I didn’t expect to be writing this review so soon. I only received the review code for the Magic 2015 Expansion: Garruk’s Revenge two hours ago, and yet here I am. There’s a reason for that. It does not take more than an hour or two to have a complete understanding of what Garruk’s Revenge has to offer. And yet, despite that brevity, the expansion is meaningful, because it makes Magic 2015 a (slightly) better game, by resolving one of the issues present in the base game, and by adding more cards.
Basically in Magic 2015, a set of premium cards were locked behind a pay wall, making it the first game in the Duels of the Planeswalkers series in which some cards were not available to all players. That’s a major no-no when it comes to competitive gameplay, and I am glad that the developers responded to the fans on this one. The premium cards that were previously locked behind a pay wall can now be unlocked for free by playing games online against other players. They are unlocked in the form of Battle Boosters. At least that’s one issue resolved!
Sadly, when I reviewed Magic 2015 back in July, I found a lot more to complain about than just the premium cards, and ended up giving it the lowest rating that I have ever given a game from this series. I mentioned the lack of preconstructed decks, the uninspired campaign, the poor deck building interface, the small card pool, and the lack of replay value and interesting game modes. Unfortunately, Garruk’s Revenge resolves none of those issues.
If you thought the campaign in Magic 2015 was short, Garruk’s Revenge will redefine what the word means to you. The campaign is about 20% as long as the campaign from the base game, consisting of only four battles. That’s about 30 minutes of single player content–maybe an hour if you have some trouble. In my case, playing on the hardest difficulty, I had trouble with the first stage, as I was forced to use the weakest version of Garruk’s deck. Winning ended up being more about good luck for me and bad luck for my opponent than anything else, as given the luck of the draw, I had no chance whatsoever of winning my first few attempts. After that first level, I had no problems. Garruk’s deck automatically gets better as you progress through the campaign (no manual customization this time), and I completed the other three battles without losing once.
That was that; the campaign was over. I was kind of shocked really; because in terms of storyline, nothing was really resolved… truth be told, the story never really built into anything to begin with. It was just four random battles with a paragraph or two to introduce them, and then it’s just over.
The battles take place in the plane of Alara, and like with the previous planes from the base game, the plane represents a set of cards that can be unlocked. The total number of cards in the set is 51, and you can unlock booster packs for winning each of the four campaign battles. Additional packs can be unlocked by exploring Alara, which involves playing a match against one of several A.I. opponents that each have a deck involving a different theme. These battles really are not that challenging, and once you have played through them, you’ll have exhausted all of the single player content in Garruk’s Revenge.
Aside from using Garruk’s deck during the brief campaign, the expansion does nothing to return the series to its roots. The preconstructed decks of the past remain conspicuously absent, and if you were expecting the return of your favorite multiplayer game modes or anything else along those lines, I’m afraid I’ll have to disappoint you again. Garruk’s Revenge has nothing of the sort.
The card pool remains small, the game modes remains limited, the deck building interface remains cumbersome, and the new content is only a brief distraction from these issues. I also encountered a bug where the game stubbornly refused to remain at 60hz, and would revert to 30hz for no particularly obvious reason. Still, the simple fact that the cards that were previously behind a pay wall can now be unlocked for free makes Magic 2015 slightly better than it was before. And priced at $5, Garruk’s Revenge is cheap enough to forgive for what it lacks. If you enjoyed Magic 2015, the expansion adds (a bit) more of the same for not much money. But if you miss the preconstructed decks and all of the multiplayer modes that existed before, this expansion will not provide enough satisfy you.
+ Pay wall removed from Premium Boosters
+ 51 new cards
-No new game modes
-New campaign is extremely short
-New card set is small
-Still doesn’t have the preconstructed decks that the series is known for
Available on: PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Version Reviewed: PC