Marvel Trading Card review

  • Vast number of cards
  • Customizing your decks
  • Deep multiplayer support
  • As complex as particle physics
  • Doesn't all fit well onscreen
  • Typical PSP slow loading

Few current X-men fans realize it, but their super-strong southern sweetheart Rogue was originally introduced as a villain. Indeed, she kicked the costumed crap out of the Avengers - particularly Ms Marvel, whose powers she stole permanently - in her first adventure. Over time, she became the champion of justice comic fans know and love today, but the gloves she must wear still keep her from truly touching another person.

This poignant little comic history lesson is important because if Rogue was a video game, she would be Marvel Trading Card. It's starts off beating you senseless, then makes you fall in love with it over time, but still has a few unavoidable handicaps that keep you slightly distant. 

If you've played the original card game upon which this video game version is meticulously based, you'll have no trouble adapting - though it's a stretch to squish everything needed onto the PSP screen, this is a meticulous recreation. There are even robust multiplayer features ranging from ad hoc head to head action to full online tournaments.

If you aren't familiar with the source, get ready for a very steep learning curve.  There are character cards, which do the actual "fighting" each round based upon their attack and defense ratings. There are location and equipment cards that give various bonuses (for instance, giving the Thing a gun enables him to attack from the back row instead of just the front). And there are "plot twist" cards, that blow hung holes in any detailed strategy. For example, Spider Senses will boost certain character cards' defense by three points for one round.

The thing that makes it complex is that nearly every time a card is placed or used (two different actions, for the record), there's the option for the other player to counter with another card, and many have multiple obscure abilities. That's not to mention the character cards' abilities to augment and block one another, or team affiliation, evasion, reserves, concealment... the list goes on. Luckily, there are massive tutorials, but you'll need to watch each several times to fully absorb it all. In the meantime, you'll probably take quite a few lumps.

This being a card game, difficulty is very erratic even if you do know what's going on - you might win two matches in a row, lose four times, then win three more - it's often all about the luck of the draw, especially early on. And for the record, we absolutely found ourselves drawn to Marvel Trading Card. It's just that the intense complexity and cramped screen real-estate kept it from being the accessible, instantly lovable smash-bang, super hero-em-up that the comics themselves are.

More Info

Release date: Feb 27 2007 - PSP (US)
Jun 29 2007 - DS, PSP, PC (UK)
Available Platforms: DS, PSP, PC
Genre: Other Games/Compilations
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Konami, Vicious Cycle
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Blood, Suggestive Themes, Tobacco Reference, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language


Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000