Developed by CD Projekt RED Published by CD Projekt RED Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Microsoft Windows and Xbox One)
The Witcher is a series that’s gain wild popularity in the past several years. Whether you’ve gotten into the tales of Geralt of Rivia through the video games that’s been released over time, or even if you were a fan of the iconic character through the original short stories, at some point you may have delved into the world of fantasy and wonder. With how well the spin off card game of the series GWENT has done in the past, there’s another way to experience more from the world of The Witcher series in Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales. While this game may not play like the more popular Witcher games, fans who want more from the series and seek another excuse to play GWENT might want to take a good look at this game.
The game is basically GWENT with a story mode. You follow the story of Meve, a warrior queen as you move across the country. As you go through the world you’ll have to play various rounds of a story based version of GWENT, where you play cards that not only have a set value, but also attack other cards for damage. At the end of three rounds, whoever has the highest value of cards on the field wins the game. However you may not always want to use your strongest cards right from the start since once the round of gameplay ends, all cards used are discarded. So sometimes it might be better for you to just hold on to your better cards until the later rounds to claim victory rather than try to catch up on a losing round. Occasionally the game changes it up with a couple of puzzles games where you play a set of cards in a certain order or in a specific way to continue.
There’s also the option of crafting new cards by walking around the overworld map. It’s also on the map where you find quests, treasures, and come across choices where you can get rewards, trigger more battles, and cause changes to solider morale for combat advantages and or disadvantages. This is a good way to slightly mix up gameplay based on your preferences and choices, and even change the cards that you might get down the road.
The way the story is told is a combination of voiced character cutaways as well as a narrator speaking about the events as if it were being read from one of The Witcher short story books. Anytime there’s text on the screen, aside from any tutorials, the narrator reads it out loud to give it the storybook feel that’s also well conveyed through the game’s graphics. Overall it’s a pretty nice presentation for the story, especially if you like the feel of reading one of The Witcher short stories.
While this plays like the game GWENT with a story, there might be moments where you can’t help but want the game to skip over the walking element and just jump from one round of gameplay to the next. Yes, you could ignore some of what you could run in to, but you could potentially miss out on some useful rewards by playing that way exclusively. On top of that, just playing haphazardly could potentially not allow you to get the cards you might want, but you could also pigeon-hole yourself into one of the multiple endings you might end up with.
In the end, if GWENT is one of your favorite games to play and you want a way to play more of it with a different twist, or you just want more stories that take place in The Witcher universe then Thronebreaker is indeed for you. It will especially appeal to you if you happen to already be a fan of series to begin with.