First Impressions: Gwent: The Witcher Card Game (PC)

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CD Projekt Red’s Gwent: The Witcher Card Game is currently in public beta and is scheduled to be out of beta sometime this year. Based off of the card game in both The Witcher novels and The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt video game, this version of Gwent is different.

Unlike other card games, Gwent doesn’t rely on a mana pool of sorts. Card abilities and advantages are what will net you the wins. The goal of the game is to win two out of three rounds against your opponent by having the most points. Rounds end when the players are either out of cards or both players pass their turn.    

Compared to The Witcher 3’s version, you’re able to play against other people, not just the AI characters. This provides a challenge of its own in that it is more difficult to determine another person’s strategy rather than an AI. There are challenges that can be completed for rewards; a ranked system for those on the more competitive side, and more game mechanics are involved. Cards can now directly attack other cards based on your choice, and you’re given five base decks to start with rather than the one given to you in The Witcher. By completing challenges, winning games, and logging in daily, players can earn rewards that will allow them to receive more cards and then they can modify their decks to their liking. Players have the option to purchase kegs with their own money in order to get more cards, although ore which is earned while played can be exchanged for the kegs as well. This week, game devs announced that there would be an arena mode where players will build a deck by choosing randomized cards and compete against others for prizes.   

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I hated Gwent in The Witcher 3. I actually don’t like most collectible card games! It was the one thing about the game that I griped about. I just couldn’t win no matter what cards I swapped out or new strategies I tried. I ended up just feeling irritated and skipped all Gwent related missions for the entirety of the game. So, what in the world made me decide to try Gwent?

I absolutely loved The Witcher 3. It’s in my top five video games and I highly recommend that others try it. Our own LtEagleEye is currently streaming it on twitch on Monday nights during The Witching Hour if you want to give it a look for yourself! I loved this game so much that I decided to give Gwent a chance. It’s free, so it’s not like I had anything to lose aside from wasting a couple of hours if I still hated it.

 Hearing Geralt's voice again is actually the best part, if I'm being honest.

Hearing Geralt's voice again is actually the best part, if I'm being honest.

My impression thus far is that it’s different enough from The Witcher 3’s version that I find myself enjoying the game rather than wanting to throw my controller into the television. The tutorial is very thorough and gives enough of the basics that you can figure out strategies of your own afterward depending on the deck that you want to use. I’ve only played a few hours of it and I’m not looking to be competing in any ranked matches, but it’s fun to sit down for an hour or so to complete some challenges or quick matches against others. My favorite aspect is that you have the five base decks to work with: Northguard, Skellige, Northern Realms, Monsters, and Scoia'tael. I can choose whichever deck I want to play with whenever I start a new quick play match rather than be limited in my options. The familiarity with the characters and lore of the game is also a draw, and the card’s animations and added voice acting makes for a more immersive experience. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with the game and seeing whether this experience will end with a cemented disdain for Gwent or perhaps a bit of enjoyment.