Artifact is a downloadable collectible card game designed by Valve, the makers of Half-Life, Portal, and Counter-Strike. Although it isn’t a genre of game that has caught on in the West, collectible card games are a hugely popular format in East Asia and beyond.
You might be thinking that we’re dealing with something like Hearthstone and, Artifact, while similar, that isn’t exactly what we’re talking about here.
To download Artifact from Steam, click on the Download link located below this review. If you are a CCGs fan you should also check guns & sorcery title Eternal Card Game or Gwent from the Witcher universe.
Collectible card games are more like Magic the Gathering and the Pokemon card game. This means that users collect avatars, items, what have you through obtaining them through packs. Hearthstone is a more simplified and similar version of this but doesn’t quite involve the minutiae of a collectible card game.
For instance, a role-playing game with a collectible card game mechanic would mean that a player couldn’t do a certain action until the card for it was found or maybe a piece of gear couldn’t be worn until the card for it was collected.
It’s an interesting approach and one that Valve has chosen to use for its DOTA 2-based collectible card game, Artifact.
Inspired by the multiplayer online battle arena game, there are three lanes of action in Artifact. Interestingly, players can buy and sell the cards on the Steam marketplace. And, just in case you were questioning the infallible Valve, Artifact had a lot of help in its design from Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering and many other titles.
Because it has three lanes of play, Artifact is somewhat different from other collectible card games out there. Mirroring the mechanics of DOTA 2, Artifact players will have to destroy a lane and the tower at the end in order to challenge the Ancient or they can destroy two lanes and two towers to achieve victory. Players build their decks by purchasing packs of cards in a mechanic that mirrors the real world.
If you think that sounds like a pay-to-win proposition then you aren’t far from the mark. But collectible card games are premised on this mechanic across formats and Artifact is no different. Where it does distinguish itself from the competition is in its unique use of three lanes of action. Not only do players have to manage and strategize across three lanes of action but also they have to build out their decks accordingly.
Another element that makes Artifact different from competition like Hearthstone is that the game will be purely driven by player-versus-player action. There won’t be a single-player campaign and, instead, a robust matchmaking system will be in place to make sure players are matched up appropriately. Since there is little to no narrative in DOTA 2, this isn’t really that surprising for a card game based on that property. Still, a single-player arena is where most people learn the mechanics of the game.
A cool concept with an even more polished developer behind it, Artifact will probably change over the years and we can’t wait to see what Valve does with what is already a solid concept.
- A unique take on the collectible card game genre
- Tons of strategies to think about
- Different is good and somewhat better than other games out there
- Could get expensive as more and more things are added in the future
- No single-player mode at all