CD Projekt Red’s latest release is Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales and is set in the same universe as their critically acclaimed open world RPG title The Witcher 3. Released on October 23, it is available exclusively through GOG for the PC and will be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on December 4.
What is Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales?
Thronebreaker is a roleplaying strategy game that revolves around the card battle minigame used in The Witcher 3, Gwent. In place of a combat system, this game uses cards to do battle, with each card representing characters encountered throughout the course of the game.
Yet, the game is much more than a glorified card game and features a rich story that is teaming with compelling characters and interesting dialogues.
In this game players take on the role of Queen Meve and follow her journey as she explores areas of The Witcher world that have previously been unseen, such as Rivia, Lyria, and Mahakam. Meve is an intriguing protagonist with multiple layers and is extremely enjoyable to play as. You Along way the way you will encounter political turmoil and have to make game-changing moral decisions that will leave you questioning your levels of personal honor and humanity.
The game is an interesting concoction of various different gameplay styles, combining elements of adventure, strategy, point-and-click, and visual novels. The player can move freely throughout the world using a mouse or controller from a top-down perspective. Whilst roaming the map as Queen Meve, you can take on quests and gather items and resources to help you in throughout the game.
As with previous Witcher instalments, Thronebreaker makes use of animated cutscenes in the style of graphic novels in order to further the dialogue between characters and advance the story of the game. It is also possible to make dialogue choices within conversations that can sometimes lead to change in the path of the story.
You must also manage resources efficiently and recruit units within a customizable war camp, from which you can build an army and take part in epic story battles that affect the way the game plays out. Battles are done through Gwent, with over 250 cards available to use throughout the game. Special cards and leader cards are also available and provide various perks and advantages to help you claim victory. The game also implements story specific mechanics into Gwent,
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Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales has a good amount of content, with over 30 hours of story gameplay and 20 possible different outcomes to the game based on your decisions. In addition to the main story, the game has 75 side quests that are predominantly based around solving puzzles.
The story is captivating, and the characters are engaging, particularly Queen Meve, whose choices can occasionally make her seem morally questionable. These types of intriguing characters are exactly the type that you want to see in an RPG game.
Voice acting in the game is top level, as was the case with The Witcher 3, and this is supplemented with a beautiful artistic style and high-level animations.
Thronebreaker has also had its negative critics since its release, with many claiming that the gameplay is quite slow and boring. Some players claim to have completed the game in just a few days of casual playing and, because of this, feel that the game does not justify its price tag.
The game’s story has also been criticised for its linearity. Some players of Thronebreaker feel like they didn’t have enough of an active role in the plot, which inhibited the immersion of the game and rendered a lot of the dialogue pointless.
Other criticisms have pointed towards the ease of the gameplay, with some players revealing that they only had to change their Gwent deck a few times in order to complete a battle and progress through the story.
Should I buy Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales?
Overall, Thronebreaker is a fantastic blend of storytelling, RPG gaming, adventure and strategy, which all rolls neatly together into a big ball of highly captivating and impressive gameplay.
If you are not fan of card games, the story itself makes the game a must buy, especially for those who are familiar with the series. If you are a fan of card games but not the series, it is also still worth trying, as Gwent is a thoroughly well-thought out strategy game that can test your tactical abilities.
Similar Games to Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
If you like Thronebreaker, you might also like Magic: The Gathering – Puzzle Quest, which has a similar battling ard game system. You may also like Hand of Fate 2 and Hex: Shards of Fate, which are card-based games with elements of RPG and fantasy.
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