Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Artifact Review in Progress

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- [Tom] Five years after Valves last major game

the legendary developer proves it still

knows how to make amazing things.

As a Dota two themed digital card game

Artifact may not be what people were expecting.

But it does something truly different

and exciting within the genre.

We still need to test out its newly Live Marketplace

but Artifact is already challenging, detailed

and a whole lot of fun.

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Well, playing cards and dealing damage might feel familiar

to hearts shown or Magic the Gathering fans.

But the Artfact makes you think about those actions

is fundamentally different and that makes it stand out

from the crowd.

It splits the play field into three lanes,

but you only need to win two.

Each player take single actions back and forth in a lane

before combat occurs.

Then you move down to the next lane and do it again.

Sharing a hand between lanes forced me to think hard

about every move.

Just because a card was effective in one lane

doesn't mean it couldn't be even better in another.

Each of the four colors has its own unique

and interesting play style.

For example, read heroes are usually beefy,

green has access to the biggest units.

Blue has powerful (inaudible) spells

and Black has great direct damage spells,

and can also generate tons of gold to buy items

for your five responding heroes mid match.

Picking which lanes to deploy those heroes in is a puzzle

in itself, forcing me to consider what color I might need

in a lane multiple turns down the line.

My most gratifying wins and Artifact were the ones

I planned out whole rounds in advance,

creating consistently tense matches.

On the other hand Artifacts randomization

can occasionally frustrate my carefully thought out plans.

I never felt random effects like targeting arrows

would undermine a solid strategy

but it also doesn't make cards like cheating death

which gives units in a lane a 50% chance

to just not die any less aggravating to play against

in the moment, no matter the strength or balance of it.

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Amidst all the mind games are more tiny details

than any one person could ever possibly find.

An absurd amount of well voice dialogue

is hidden behind extremely specific interactions.

For example the Cedar do list will say different things

depending on which allied green hero you use to play with.

- [Cedar Do list] Like with you by my side there

is no enemy I can't fell.

- [Narrator] And all of those lines are influenced

by the fully voiced lords found in the collection screen.

That added flavor makes every card more than paper thin.

The music and art and Artifacts are also lush

with the score shifting as towers are destroyed

or damaged is threatened.

Along with the horribly expressive decade sidekick

each player has.

That said Artifact is still missing a few expected layers

outside of it's fantastic in match experience.

There's no ranking system, cosmetic customization

or stat tracking at all.

I want to keep playing Artifacts simply because

of how fun it is, but I still wish it had the hooks

I expect from most modern online competitive games.

But Valve has been listening to the community

and is making significant updates and

progression is at the top of its post launch to do list.

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Artifact is model itself after a physical card game

when it comes to getting cards, it's $20 cost

comes with far more than $20 worth of stuff.

So it's less of a price tag and more of a way

to warn everybody that this isn't free to play.

Though you can win card packs by doing well

in competitive gauntlet modes,

you'll mostly have to buy cards for $2 per pack

or individually on the community marketplace.

That could get pricey, but thankfully, valve is included

a free version of Artifacts, excellent draft mode,

which means you don't have to spend any money at all

to have unlimited access to a competitive mode

where the size of your collection doesn't matter.

The biggest question currently left unanswered

from the beta is what the prices in Artifacts marketplace

will end up looking like.

I'll continue to play Artifact and let its economy shake out

over the next week or two before I put a final score on it.

But until then, I'm loving what's already here.

Artifact is a challenging, deep, yet surprisingly

approachable card game that breaks many of the conventions

I've come to expect from the genre.

Mechanical bliss is complemented by countless

Easter eggs and compelling lore.

But we're still waiting for more meaningful progression.

Even if the marketplace ends up being less than ideal.

The completely level playing field of draft mode

is so fun that it's probably worth

the price of admission alone.

For more on Artifact, check out our primer

on how to play

or a video on nine things the game doesn't tell you

and for everything else, keep it right here on IGN.

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The Description of Artifact Review in Progress