REVIEW – The Witcher franchise has expanded further, although not with a main instalment. While the GWENT-playing is present, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is mostly a single-player story mode to it, unifying an adventure game with playing cards, although I’m not sure if I could recommend the game to those who aren’t familiar with the franchise…
I don’t tend to play card games, to be frank, so Gwent or Hearthstone are not something I am familiar with. Still, Thronebreaker has playing cards on an absolute importance level, as we put together our armies with cards – we fight via the cards. Yes, you have to get used to this fact, but you will eventually flip the table as you lead yourself and the protagonist (to be revealed in the next paragraph) to victory.
…is the name of the queen who wants to take the throne back. The story is mostly about her adventures after the Nilfgaards’ invasion turns out to be successful. Meve’s goal is to build up a decent army with the helpers picked up from the neighbouring regions, and on her road, the Nilfgaards and the Scoia’tels are both getting knocked out. The latter characters will never be on good terms with us – it is part of The Witcher’s world after all. You might ask, what about Geralt? Yes, he is also part of the game, as an outsider character. He will not have as a significant role as seen in The Witcher trilogy – don’t say that I didn’t warn you!
There will also be difficult decisions to make, as per usual with the franchise, which means Thronebreaker is on form on this aspect, too: you might think that one move has only one side to the story, but there’s potential that the coin has that other side as well, which you might consider. The storylines will not always have positive endings, which, come to think of it, is a good thing: the story is well developed, which deserves praise in my opinion.
Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales looks enjoyable. Sure, it’s not on the same level as The Witcher 3 from three and a half years ago, but come on – this game doesn’t want to be an AAA title! It’s half-priced (it’s not 60 dollars on GOG, just around 30!), and yet, it’s not half-quality – I think the cutscenes that seem to be drawn (and they are voice-acted!) are really enjoyable, and the voice acting is just as good as a The Witcher title.
The isometric RPG‘s visuals might be somewhat difficult to enjoy at first, but you’ll get used to it. I don’t think there should be any complaints about the audiovisuals.
The card battles differ from Gwent – instead of three rows, you’ll have only two rows of cards, all with their unique ability. Also, the battles take only one round. You’ll probably get the hang of it in no time – I know it sounds difficult on paper, but experiencing it will clear things up. Also, if you move on the map with Meve, you should always keep your resources (namely the recruitable members, gold, and wood) in mind, as these will be necessary to improve your deck, as well as upgrading your base. The latter should be getting a ton of attention, as with the highest level upgrades, you could not only replace your cards with stronger versions that could say, do double damage over the previous version, but also make brand new cards. There’s even a card that allows you to have even more cards in your deck (it does sound stupid if you asked me), but, unlike Gwent, running out of your pack isn’t going to be an issue here – you’ll always have plenty of cards to play, and there will be some that automatically activate at the beginning of the battle, too.
And maybe Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales‘ problem lies within the cards. Changing them around seemingly doesn’t affect the plot that much, and I also didn’t seem to run into trouble either. I mean, I didn’t feel the need to modify my deck that much – perhaps the difficulty is lower than it should be? Maybe the devs should have focused on the missions where you are forced to use a fixed deck to win – these are entertaining, and they break up the adventures nicely in a positive manner!
Recommended for fans
If you love the world of The Witcher, what are you waiting for? (If your answer is a console port, then it’s out in a few months I think.) Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is a black sheep from CD Projekt RED, but it’s still a great game, worthy of an 8 (or, for fans, an 8.5) out of 10. The reason why it’s not higher is that the cards don’t seem to influence the story, and maybe the difficulty is somewhat low. Without these issues, Thronebreaker could have grabbed a 9 out of 10. Still, it’s a decent game.
+ The world of The Witcher, but with different, enjoyable visuals
+ Card battles
+ A well-developed story
– Maybe it’s too easy, except for the fixed deck missions
– The cards should influence the story a bit, shouldn’t they?
– This game might become an obscure one despite its developer…
Publisher: CD Projekt RED = GOG
Developer: CD Projekt RED
Genre: isometric RPG with cards
Release date: October 23, 2018