Magna Carta is the first game to use Softmax' in house developed 3D engine, ASURA. It's been in development for years, but the company has lots of learning to do. Although there were testers, nothing could have prepared the market for the heavy computer requirements.
It was going to be especially sent early to me on December 24 2001 (officially released on the 29th), but it wasn't shipped since Magna Carta was recently recalled due to bugs. Not only that, most people who normally played Softmax' games are waiting until they get good enough graphic cards, CPU, RAM and disk space to simply view or play the game properly. A new version of the game ended up being released.
Magna Carta will never be War of Genesis, they're very different. Although the fans will eventually compare them, its simply unfair. However, if you liked what made WOG good: loyalties beyond death, tragic love stories, politics, wild designs, dark moods, haunting melodies and love ballads, then this game is your taste. You might end up liking it more than WOG because the story and backstory flows more better. There's less jumping from one scenerio to the next which all would be happening on the one same timeline.
The game has the usual wandering around, finding items, talking to people (it's very similar to FFX's area maps) and watching cut scenes. The gameplay revolves around using your characters' "Carta" for the best results. Think of the Carta system as junctioning elements to your stats, and you grow affinities to a certain one after battling a certain enemy. As usual with fantasy games involving elements, they are best when used against its opposite. Also, aside from being normal turn based battles, your distance from the enemy affects your choices. Attacks are also comboable ala Legend of Dragoon. The actual battle system options and movement is very similar to WOG3 and WOG3p2, so if you played those games, you would pick up on MC instantly.
Right now aside from the game, related merchandise includes puzzles, cups, bags, posters, an official strategy guide and the OST which contains a disk with voice clips of the actors. I've also been told an artbook is planned (a smaller "Visual Reference" comes with the game, along with extra cards for collectors). A Magna Carta sequel was in the works for the PS2 but delays and setbacks eventually turned it into a lesser quality remake.
There's just a few major things irking me about MC. At first the FFX/WOG3 story (and some surface level) similarities were too many to list (mainly the "you are real as long as people remember you" reasoning). Then after extremely long and barely engaging cutscenes, is the horribly confusing gameplay. The map designs and camera angles drive me up the wall, even with a compass. The worst of all, however, is the battle engine. I can see how they wanted to fuse a few old ideas, but it made things less simple than they looked and far more buggy than ever.
A few years after MC was released, a Japanese PS2 remake of the game was made. It had new graphics, music and a slightly modified story. There was no point to this remake other than Softmax reaching out towards an audience outside of Korea. The major problems lie in the game itself. It had worse loading times than MC and extremely bad gameplay. The impression Japanese players had was "how tacky", because the game's only high point was breast size and character's over-the-top outfits.
The game had been vaporware for a year before release and has been bought up for an english release. The English release was unlucky enough to get some of the worst voice acting to possibly ever grace any game. A huge contrast with the quality of the music.
Not that I'm an originalist by any means but the original MC is a better product and even the original MC wasn't that great. If you would like to play MC, don't bother with the remake. By all means try to get the original PC game as it has far better music and graphics. Furthermore, it feels like a game where all the elements are (at least) truly in balance with each other.