and it's DLC. Seeing as the offline is very important to the online portion of the game though I cannot honestly continue to recommend the core game, or the DLC. I know that's a complete 180 turn, but I've butted my head against the AI/CPU opponents enough. There needs to be a serious adjustment to the card dealing on both the AI/CPU side, and that of the actual player. I hope to hell that this is an option, because I'd really love to enjoy this game, and be able to recommend it again. Until they can sort things out though it's a "Pass" for me. Before I go I should also mention the fact that I got into a duel with an online player today who was using a 90+ card deck. I thought that was against the rules yet there he was doing it. Stainless Games definitely needs to enforce that 60 card limit, or it could be an online game breaker.

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