Preview: Artifact (Steam)

A  collaboration between legendary game designer Richard Garfield and Valve, Artifact offers the deepest gameplay and the highest-fidelity experience ever seen in a trading card game.

Pros:

  • Fantastic graphics.
  • 3980GB Download size.
  • Graphics- Resolution, Display mode, V-Sync, V-Sync, AA, AO, Texture/lighting/shadow quality presets. Max FPS allowed slider and screen render quality slider.
  • Audio- Sound in desktop, Skip startup movies, Subtitles and anonymous mode.
  • Dota 2 UI.
  • Reassign hotkeys all though, the whole game can be played with just a mouse.
  • Opening training matches. You play 2 games using a combo of two colored decks.
  • To win you must destroy two of three towers or take out one Ancient. (Ancients appear after a tower has been taken out and has a much higher health bar)
  • Card battler gameplay.
  • Game board- You play across 3 lanes (boards).
  • Earn gold from killing creeps and heroes.
  • Slick animations from cards being played to the little Imp looking things flying around the screen.
  • Double click any card for a full pop up with description.
  • Can review last played card.
  • Improvement cards- Once played these do their action for the entirety of the game.
  • Shop- Appears between rounds and you can buy cards (random from your deck) or hold a card if you don’t quite have enough money.
  • Mana- Increases by one every round, This number dictates what cards you can play.
  • Defeated Heroes come back next round and you choose what lane to deploy them on.
  • oversaw
  • Starter Bundle- Two full decks, 10 unopened packs and 5 tickets.
  • Four modes- Solo play, Social play, Casual play, and expert play.
  • Solo play- Against AI bots and you choose your deck and the bots deck.
  • Social play- Open game (create/join), Challenge (private friend) and tournament setup.
  • Casual play- Global, Constructed, Phantom and keeper draft.
  • Expert play- Constructed, Phantom and keeper draft.
  • Modes work on a win 5 before losing 2 model.
  • Collection- View your cards, Marketplace to buy and sell cards on the Steam market.
  • Awesome card art.
  • Hero cards are voiced and shout out as you play.
  • Deck builder- Filters, Rename deck, See a detailed breakdown of heroes, main deck and items.
  • Four colors- Red, Black, Blue, and Green. Colour dictates play style like Blue is all about magic tactics and flooding the opposition whereas Red has more tanky assault based cards.
  • A lot of help/guidance with handy pop-ups and feedback from your Imp.
  • You play each lane in turn in one round and once both players have passed the round ends and the shop pops up and can be used.
  • Card playing- You can only play cards that match the color of the Hero in the lane so a Blue hero means only Blue cards can be played.
  • Contains Dota 2 items, heroes and creeps that veterans will notice.
  • The game is presented that you need no Dota 2 knowledge in order to play.
  • Good pack opening animation. You only have to hover over the cards to flip them unless they are rare cards and even then it is just a button click.
  • Card rarity from Bronze to Gold.
  • Approachable thanks to the staggered flow and well-presented training matches. (Can be replayed whenever)

Cons:

  • Very basic game board offering no interactions or animations.
  • A lot to take in regardless of presentation and help.
  • No in-game deck building help except for deck card count.
  • You don’t get rewards/progress in bot matches.
  • No Steam trading cards yet.
  • No Steam achievements yet.
  • Games can last a while.
  • Only the one card back.
  • No difficulty option for AI.
  • You have to use tickets to pay for entry into some modes.
  • Only one game board at present.

Summary

Artifact, Another card game but this time has the very formidable icon in the game business Richard Garfield, Whose name alone brings a lot of credit to the game. For he oversaw Magic The Gathering turn into the monster that it is. Now Artifact does indeed have some elements very close to MTG (Magic The Gathering) such as the colored decks and general board control methods. But the overall experience is so very unique. Playing across 3 boards sounds a nightmare but is, in fact, a fun tactic brimming experience. I felt like that smart guy ion the park that would play multiple games of chess at one time, Moving this to here on here then here to here on that one and so on. Taking 3 boards means you have 3 ways to play. Do you accept loss on one board in order to strengthen the other boards? Or does that risk the Ancient getting taken out? This is just one simple dilema in a game that contains so many. What I really loved was just how easy it was to pick up a new card game in 2018 and be able to play it alone within just a few games.  They give so much feedback and pop-ups to the player that, to be honest, You never fewel isolated. The core gameplay is so uniquely clever that you cannot help fall for its charms, I just cannot get enough of the many many play styles. The only lengthy slightly unfair thing I can see is learning cards and what to play against each card, Building the meta in a game is always a messy start and it will be no different here. But for me, I can ignore all that and just play against bots and still get my money and times worth. In short, this is a smart advance yet approachable card game that excites as much as it does test your mettle. Don’t worry about the Dota 2 lore and characters, Anyone can jump in and play and learn. The future is bright here.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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