Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth has a Gwent, and it seems like a very good Gwent

As soon as upon a time, Gwent was simply a humble county in south Wales, throughout the Severn river (and the border with England) from Bristol. Then, a few years in the past, this proud Welsh area lost its Google ranking to an upstart name-stealer. That upstart was a collectible card recreation inside CD Projekt Purple’s fantastic role-playing recreation The Witcher 3, and it grew to become an obsession for a lot of of that recreation’s tens of millions of gamers. Gwent took on a lifetime of its personal and influenced dozens of copycats, and now “a Gwent” is synonymous with any recreation inside a recreation, significantly if it’s a strategic, card, or board recreation that may be performed towards non-player characters.

Now the Final Fantasy builders at Sq. Enix, who had been seeding games within their epic RPGs years earlier than The Witcher 3 had even been considered, are again to reclaim their crown. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth has a Gwent — and it’s probably the greatest and most unique we’ve seen in a whereas.

Rebirth’s Gwent is known as Queen’s Blood, and I received to attempt it out at a current press preview in London, throughout which I had the chance to play by means of the sport’s first few hours. Rebirth, the second installment in Sq. Enix’s expanded and remixed retelling of the 1997 basic, opens with a dramatic flashback chapter. After that, we be part of Cloud Strife and his band of pals the place they’re hiding out and resting within the charming pastoral city of Kalm. Right here, Rebirth fills out a few plot factors, recreation mechanics, and options — together with Queen’s Blood, which will be performed with a number of townspeople.

Picture: Sq. Enix by way of Polygon

Should you’re anticipating Queen’s Blood to be a card battler within the vein of Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone, you’re in for a shock. It’s not even a lot like Gwent. Whereas it is a collectible card recreation, it works very in a different way from these different video games. The playing cards’ key properties aren’t particular skills, however relatively the patterns of affect they’ve on the board, in what is actually a very tight recreation of territory seize.

The 2 gamers vie for management of a checkered board; to start with, the board has three lanes of 5 tiles every (I assume there will likely be greater boards to play on later) and gamers work in from the left and proper edges. The aim is to open up the board to your playing cards and put down playing cards with the best attainable energy worth. When the ability values of the playing cards are tallied, solely the best whole worth for every lane contributes towards the ultimate rating.

Gamers take turns to put playing cards primarily based on Final Fantasy monsters on the board, however can solely place them on tiles they personal, marked by little pawns of their colour. As soon as they put down a card, it opens up extra tiles to put extra playing cards in response to a sample marked in a grid on the cardboard. If the sample overlaps with tiles you already personal, these tiles achieve additional pawns and are ranked up, which suggests you may place extra highly effective, higher-level playing cards there. If it overlaps with a tile owned (however not occupied) by your opponent, you’re taking management of that tile. Some playing cards even have skills that have an effect on particular tiles, marked in pink within the card’s sample; an instance is likely to be that any card positioned on that tile has its energy worth doubled.

Cloud talks to a man named Ned who says “You... you don’t wanna play Queen’s Blood, do you? I was hoping that... Oh, what am I thinking? You look like you’d murder me”

Picture: Sq. Enix by way of Polygon

It’s a easy however deeply strategic, nearly puzzle-like setup. In Queen’s Blood, the playing cards’ spatial relationship and their areas of impact are every thing. Every flip is dense with decision-making as you try and develop your affect on the board, rank up tiles so you may put down your finest playing cards, and take advantage of environment friendly use of the playing cards’ skills. It takes some getting used to, and after the tutorial, it took me three or 4 fingers to beat the primary opponent I challenged (a nervous man named Ned, sitting on a porch, who loves a good cry).

I didn’t even start to get into the deck-building aspect, which presumably has monumental depth; though the playing cards’ skills are fairly easy when in comparison with these in one thing like Hearthstone, the interaction of capacity, tile sample, energy, and rank for every card offers you a lot of things to think about when constructing a balanced deck.

Queen’s Blood is dense and initially troublesome, however the visible, puzzle-solving ingredient of tile seize utilizing the playing cards’ various patterns actually appeals to me and units it other than different deck-building Gwents. I can see myself dropping hours to this one earlier than I’ve even set out from Kalm on the remainder of my journey.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth will likely be launched for PlayStation 5 on Feb. 29.

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