Hearthstone Review

How fair is the free-to-play model in Hearthstone?

21

490 days ago

Hearthstone is a rich man's game - you either have to pour hundreds of pounds into the murderously powerful Legendary decks all the veterans use, or you sit back and watch as they effortlessly stomp all over your puny starting deck again and again and again.

159

969 days ago

If you want to play regularly in the Arena, be prepared to make a significant investment. But anybody can spend their lunchbreaks in 'Play' mode, and need not buy a single booster pack to be competitive.

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How good are the sounds in Hearthstone?

159

969 days ago

The small-scale orchestral, pirate-bar soundtrack is absolutely lovely - but on my laptop it's prone to occasional stammering during matches. The options page doesn't offer any solutions, beyond turning it off and sitting at the board in tense silence.

159

969 days ago

Every victory ends with the splintering of your opponent's avatar portrait, followed by an explosion, followed by fanfare, followed by fireworks. It reads like something gratuitous, or even pathetic. So it's testament to the close attention Blizzard have paid to the likes of PopCap that it sounds instead like the validation of all the time you've spent on the deckbuilding screen. Silly, yet subtle.

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How active is the multiplayer community for Hearthstone?

159

969 days ago

Oh goodness, is it ever active. Two weeks ago, I attended DreamHack Stockholm to watch the European Hearthstone Finals. Hundreds watched from the stands of the Globe arena, and tens of thousands watched on Twitch. Those thousands are just the segment of Hearthstone's playerbase interested in the meta - plenty more play happily at home.

You will not struggle to find a match.

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How free are you to build your own decks in Hearthstone?

159

969 days ago

Very well. Hearthstone is the CCG anybody can enjoy. It doesn't ask for patience, or wiki memorisation, or even a monetary investment from the off. It just gently coaxes you into battle with real opponents, and leads you to victories you know came about thanks to your brain and nobody else's.

A match never lasts longer than 20 minutes, but you'll lose whole evenings. It is the perfect gateway drug for introducing friends to a whole genre.

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How good are the graphics in Hearthstone?

159

969 days ago

A little imagination is required. Don't expect to see murlocs come gurgling to life in full 3D when you deploy them. This digital card game looks like just that, for the most part.

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How does Hearthstone run on your PC?

159

969 days ago

Pretty and powerful though Hearthstone's engine clearly is, Blizzard haven't lost sight of the fact that it's just a card game - the sort of thing you'd expect to be able to play in bed. And you can.

Hearthstone runs a dream on both my Alienware X51 and integrated cheese melt of a laptop. Most importantly, it always seems to handle the last-second flurry of moves on a difficult turn without freezing or framerate issues. It thinks as fast as you do.

Unless you're already playing Diablo or WoW, battle.net's an unnecessarily large and unwieldy launcher for a game like this. It's the desktop app's background updates, rather than the game itself, that's likely to cause you slowdown on a low-end machine.

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5 reviewers answered 7 questions