The game will initially launch with Northern Realms, Scoia’tael, Monsters and Skellige decks, while the Nilfgaard deck will be added at a later date as CDP ensures it’s properly balanced. Going hands-on with Gwent, it’s wonderfully familiar but fleshed out to feel like a proper, standalone package, its online competitive matches retaining everything that makes Gwent unique, albeit with a beautiful new interface that makes Gwent feel bigger and better.
Will the AI be up to the task in Gwent’s offline quests? We’re told that it will, and simply having to build your own deck will alter the way in which you approach each Gwent bout against rivals. Free-to-play, Gwent will feature optional in-game microtransactions, as you’re able to purchase extra card packs to bolster your deck. It’s a practice employed by practically every other card game out there, so we’re not too concerned about that. What counts is that Gwent: The Witcher Card Game feels like a proper, full-blooded game of cards that looks poised to deliver what the fans have been demanding.
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will be heading to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, with an Xbox One and PC beta set for September.
These quests can be found as you wander the game’s world map, where you’re able to follow the dotted line to the next chapter in the story or venture off the beaten path to discover side-quests and other hidden secrets. An example we’re shown has Geralt investigating some mysterious ancient ruins, winning himself an extra Scorch card for his deck. During story Gwent battles, you’ll also hear dialogue (the story is fully voiced) as players react to moves, making sure you get a sense of what’s at stake.
As for that “Gwent redefined” claim from Slama, the whole experience has been completely rebalanced from the ground up, with new cards, abilities and gameplay mechanics brought to the fore. At its heart, the rules remain the same, so anyone who played and wrapped their head around mastering Gwent in The Witcher 3 will immediately be able to get back into the game without having to learn everything from scratch.
And the good news is, it all still works remarkably well, with the user interface redesign, new game board, new card artwork and rare, premium cards treated to 3D animated pictures, all injecting fresh life into a Gwent match. Tweaks to the rules include being able to redraw three cards instead of two from your deck, while the majority of the game’s core tenets remain unchanged. It’s still the best of three, with spies, melee, ranged and siege units placed on the board.