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Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales Switch Review

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales Switch

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Release: January 28, 2020
Publisher: CD Projekt
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Genre: Puzzle, Role-playing, Switch Reviews


Great About Rating

Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is a role-playing game that heavily incorporates a revamped version of Gwent, the card game featured in the Witcher games. Originally released in 2018 on PC and consoles, Thronebreaker has now made its way to the Nintendo Switch! While it does incorporate the card game, Thronebreaker is much more than that. Featuring a 30+ hour campaign, the game plays very much like a typical isometric RPG. How will these juxtaposed styles mash into a game, and how will they play out on the Switch? Let’s take a look and find out!

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The Witcher has had a great run of popularity in the past few years, and currently shows no signs of slowing down. The Witcher 3 continues to see a lot of playtime and is frequently featured on Steam sales, the Netflix show had an overwhelmingly positive reception, and a standalone Gwent game was finally realized. Thronebreaker looks to expand on these successes by creating a game that is built around Gwent but also gives it a lengthy and rewarding single-player campaign.

The storytelling in Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is absolutely fantastic. All text is voice-acted and there are usually sound effects to go along with it. Decisions you make feel important, and their impact can be felt later in the game. These decisions can often revolve around which resources you choose to spend to solve various issues.

The visual style of Thronebreaker is, in a word, beautiful. The cel-shaded isometric world feels like that of an upgraded point-and-click world. Your character roams around this world to gather resources that are used to continue the story and build your army (Gwent deck). This is quite a clever mechanic, as it does not feel tedious to build your deck, but instead quite rewarding. I really cannot overstate how enjoyable the graphics are, even the cards themselves have little animations that elevate the overall experience.

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The mechanical gameplay of the game, as mentioned previously, is achieved by games of Gwent. The game offers a thorough step-by-step tutorial for playing Gwent, which will be very important to new players to the card game, or a welcome refresher for those of us who haven’t played it in a while.

The basics of Gwent come down to a turn-based card game that is played in a best-of-3-rounds fashion. Each round consists of each player taking turns and laying cards on the board. These cards have various strength levels and abilities that, when played strategically, can help boost your side of the field and hinder your opponent. Whichever player has the greatest combined strength at the end of the round is given a point, first to two points is victorious.

Thronebreaker also throws puzzles at you that need to be completed by achieving various goals in uniquely set-up card games. These challenges can be run over and over until successfully completed, so don’t be afraid to try a strategy out just because you might fail!

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The details of Gwent become much more exciting when you begin to unlock more cards, allowing you to customize your deck to your preferred playstyle, all of which is constantly evolving as you play more and more games. Many of the cards you receive also become available for online/multiplayer play in the standalone and free-to-play Gwent game, meaning once you have completed the campaign, you can continue your Gwent career against live opponents!

While the standalone Gwent game can scare players away with its complexity and steep learning curve, Thronebreaker really makes good use of tutorials and challenges to slowly introduce players to the game, its base mechanics and its potential.

Overall, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is a wonderfully entertaining game that successfully bridges the gap between The Witcher core games and the Gwent standalone game, offering fans more story and RPG roaming while still relying on the impressive depth and uniqueness of gameplay offered by the card game. This game has a very wide range of appeal – everyone from fans of the franchise, RPGs and CCGs will find elements here that will make Thronebreaker a worthwhile purchase and play through!

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