What’s in Your Box: Cards and Time Travel
Kalvin Martinez / Oct 29th, 2016 No Comments
Each week, we here at Gaming Illustrated are always playing a number of different video games. However, we may not be talking about them in reviews or editorials. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about, but for any number of reasons an avenue to speak on them doesn’t come up. To remedy the issue, we’re going to ask our staff (and you, honestly) what’s in your box?
What’s in Kalvin’s Box
Halloween is coming up, but my box hasn’t been particularly spooky. In fact it has been the opposite with much adorable kawaiiness, but that’s a subject for another time. My box this week has been busy with the closed beta for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game and Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past.
One of the most surprising aspects of The Witcher III was how much enjoyable its card based mini-game, Gwent was. When CD Projekt RED announced Gwent: The Witcher Card Game it was a welcomed treat. It was something fans had been clamoring for since The Wild Hunt came out.
Along with the announcement of the game, a closed beta was revealed to happen sometime in the future. I knew it was something I needed to check out. After a bit of a delay, the closed beta finally rolled out this week and I got a chance to try out the new and improved Gwent.
CD Projekt RED could have simply ripped the existing Gwent from Wild Hunt release that by itself and called it a day. They didn’t rest on their laurels though, and completely overhauled the UI, look, and mechanics. What was a game with surprising depth became a stylish game with obvious depth. Gwent includes the updates seen in Blood and Wine along with many new ones added just for the stand-alone game.
The basics of Gwent remain the same, so if you’ve played it for any amount of time in The Witcher III then you’ll be familiar with the core mechanics. What’s new to the game are additional card effects that totally change the flow of a match, and a tiered card ranking system. One of cooler new effect cards allows you to turn gold cards into silver cards and change their stats. This allows you to improve the strongest of cards in the game like Geralt, the only drawback is now they can be destroyed by cards like scorch or debuffed.
The obvious model for the set-up of Gwent is Hearthstone, but all card-based combat games are using a similar model. You can train against AI opponents to test out decks and figure out strategies, build decks, and buy new card packs called “kegs” (each keg guarantees one cherry card that you choose from a set of three). The main facet of the beta is the ability to compete online against other players, something not present in The Witcher III.
The true strategy and depth of Gwent’s gameplay becomes clear when playing online against another cunning and conniving human being. You still need to weigh how aggressive you get with your cards in each round and whether or not to sacrifice a round to keep more cards than your opponent. The difference against a real opponent is a card advantage doesn’t guarantee a win. A smart opponent with a diverse deck can utilize their debuff and leader cards to close the card gap and come away with an upset victory. The swings can get wild.
While the closed beta is largely to test out the online competitive play, the full game with come with significant single-player campaigns complete with voice acting to round out the package.
After being obsessed with Dragon Quest Builders a few weeks ago, I needed to scratch my itch for a traditional Dragon Quest RPG. Fortunately for me, Nintendo brought Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past to 3DS around the same time.
My original intent was to play it during my time on a plane and trains last week, but I could barely keep my eyes open. The major issue with the game and many traditional JRPGs for that matter are the openings are so slow. DQ VII is particularly slow in all honesty. It is a lot of running back and forth to trigger story events.
You spend what feels like an eternity before the game really gets going or you actually fight a monster. Yet when the game finally gets going and the story is set up then it is thrilling.
In DQ VII, you are the son of an extraordinary fisherman and your best friend is the prince of Estard. Your island is the only one in a vast ocean, but the prince believes there has to be more than just one island in the world. He finds evidence of islands previously existing, and he thinks the key to finding those islands is a locked shrine.
You and him figure out a way to open the shrine and discover a chamber full of pedestals that have broken tablets. By recovering the lost tablet fragments and reassembling the tablets in the pedestals, you open portals to islands in the past.
By traveling to these islands in the past and fixing great calamities they faced, you’ll restore the islands in the present. Each island is its own short story that adds up to a larger narrative. DQ VII has some serious time-bending aspects that create a complex series of traveling back and forth in time to create change.
Besides the narrative, which is exceptional, the gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from a traditional JRPG. It is turn-based combat, which won’t be supremely novel, but scratches that JRPG itch. DQ VII happens to be a stellar JRPG so all the trappings are done well.
tags: Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past , Gwent: The Witcher Card Game