Wizards of the Coast has officially launched Magic Duels: Origins, the next installment in the Magic: The Gathering video game franchise. Duels: Origins is an attempt by Wizards of the Coast to reboot the series and regain its popularity as last year’s Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014 was received quite negatively by the franchise’s fans.
This time, the game is free to play and is available on iOS, Steam, and Xbox One which makes it a lot more accessible that the franchise’s previous titles. The new game also makes it easier for new players, people who’ve never played Magic, to learn and get into it by offering little tutorials as the game is played. There are also “skill quests” that require players to do certain moves to achieve victory in exchange for in-game currency.
The in-game currency is used to buy card packs. A feature the developers probably got the idea for from Blizzard’s Hearthstone. Each card pack costs 150 gold and contains three common cards, three uncommon card, and one rare/mythic.
There are currently four game modes available – solo, versus, Two-Headed Giant, and campaign. While the first two modes are self-explanatory the third is something those who haven’t played the previous Magic video games might not be familiar with. Two-Headed Giant is a four-player mode where a team of two players battle another team of two.
The campaign mode puts players in control of one of five main characters, each representing one of the game’s main card colors. The player goes through five matches that tell the origin story of the character they’re currently playing. The decks used in the campaign are pre-constructed and are perfect for introducing new players to the style and power of each card color.
Other game modes from the previous games like Sealed, Planechase, and Archenemy are missing from the new game but may appear again later on.
There are currently hundreds of cards available in game with more cards being added on a regular basis. As previously mentioned, the game is free to play and is available on the Apple App Store for iOS, Steam for Windows, and the Xbox Marketplace for Xbox One.