GSY Review PS4 Xbox One PC

First introduced as a small solo mode for the free collectible card game (CCG) Gwent, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales has recently been promoted to a fully priced game. A wise choice considering that, from Etherlords to Slay the Spire, single player CCG have always been quite popular among players. But it also forces CDProjekt to face a haunting question: can the Witcher universe survive without the Witcher?

And that's a difficult question. On the one hand, the studio has proved its ability to craft original sidequests and great dialogues paying justice to the charismatic characters created by Andrzej Sapkowski. On the other hand, the main story of The Witcher 3 was quite basic and devoid of any profound themes. And the same can be said about Thronebreaker.

Killer Queen

In Thronebreaker, you play as Meve, rightful queen of Lyria and Rivia, as she tries to free her lands from the Nilfgaardian invader. As you can guess, this is going to be a long and painful quest. Well-written and nicely voiced dialogues make the characters likable, which is a pretty good start. The torn society puts Meve in difficult situations were she has to make tough choices, sometimes with tough consequences. So yes, the world is immersive, but in the end, the story remains once again very basic and forgettable. Maybe because the queen lacks the charm and insight of Geralt.

The wooden throne

Exploration is also on the light side. You roam through 5 vast regions rendered in a nice looking comics style. In between battles, you'll mostly do three things: listen to the chichats of the inhabitants, dig some hidden treasures and pick up LOADS of gold and wood. The resources are used to unlock new perks and improve your army - in other words, getting new cards. It's fun but it could have been developed more, like in Heroes of Might and Might. It's not that big a deal though, because there is Gwent.

Who got the biggest one?

If you're unfamiliar with the game of Gwent, you need to know it's an unusual CCG, very different from Magic The Gathering's lineage. During the fight, there is no resource management at all, you just play one single card (strong or weak) per turn. You need to win two rounds (so you can pass on one) and you only draw new cards at the beginning of a round (so you need to manage your hand). Most importantly, victory does not come from killing your opponent but from having the most powerful army on the battlefield. Of course, you can destroy your opponent's creatures to achieve that, but that's only one option among many others.

I love it when a plan comes together!

You can use combos to boost your units, exploit the strength of your enemies, use the creatures that remain at the end of a round, play cards allowing to call back a soldier in your hand, to raise the dead from their graveyard, to call for reinforcements, or also use cards with afterdeath effects, cards that move units across the lines of the battlefield… Gwent's depth is just impressive, every single – and by the way absolutely gorgeous – card has a special ability. Furthermore, for some reason (pace, generous mulligan), deck building is way more important here than in other CCG. Battles are more about planned strategies than reactive tactics. Even better, Thronebreaker's main campaign does not just rely on classic fights. It also introduces some challenges that you must pass with your own deck and clever puzzles that must be solved with provided decks. How can true CCG fan resist that?

Verdict


Despite neat production value and dedicated writing, Thronebreaker might slightly disappoint those coming in for a memorable epic tale in Geralt’s world. That being said, single player CCG lovers and players willing to rediscover a much evolved Gwent will have a really good time. Thronebreaker is both a comprehensive fully fledged adventure and an in-depth introduction to the multiplayer matches. A great achievement in its own right.
  • On the mud side
  • The richness and originality of Gwent
  • Challenges and puzzles
  • Beautiful cards
  • Lengthy campaign with likable characters
  • Art, sound, music and voices…
  • On the downside
  • The main story isn't truly memorable
  • Light on the management side

Gamersyde images

  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
  • Gamersyde images
MinorDespera
MinorDespera
Commented on 2018-11-19 11:23:11
I'm glad CDPR didn't go Ubisoft and EA way and release their games only on their own secluded platform. Because there were talks they'd only release Thronebreaker on GOG.
In reply to
gamersycks
gamersycks
Commented on 2018-11-20 20:41:22
You didn't read the books, did you? It really adds impact on the Witcher games as well as on Thronebreaker.
In reply to
About the game
Platform
PC PS4 XBOXONE
Published by
CD Projekt RED
Developed by
CD Projekt RED
Patreon

$232 of $400 per month

What's up?
  • HR2

    HR2 Next-Gen Hair shown off by EA and Dice [url] (13 Hours ago)

  • HR2

    HR2 @b0vril: cheers (13 Hours ago)

  • b0vril

    b0vril [url] (16 Hours ago)

  • HR2

    HR2 @b0vril: could you please share the link? (16 Hours ago)

  • b0vril

    b0vril @HR2: Also the podcast for the series is really good. (16 Hours ago)

  • HR2

    HR2 it has everything one would expect from a series, a unique take on that horrible incident, a gripping true story, masterfully-crafted dialogues and lines, and then there's the atmosphere. (17 Hours ago)

  • HR2

    HR2 @nostradamus: spread joy not spoilers :D, jokes aside, I always find myself fascinated by stories about the Chernobyl incident, and this one is no exception (17 Hours ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood GSY is getting some nice content at 3 pm CEST with our July podcast and some videos of the Deus Ex Mankind Divided preview build. :) (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood For once we'll be live at 4:30 pm CEST. Blim should not even be tired! (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood More Quantum Break coverage coming in a few hours, 9:00 a.m CEST. (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood We'll have a full review up for Firewatch at 7 pm CET. Videos will only be tomorrow though. (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood Tonight's livestream will be at 9:15 GMT+1, not GMT+2 as first stated. (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood New GSY Live dedicated this time to Just Cause 3 on Tuesday 9:30 GMT+2 (> 3 Months ago)

  • Driftwood

    Driftwood Join us tomorrow at 10 pm GMT+2 for a new livestream. We'll be playing Rise of the Tomb Raider. (> 3 Months ago)

Also on Gamersyde

New livestream with 2 special guests

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2019
  • Driftwood

The GSY Livestreams are back

  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019
  • Driftwood

Our videos of A Plague Tale: Innocence

  • Monday, May 13, 2019
  • Driftwood