I've given MTG 2012 quite a few tries, but ultimately cant recommend it. I want to like it, and when it works properly its even kinda fun, but the amount of things wrong with this game are staggering. Poor UI design AND clunky interface, slow animations, automatically progressing turn timers, dumbing down of well understood mechanics, card logic bugs, autotapping/instacast, lack of proper deck building.. Ultimately some of those design choices can be overlooked. And some card logic issues can be forgiven. But the thing that comes back and kicks you in the face time and time again is the fact that the user interface for this game is just garbage.
1: The interface is HORRIBLE. From the main menu design, to the way that cards are displayed in the game. The cards in your hand are nearly too small to read and overlap eachother despite having plenty of room to display. You have to zoom in on nearly every card to read it. You often cant see whats in your hand or on the battlefield due to something obscuring your ability to look at it. Many situations will ask you to make a decision before you've had a chance to either consult your hand or battlefield to figure out how you wish to respond. No key customization either. Mouse controls are pretty terrible too, although its hard to explain why.. everything is just crammed together in such a way that it obscures everything else and makes clicking on things difficult.
2: Deck building: You cant. You start with 60 cards in a deck, and you unlock 20 more cards. These cards get AUTOMATICALLY added to your deck after every time you unlock a card.. meaning that for an optimal deck you have to go and remove them from your deck after each and every game. You also cannot select how many land to put in. the deck builder automatically does that for you. Also, scrolling left/right through the deck of cards to remove them is time consuming and tedious. Cant remember if its 2012 or 2013, but if you are zoomed in on a card while trying to build a deck and go to switch cards, it zooms out and then back in for each and every card rather than just instantly flipping.
3: The turn and phase timers. (this -mainly- applies to multiplayer but to some degree single player too.) The timer is terrible. Yes its important to make timely decisions, but the timer in this game is frustrating. The turns pass automatically unless you pause them, rather than prompting you to pass priority. When you do 'pass' the turn, then theres still a ~4 second countdown that allows your opponent to interact, even when playing with the AI in multiplayer which chooses not to interact. If you are an MTGO player and try to play MTG2012 you will want to scream at how poor the system feels. Its designed to be newbie friendly as best i can tell.. As someone who was once a newbie to the 2012 planeswalker game, i found it frustrating. As someone was has 30+ hours into it, it still is. Sometimes i find that i cant seem to pause the game at the right time, other times i dont realize that its been paused and sit there like an idiot waiting.
4: Interacting with cards at the right times is nearly impossible, its very easy to miss opportunities due to an automatic pass timer rather than a 'finished' prompt as might be found in MTGO. To this day i've never once been able to figure out the proper time to regenerate a creature in MTG 2012. Logically you would regenerate it after it takes damage, does MTGO bring up a prompt and ask you if you'd like to regenerate it during/after combat damage is being assigned? Nope.
5: Triggered effects: Many cards give your entire team triggered effects. Such as any time a creature enters the battlefield, gain one life. Each time this effect triggers, theres a 3-5 second animation that plays. Each time a creature lifelinks, 3-5 second animation. Having 2-3 creatures that get +1/+1 counters each time you gain life, and multiple creature with lifelink, 3-5 second disruption per creature, per lifelink. I've literally had turns against the AI where i walk away for a minute or two at a time while waiting for trigger animations to resolve. I can understand why this kind of system is in place, however this can make a game that should take 15-20 minutes, take well over an hour, sometimes two. Theres no such thing as a fast turn, especially not against the AI.
6: Cards on the field which have enchantments or equipment on it are near impossible to sort through or to target and require pixel perfect accuracy, especially those that are stacked with multiple enchantments. Double that difficulty for cards with flying that bounce up and down as you try to click on the 2-3 pixel wide card just barely sticking out from the side of your other. If you dont get the target right the first time you dont get a second chance when targeting.
7: Selecting the right card in your hand (or from your deck/graveyard when searching) with the mouse can be very tricky. Theres a very narrow window of where the center of the card is Its about 1/3 the card's width. Its incredibly easy to bump the mouse and cast the wrong spell. The deck builder has the same problems. Theres enough room at the bottom of the screen for the cards to be bigger, and to not overlap so significantly. Considering that a click means autocast, you better get it right the first time.
8: Tapping land is done automatically and the auto-tapper can and will screw you. This not being a toggled option for players baffles me. Considering all the issues with the interface though.. maybe this is actually some sort of blessing in disguise. Typically im going to say no, its not.
9: The time between when one game ends and when the next one begins can be fairly lengthy with unnecessarily long pauses and loading screens. When you win or lose a game you are stuck at the 'game over' screen for what seems like 10-15 seconds before it sends you back to the menu. When trying to do the puzzle challenges this was exceptionally infuriating, one accidental click that you cant take back and there goes 30-45 seconds of restarting ontop of all the time you wasted with unskippable animations and such. There is nothing at all in this game that is fluid, fast, or free flowing.
10: The AI. In multiplayer the AI is fairly bad. Playing two headed giant with a friend where the enemy had literal unblockable creatures during a semi-stalemated board, it only attacked with them once or twice. Apparently if you get enough creatures on the board the AI will just stop attacking entirely even when it has the advantage. Having many creatures with two unblockables that could continue to do damage turn after turn and who wouldnt be viable defenders; the AI just sits there turn after turn. Perhaps it simply does not understand unblockable, Or perhaps its incapable of functioning properly in a multiplayer experience or with so many units on the board. As far as i can recall it seemed to be a decent opponent in single player, mostly.
11: Bugs: Bugs that cause the host of a multiplayer game to get disconnected from his own game. Bugs that cause you to be unable to cast spells on your own turn, bugs that break the interface in some regard and cause you to be incapable of continuing your match, bugs that stop you from being able to swap out of and into the game.
Couple all the bugs with the relatively awful UI, the dumbed down 'user friendly' systems, and slow and general clunkiness of the game and honestly the experience feels pretty unsatisfying overall. The only redeeming quality of this game is that its one of only a few modern MTG games that has a single player component to it. And i -believe- its the only modern magic release (2012-2014) that has the arch nemesis game mode, which is actually quite fun.