Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds - Xbox

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Also for: PC
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Strategy: Combat
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Secret Level Soft. Co.: Hasbro
Publishers: Atari (GB/US)
Released: 2003 (US)
21 Nov 2003 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+
Accessories: Memory Unit
Connectivity: Xbox Live


Placing a much darker spin on the old Pokemon idea, Magic: The Gathering is an extremely popular trading card game in which players battle it out with a diverse array of fantastical characters. This latest release from Atari, Battlegrounds, brings that concept to the Xbox in a graphically rich, 3D strategy game.

The basic concept sees you select a 'duelist' and up to two of Magic's five colours (red, green, white, blue, and black) before attempting to reduce your opponent's life to zero. This is not as simple as it sounds, however, as in order to succeed you need to utilise lightning-fast reflexes, a great deal of tactical strategy and also a considerable amount of brute force.

The main single-player game is Quest Mode, which comprises six chapters, each featuring up to 15 quests. The quests generally involve battles with resident duelists, sub-bosses or bosses that control a particular creature or spell you've yet to acquire. As you progress, the resident duelists get tougher and control more powerful spells. Upon defeating these opponents, you gain access to the new spells and creatures, the enemy becomes playable within the game, and you can select from various clothing and other accessories, allowing you to customise the look of your chosen duelist.

As well as acquiring new spells, the game also provides you with the ability to increase your duelist's power with special 'artifacts', which are unlocked with the completion of each single-player chapter. Magical relics with varying effects, Artifacts can enhance the duelist's chances of victory, if used correctly.

Battlegrounds features full support for Xbox Live, boasting a wealth of features that take advantage of Microsoft's network service. As well as full online play, the game also supports a global ranking and stats system, downloadable content, cross-title invitations, feedback forums, friends lists, and voice chat.