Gwent: The Witcher Card Game Preview – Let’s Lay ‘Em Down
I remember a time when the quality of a mini-game within an RPG was considered an asset, a valuable addition to a game that offered a fresh and exciting distraction from the typical stresses that plague the industries top protagonists – saving the world, getting the girl, all that fun stuff. However, recent years have seen the quality of the average mini-game drop to such a level that we’re now considering pinball as an alternative to Blitzball…sigh
One developer however still felt it was worthwhile to throw a bit of time and effort into such a distraction with CD Projekt RED’s critically acclaimed Witcher 3 playing home to Gwent. Despite the obvious amount of effort that went into Gwent in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt it was never really something that fully captured my imagination the first time round. Not due to lack of quality or innovative ideas, more so because I tanked practically every match and became living proof that basic AI can quite often outsmart human intelligence. I was bad, really bad.
So when the opportunity to dive into CD Projekt RED’s standalone version of Gwent came across my desk I thought it was my time for redemption. My opportunity to prove that I could rise to the top when I didn’t have the petty distraction of Geralt of Rivia’s attempts to rescue Ciri and put a stop to the Wild Hunt.
Gwent: The Witcher Card is a completely standalone version of the Gwent game. No purchase or previous experience with the game is required as a full tutorial is on offer – providing a quick but thorough run through of the games basic tri-lane mechanics and card structure. Those familiar with Gwent from The Witcher 3 will feel right at home and fans of the CCG/TCG genre won’t find any unnecessary curveballs thrown into the mix.
The more appealing elements, its simplicity and attachment to The Witcher franchise as a whole, are consistent in the transition from mini-game to not-so-mini-game and fans of The Witcher franchise will love the various characters and legendary figures that don the front of the cards in glorious fashion.
Gwent currently features 4 unique factions (with a 5th on the way), each with their own selection of cards that can be built alongside neutral cards to form a deck. There’s plenty of freedom when it comes to forging your own unique tactics and strategies to deploy in battle although, for the most part, each faction has only a couple of “flavor of the month” builds that currently dominate the competitive scene.
In true free-to-play fashion Gwent is home to a number of micro-transaction options, allowing players to help bolster their decks through the purchasing of Kegs – the card packs of Gwent. Currently all of the cards available in the game can be obtained through Kegs – which you can also obtain for free through leveling and “good game” bonuses offered by opponents after a match. There’s an obvious advantage for those that invest into the game financially but with enough time and effort, there’s nothing an entirely free player is not able to achieve. Cards can also be crafted using materials received as rewards for victory.
It’s early days for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game but the current Closed Beta client has everything in place to offer fans of the card combat genre a fresh, interesting and rewarding alternative to the likes of Hearthstone and The Elder Scrolls: Legends.