The in-game card game from The Witcher 3 is being made as a standalone game, which, for people like me, is great news.
There’s a public beta taking place at the moment, and I’ve been giving it a spin!
What’s a Gwent?
Gwent is the addictive card game you can play in the game, The Witcher 3. It’s just a mini-game/side distraction, but holy cow, have I spent time playing tavern owners, shop keepers, main characters etc. I spent almost as much time playing Gwent and searching for cards, as I did playing the actual game. It’s a wonderful time killer inside one of the best games I’ve played in the past decade.
It’s a numbers game at heart, divided into 3 rounds. At it’s simplest, you use your cards to get the highest amount of points in a round, without using up all of your cards at once. Some cards do specific effects, damaging or hindering your opponent, or you can heal and boost your cards, too.
Win 2 of 3 rounds, you’re the winner!
That’s how I viewed and played Gwent. Sometimes frustrated as the AI had good decks and I was mostly clueless at building my own, but always having fun and taking it at quite a basic level.
But the game is considerably deeper than that, using your cards to build an effective deck. Setting up special scenarios by stacking certain effects on certain cards etc. You can hit people hard and fast with a good deck, and that is not how I’d learned to play!
How’s the Gwent game as a stand-alone game?
Well, in short, it’s great.
It has a really nice aesthetic, tying it into the world of the Witcher and letting you feel a part of that world, and the audio is fantastic. All of the familiar sounds and voices from the game. It takes you back to being involved in that world and I love that.
Otherwise, it’s the same game, but you can play against real people.
For me, this is where the game becomes a different game entirely. When you play real people, they act and think like real people! Stacking decks to most effectively destroy people, and using cards to the best of their abilities.
In one way it’s wonderful, and really nice to see how you stack up against people, in a game that I’ve spent hours playing, in the past.
In another way, it’s ruining the joy I got originally, because it’s much more challenging, and people spend far more time than I have to commit, creating excellent decks. This isn’t a flaw of the game, though. This is my issue, because I don’t spend the time getting into it.
Deck building is key to all card games like this, with Hearthstone being at the forefront of a lot of comparisons. If you’re clever and invest the time in deck building, you can get much further than just relying on luck and another inexperienced opponent.
How’s the beta?
As a demo of a game before release, I have to say that I’ve had no notable issues at all. Matchmaking seems to work really well, animations are smooth, audio is fantastic. Honestly, it feels like a full game.
Ok, I haven’t played it enough to see the differences occur during updates, but I have been playing it and enjoying it without issue, so that seems pretty good to me!
I’m going to keep at it, and perhaps look into a decent deck and some strategies. This game has become less about defeating an AI opponent in another game, and now, more about seeing how I truly stack-up in the real world at a game I really enjoy.