Card Hunter: Attack of the Artifacts

"Much of Attack of the Artifacts accentuates what made Card Hunter engrossing in the first place."

Card Hunter seamlessly combines collectible card game and strategy RPG mechanics. Though the intimidatingly large map boasts the possibility of endless content, the core game can be completed in anywhere from 10 to 20 hours, depending on how fast a player drills through the campaign. Of course, Card Hunter's design boasts nigh-endless multiplayer possibilities which any fan can enjoy long after completing the campaign, and an auxiliary component of Card Hunter manifests in purchasable mini-quests called treasure hunts. Attack of the Artifacts builds on all of this ably, but is it what fans have been anticipating?

Attack of the Artifacts is less DLC and more expansion; however, most of the content released requires purchase. Chests, as always, may be bought, which could contain new items and cards designed for characters at all levels. In my romp with AotA, I enjoyed the additional content considerably because what made Card Hunter extraordinary wasn't just the design, but the myriad strategies that the initial iteration offered. Now, with a bevy of new content and tweaks, the possibilities branch out almost exponentially.

Leagues are a new way for competitive players to exercise their creative calculations. While ranked play is sure to be revitalized by AotA, leagues function as mini-tournaments in which players compete with a small group of other players for a modest pizza (paid currency) entry fee. After about an hour and a half of playing in a small number of games — four, for example — the top players within each pod earn rewards, such as unique figures for combat (cosmetic), additional pizza refunded beyond the entry fee, and chests. Players are typically placed with those of similar rank, and decks are either set for everyone or made by players. Overall, this system adds another method for players to compete with one another and earn rewards, but the player base is so small at the moment that running into the same players repeatedly may cause frustration or boredom.

The new treasure hunt series of adventures includes some classic Card Hunter banter between Melvin and Gary, but those who enjoyed the ongoing plot of the core campaign will be left wanting. This may be consistent with previous treasure hunts, but I know I looked forward to additional storyline. The series of adventures offers the usual fare with D&D-esque descriptions and baddies. Initial quests are lower level, and fans dusting off their decks may find the adventures grindy and mindless, but the last treasure hunt ramps up the difficulty with a higher level comparable to the end of the core campaign. Here, I had to exercise some creativity and planning, but is all of this worthy of a $15 price tag?

Much of Attack of the Artifacts accentuates what made Card Hunter engrossing in the first place. While the expansion relies heavily on player purchases — a $15 bundle plus however much players invest in leagues — some returning veterans may be left wanting. The ultimate deciding factor on purchasing pizza rests on how appetizing the prospect sounds. Are you drooling in anticipation of additional Card Hunter content, or is it time go on a diet?

© 2014 Blue Manchu. All rights reserved.

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