The free Magic: The Gathering game has just launched and it's quite good

Does the card work for you.

The free-to-play Magic: The Gathering Arena game launches today on PC, and it's rather good.

What Arena does marvellously is make sense of an otherwise complex card game. In Magic, for instance, there's a resource-gathering mechanic and card 'tapping', and an unusual block system - at least to my untrained eye. And when it all kicks off, it can be very hard to keep track of, so having a game do the hard work for you, and talk you through it, is very helpful.

This was especially obvious to me after playing my first game of Magic: The Gathering with physical cards earlier this week, and then playing it in Arena today. What I really like is how it's exactly the same game, which makes it, I believe, the only online collectible card game out there with a physical counterpart.

You can, for instance, brush up your skills in Arena - or try to get any resemblance of skill whatsoever, Bertie - then use it in real-life on your Magic pals. Or when those pals aren't around, Arena gives you something to do - someone to play with. One compliments the other. And when you buy packs of cards in real-life, apparently they have codes you can enter to make them appear in Arena (you can't do it vice versa).

Arena begins with a tutorial - a handful of successive matches each introducing new concepts of the game to you. Standard stuff, and I got through Arena's in about half-an-hour. Once through, you get five standard decks to play with for real. You can buy more cards if you wish, of course.

Arena isn't as handsome as HearthStone or Gwent - it's duller, to my eye - but has energetic animations and effects, and talking heroes, so it's pretty enough. Give it a go!

The Throne of Eldraine launch coincides with Arena's launch. Here, Johnny - who you might recognise - talks about the fairytales some of the cards are based on. It's Johnny's story time.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Jump to comments (18)

About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.


You may also enjoy...

Comments (18)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments