The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was one of those exceedingly rare titles where the mini-game was just as much fun as the core gameplay, if not more so. Despite impressive scenery, fantastic dialogue, and a story that I couldn’t help but play through twice, the somewhat shallow combat of The Witcher 3 detracted slightly from what was otherwise an extremely impressive title. I never went out of my way to seek a fight that couldn’t be resolved first through clever character choices, because fighting with Geralt simply wasn’t that appealing.
I never had that problem with Gwent.
Gwent was an in-engine card playing game that Geralt could play in order to win money, items, or new cards – and it was shockingly enjoyable. While at first I passed it up, thinking there was no way I’d give the cards a shot, an eventual quest drove me into playing Gwent, and I was hooked enough to feel genuine interest when CD Projekt Red announced its first gameplay trailer for the official game today. Check it out:
Going into this I had a few concerns. Gwent was fun in The Witcher 3 because of how, over time, you could build an impressive deck that just wiped the floor with everyone. This made it worth playing through the beginning for better cards, when losing was simply a matter of having a worse pool to draw from than your opponent. Obviously this won’t fly in a multiplayer competitive game, so a degree of balance will be needed.
While it’s impossible to say yet if CD Projekt Red has done a good job of that, the rest of the video more than meets my expectations. Gwent will allow players to take on the role of the same five factions from before, each with five unique cards of their own. The seafaring warlords of Skellige, the guerilla-like elves of the Scoia’tael, the proud lords of the Northern Realms, the subterfuge-driven empire of Nilfgaard, and, of course, the Monsters, without which it wouldn’t be The Witcher.
Each faction carries their own specific bonuses as well. Monsters, for example, can breed, duplicating members of their own deck, while the Northern Realms boost the strength of their existing cards thanks to buffs from their charismatic leaders.
I’d still intended to give Gwent a pass when it did come out until the above trailer made mention of a unique, single-player campaign written by the same people who did the writing for The Witcher 3. I mentioned it earlier but it’s really worth repeating: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has some of the best dialogue around, made all the more impressive when delivered by the studio’s staff of talented voice actors. This, more than anything, has made Gwent a must-buy for me personally.
For more information, check out CD Projekt Red’s official Twitter account, where they announce regular updates about news related to the world of The Witcher as well as the studio’s other ongoing projects.