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It is probably very telling that the deciding factor in my purchase of Marvel Trading Card Game was price. This was a very cheap game, in fact it is easily the cheapest game I have ever bought for the DS at a very impulse friendly £3. Of course there were contributing influences. I enjoy Marvel's various franchises and I still have pleasant memories of the surprisingly original Pokemon Trading Card Game on the Game Boy. However, having never played the card game upon which this is based and having heard very little about it, I wasn't suffering from any high hopes either.
Marvel Trading Card Game is a very complex game spawned out of a very basic concept. A computer version of the real life game is worked into a loose story involving famous Marvel characters. This story is told through some very pleasant comic book art that is clean and sharp on the DS screen, always looking authentic and well put together. Each "Chapter" of the story contains a few card battles and progressing through them will unlock new cards, "puzzles" and continue the story. The story itself is not very deep, serving as little more than a framework to put the player into increasingly difficult matches and that's about it.
The card game itself lost me early on, unfortunately. I do not intend to go into great depth with the rules, they are numerous and intricate even at the earliest stages. It involves taking turns picking cards, placing them, placing things on them and drawing new cards through multiple phases (Build, Recruit, Combat, Recovery) to make up a "battle." Cards come in multiple forms but essentially consist of either characters to fight one another and effects to help or hinder. It's a tedious system to get used to and not terribly exciting but I imagine it is an accurate recreation of the tabletop game. There is a tutorial included but it is a slow, lengthy affair that lacks interaction. Where a step by step "now you try" approach might have one me over, the game merely includes a point by point description of the rules like a player's manual. Unfortunately, once you've used the tutorial you have to start a new game to run through it again. A flip through rulebook or tips function would have cleared things up immensely. I did my best to muddle through for a while but eventually gave up with the long, slow and dull battles. To be fair to the game however, my experience is likely to be very different to someone who has played the original game or has a lot of experience with similar hobbies.
The adaptation of the game to the DS itself seemed to be a little problematic. The DS is held like a book with all the action taking place on the left screen, the right screen is generally unused until you tap a card. The right screen then displays a detailed view of the card in question. While being able to view the cards in detail is an essential function, it is not necessary to examine them and look at the entire play area the whole time. The game could have adjusted very easily to fit across both screens, it has a dual area setup anyway (for you and your opponent opposite) and you are not required to interact with your opponent's cards quite to regularly. This might seem like a minor issue but it would allow much more space to the various intricate controls needed to play the card game. Inspecting a card could then cover the opponent's area briefly, as the game is turn based with consequences invisible to the other player until the "Pass" button is pressed, the player could take as long a look as was needed without issue. These issues are more universal and would probably be of just as much annoyance to the Trading Card Game veterans.
Lastly, the game suffers from some issues of presentation. While the comic art used to relay the story, such as it is, remains attractive and well designed, everything else isn't. The meager resolution of the screen is needed to resolve fiddly little cards and buttons, very little of the original card's art is preserved and in general the game feels a little cheap. The sound is functional enough but is often drowned out by repetitive, over dramatic background music that I could have done without.
I suppose Marvel Trading Card Game is a little hard for me to judge. It is an unusual product, a game of another game that is best suited to the original players. But then who is it aimed at? Spider-Man and Wolverine leap enthusiastically off the cover as an invitation to comic fans everywhere but the game itself is such a niche product. I can criticise its poor interface elements fairly enough but I'm not sure where I stand on a game that is clearly not aimed at me. I didn't like it and I think most people reading this won't like it; is it a bad game? No. It's a complicated, fiddly, card game, authentically adapted onto the DS with some technical niggles and somebody out there has a DS all for it.
I used to actually playing the Vs marvel and DC trading card game which is why I bought this game because I sold all my cards and still enjoyed playing the game.
I now have more cards on my game then I ever did actually owning them, there's no difference from the game version or card version.
The card collection is up-to-date, from the start you can be a hero or villain and the cards you start with is determined from this.
There are plenty of storylines to go through similar to reading a comic whilst being involved which is enjoyable as well. Also puzzles to be done and winning earns you points in which you can spend on booster packs and play mats.
This game has regenerated a hobby which I lost and I thoroughly enjoy playing this game, just need more people to go out and buy it so I can play others and trade cards.
Overall this is a great game and a much cheaper alternative than buying the cards which can be rather expensive. I would rate this game 9 out of 10 if you're into any kind of strategy, card game or just a comic fan.
Tired of opening packs of cards? Like Superheroes? Combine those two ideas and enjoy collecting virtual cards....that fight...with each other.