Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - Review, the perfect fusion between Gwent and RPG

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - Review, the perfect fusion between Gwent and RPG

Since its first appearance in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the Gwent has been very successful within the videogame audience. In fact, a collectible card game was proposed that was very different from the canonical Magic and Yu-Gi-OH, and thus gave a breath of fresh air to the entire genre. Excited by its success, the developers of CD Projekt RED have created a stand alone version of this game to allow, initially to a few lucky ones and then gradually to more and more people, to challenge each other in fun multiplayer games. In these years of Beta the game has changed and evolved many times compared to the original tested within The Witcher 3, and now, having reached its final release, this card game is joined by a single player component to be discovered. ; it's about Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, a title that blends the card game we all know with an isometric RPG component. Aware of having intrigued you, let's go immediately to tell you about it.Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - Review, the perfect fusion between Gwent and RPG

A bit of history

The story told in Thronebreaker is prior to the events dealt with in the videogame trilogy of The Witcher and in particular it narrates the events that took place in Lyria immediately before and during the second war against the Nilfgaard empire. Meve, queen of Lyria and Rivia, who has returned to her kingdom after the meeting of the rulers of the North held in Hagge, discovers that in her absence the cities under her rule have been plundered by a band of bandits who call themselves "The Stray of Shoulder". He will immediately set out to put an end to these raids, but as soon as the leader of the brigands is captured, he will have to face a much larger and more dangerous enemy: Nilfgaard. Yes, the empire of the South has in fact just crossed the Jaruga and is already putting the possessions of the beautiful warrior queen to fire and sword. It will therefore be up to you to lead your army into battle to try to stop the advance of the blacks.

A war is not made of battles alone

Thronebreaker has a duration of approximately 20 hours of gameplay and its gameplay is divided into two distinct phases: a part dedicated to exploration in isometric view with RPG elements, interspersed with dialogues that are very reminiscent of the style of the Visual Novels, and another of combat which is nothing more than the classic game to Gwent. So let's go and analyze them in detail.

During the exploration phases the player will impersonate the warrior queen Meve and, moving from village to village towards the next objective, he will be able to interact with lots of characters, sometimes also meeting some familiar faces to those who have already played the videogame trilogy or, even better, read all the books of the saga. As anticipated before, these encounters will often result in real ones Visual Novel style dialogues, which will allow the player not only to know more about the plot and any historical hints, but also to interact concretely with the game world. In fact, in certain circumstances you will be asked to make important decisions and, based on your choices, the world around you will change accordingly. For example, after having quelled a carnage at the expense of Non-Humans, you will be asked whether to hang the perpetrators or to let them get away with punishing them only with a few lashes; Well, according to your decision, the village will come to life with bodies hanging from a noose or with soldiers whipping the backs of the executioners. It is also useful to remember that your choices will also affect the morale of your army, thus giving you bonuses or penalties within the fights.

A praise must be made to the developers of CD Projekt RED regarding the dialogues. In fact, these have not only been translated into our mother tongue, but have also been excellently dubbed, thus giving further depth to this work.

Moving around the game map you will often come across heaps of resources, banners and treasure chests: if the first two will provide you with the raw materials useful for the creation of your cards and to upgrade your base camp (Gold, Timber and Recruits), the latter will allow you to find instead unique cards that you can take advantage of in the multiplayer mode, thus unlocking them within Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. As mentioned earlier, you can access your base camp at any time during your exploration. In this way you will be able to upgrade your cards, modify your deck, acquire passive or active bonuses that will greatly facilitate you and, by taking a little trip to the camp inn, you will have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge with some characters that are part of your company. .Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - Review, the perfect fusion between Gwent and RPG

Let's now move on to the combat phases, or rather, to the Gwent. The card game you were used to in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt no longer exists, but even those who have only played the multiplayer open beta so far will find themselves a little lost. In fact, the playing field is now composed no longer of three positioning lines per player, but only of two, a vanguard and a rear. Also Leaders are no longer cards, but they are instead real characters with specific abilities that, in some cases, can be exploited several times in battle. There are also many minor changes that, however, make this card game much more profound. Playing Thronebreaker you will encounter three different types of fights: The classic best-of-three battle, quick battle, and puzzles. Avoiding wasting time talking about the first option, whose functioning is rather obvious, it is worth dwelling on the other two. The quick battle is in all respects the same as the classic battle, but the player starts in a stalemate in which both he and the enemy have already won a turn. He must therefore abandon the card saving strategy typical of standard fights, aiming instead to annihilate the enemy by making the most of the repechage and skills of his army. Then there are the puzzles. These are special fights whose purpose is not always to overwhelm the enemy, but to fulfill the victory conditions. The player will not face these battles with their own deck of cards, but will instead have to work their way up and figure out how to use the cards given to them to meet the victory requirements. The latter option is perhaps the most fun because it pushes the player to think about the functioning of the cards and to find a solution to apparently unsolvable puzzles.Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales - Review, the perfect fusion between Gwent and RPG

A unique graphic style

Visually speaking Thronebreaker is truly a feast for the eyes. Thanks to a style that is halfway between a cartoon and a comic book in very bright colors, this work manages to convey the idea of ​​the drama of the events that follow each other without unnecessarily burdening the game with pompous graphics. (remember that it is a collectible card game). If we really had to find a mole in this work this would be the animation of the mouth during the Visual Novel style phases; it is in fact a bit too artificial and, in this way, attracts a lot of the attention of the most critical eyes. Also commendable is the work of CD Projekt RED to modernize the playing field of the Gwent: what was once a table, now becomes a real battlefield and this changes according to the leaders present in the game. The new card animations are also really appreciated, now much smoother and more complex.

In conclusion

Thronebreaker is more than just a single player mode of a well-established trading card game. It is in fact an unmissable videogame experience that attracts the player to itself in the same way a moth is attracted to the light of a lamp. With Thronebreaker the developers of CD Projekt RED dress Gwent: The Witcher Card Game with the party dress, embellishing it with a marked RPG mode and with dialogues and historical notes that allow the gamer to discover more about the game world and the reader to relive the epic pitched battles present in the saga written by Andrzej Sapkowski.

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