GWENT, the in-game card game from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released in beta, in 2017, and then fully, last year as a free-to-play game.
I’ll be the first to admit that I spent way too many hours playing GWENT inside The Witcher 3. Literally playing against people for rare cards, repeating games until I won. It was a core part of my Witcher experience.
Honestly, I love it. The tactics of it, the variety in cards and the different decks you could build etc. A really nice in-game game that helped flesh out the world, by allowing you to take part in a past time of the people that live there.
So, when I heard about a standalone game coming out, and for free, I was of course, all for it.
I wrote about it when it was released in beta and I had my fun. But if I’m honest, it died off for me. Not because it wasn’t good, but more because I wasn’t engaging with it like I had in-game during my Witcher playthrough.
Things have changed since the beta. Pretty substantially, and I think it’s all for the best!
I think the biggest and most notable changes to GWENT is the removal of one of the rows, typically reserved for trebuchets and long-range cards. Now, I’m not sure of the reasoning, and I’ve only played a few rounds so I’m not sure I’m feeling the benefits or missing it in any way. It’s mostly notable in it’s absence.
Beyond that, though. The whole aesthetic is just much more polished. So many more animated cards, the leaders aren’t cards anymore, they’re animated, 3d models.
The whole presentation of the game is much slicker and shinier and it’s done a great job giving the game some life. I mean, a card game can’t be an easy thing to make aesthetically pleasing, but here I think the guys at CD Projekt Red have nailed it!
My favourite change is the new tutorial. A narrative adventure, with battles told through card games. It was an absolute blast and a complete revelation. Very cool. Who knew that a card game could come to life so much? Decent voice acting, and a proper premise to help you learn the game.
Above all of this, there’s a standalone expansion/addition to GWENT called Thronebreaker, which looks really cool. More narrative, told in the background of card battles. I’d love to get stuck into this, but I’m not sure that I can warrant £23 for it right now. It’s on my radar, but I’ll be waiting for a sale I think.
Right now, I’m just playing against online opponents, thinking I’m outwitting them. Goading them into using their cards (I’m not…….in fact, I’m crap at it).
It’s a few minutes in and out, it takes me back to the wonderful world of The Witcher and I’m learning and strategising all the time. Honestly, right now, GWENT is the perfect game for me, in-between big open worlds. Something small, clever and fun is a lovely way to break-up my current ongoing games.
I’ll keep battling, I’ll keep trying to build a good deck and I know I’ll just dip in and out when I have a few minutes here and there.
Honestly, GWENT is in a really good place to a novice like me. Very accessible (arguably more so than within The Witcher 3), with plenty of depth and a decent learning curve.
Until I can get Thronebreaker and see what that’s all about, I’m working my way up to level 10 to see what the seasonal battles are, and hopefully getting better as I go.
All being well, this will be a casual mainstay in my current rotation, and I can come back here in a month and note how much I’ve improved, or how different the game gets once you settle-in.
Great work CD Projekt Red!