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CD Projekt RED's latest foray in the world of The Witcher, the free-to-play Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, is the subject of a handful of new E3 2016-based previews.
First up is PlayStation LifeStyle:
Let’s talk basics. Of course, this is the gwent that you know and love, but it’s been redesigned visually and re-balanced across the board. The play field is much more bright and bold, with modifications to help the ease of playability. Everything is much easier to navigate and see in Gwent, creating a much more fluid playing environment than the somewhat clunky iteration seen in The Witcher 3. While that version works for Geralt’s questing, it was not conducive to multiple repeated plays as a dedicated game. Though to be fair, I didn’t even think that The Witcher 3’s gwent layout was all that clunky until I saw how smooth and streamlined they managed to make everything in Gwent.
The one thing I worried about slightly was balancing. In The Witcher 3 I ended up with a godly and undefeatable deck. Literally, since I have crafted this deck I have never lost a game of gwent in The Witcher 3. My fears were quickly thrown to the side as I saw the new cards and abilities that have been added or changed for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. Leader abilities favor the underdog rather than giving boosts to the round winners, like the Northern Realms faction ability that now lets you draw a card when you lose a round as opposed to when you win it.This little changes and balancing adjustments make for a much more nail biting experience, though let me assure you that I still won all three games that I played during my preview.
Followed by GameInformer:
Competitive play is grouped by skill tiers that players can climb or descend based on their performance while in the groupings. Beyond head-to-head play, CD Projekt Red is fleshing out the experience with offline, 10-hour campaigns for each of the four decks (Northern Realms, Scoia'tel, Skellige, and Monsters) complete with top-down maps to explore and untold stories starring both new and well-known characters from the universe. The stories play out in fully voiced comic book style cutscenes. As with any Witcher game, choice and consequences play a role in the adventures.
In the demo we watched, Geralt is tagging along with a mercenary named Falibur and an elven guide named Milaen. The group is escorting a small girl named Torina who they find next to a slaughtered guard in a tavern. From here they set out in the open world, heading to an old elven ruin. Here the player can choose to explore or disregard the ruin. Exploration yields a new Gwent card called Scorch, which is an ancient elven recipe for a fire bomb.
And then we finish things off at The Koalition:
As Gwent‘s card battles represents the game’s conflicts, you’ll hear characters in the story reacting to the different situations that occur in the matches in real-time as certain cards get played. These character reactions mixed in with the newly touched up interface brings a livelier atmosphere to the matches. Even the cards themselves come to life with animation.
Though I loved the simple interface of the original Gwent from The Witcher 3, this new one makes the previous look static and mundane. The new interface looks intimidating at first because there’s so much to take in. In fact, it took me a few moments to figure out who’s turn it actually was to make a move because the interface is so cluttered that the turn indicator isn’t as visible as it should be.