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    Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, our judgment

    Who I am
    Marie-Ange Demory
    @marie-angedemory

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    Starting from a small intuition to get to something much bigger: CD Projekt RED he did it one more time. What was supposed to be a simple side business in The Witcher 3 it has become an entity in its own right. We are obviously talking about Gwent, the card game based on the world of the witcher Geralt of Rivia and his companions. The recent renovation - called Homecoming - has brought important changes, both to the dynamics of the game (such as the disappearance of one of the three rows on the ground) and to the general appearance of cards and menus. All this has been accompanied by an exponential increase in content - see the system of contracts, rewards and the stories dedicated to each individual faction - making Gwent one of the largest and most valid collectible card games of the moment. The fact that Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales can be considered as an "expansion" of the aforementioned should not deceive you: far be it from us to approach the adventure of Queen Meve with contents such as Naxxramas or Blackrock Massif (Hearthstone). That of the twin kingdoms of Lyria and Rivia is an almost independent story from the reference title, a full-fledged role-playing game, sold at an absolutely competitive price. The immense efforts of the Polish studio to give users a valid and different product have paid off, not without some small uncertainty. Considering the considerable number of hours to complete everything, the quality and density of the offer, it is at least necessary to start with order. Find out with us what awaits you in Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales.



    Connecting directly to the renewed introduction of Gwent, the incipit presented us with the handcuffed stranger. On the way for a long time now, he is asked by the guards to tell another story. Seated in a tavern, the prisoner's grave and profound words bring the tale of Thronebreaker to life. A golden armor, a heavy crown and a relentless sword: Queen Meve of Lyria and Rivia is the proud star of the single-player spin-off of Gwent. The events narrated precede what was seen in the third chapter of the most famous trilogy, coinciding with the beginning of the Nilfgaardian expansionist plan. The conquest of the wild north is the main objective of Emperor Emhyr var Emreis, before whose eyes fall, one after another, the northern regions. During the return trip to the palace, interrupted by various scuffles between humans, bandits and scoia'tael, our darling has to deal with much more than a headache: on the one hand, internal conflicts tear the region apart, impoverishing the weakest; on the other hand, the insignia of the black armies stand out in the sky, among the fields and in the villages, moving slowly but inexorably like an omen of death. As if that weren't enough, the lack of men to trust makes the future of the kingdoms even more uncertain. First of all Prince Villem, son of Meve, who is still unable to govern in the absence of his mother, given inexperience, young age and weak disposition.



    The touch of the CD Projekt RED writers is immediately recognizable, who managed to create an interesting story, full of twists and turns and well-designed dialogues. The great care taken into the narrative is a mirror of the zeal of the Warsaw house: few would have expected this result from an expansion for a card game. Glad to have been proven wrong, Thronebreaker has offered us an experience well above expectations, which can hardly - if not impossible - find in other exponents of the same genre. Staying true to the mantra of The Witcher 3, the developers have inserted various crossroads within the dialogues and curtains, each with significant consequences at the moment or in the long term. Order men to solve a problem or pay someone else with hard cash? Hang a rebellious and marginalized elf or show yourself magnanimous, antagonizing troops and commoners? We have often found ourselves choosing the lesser of evils, or facing the mistakes deriving from our excessive leniency.

    Forget about cards: Thronebreaker is a real role-playing game

    Lyria, Aedirn, Mahakam, Angren and Rivia: these are the five maps on which we have moved our steps. With the simple click of the mouse it is possible to direct the protagonist to discover secrets, resources to accumulate and prizes to be redeemed in Gwent. Scattered across the map, the random encounters and the puzzles to be solved are in large numbers, each with an appropriate solution consistent with the events. The navigation system, however simple and immediate, does not escape a few stumbling blocks. In fact, it will happen that Meve gets stuck in some ravine, unable to reach the desired destination and forcing us to select other clods as we go. On the left side of the screen we find the very useful map, the collection of documents and the base camp. In the latter, the tents and structures set up for the control and enhancement of resources are positioned. Just like in an RPG, each tent follows a skill tree and needs to be improved with the investment of gold and lumber. Unlocked nodes allow us to recruit more men, move faster, or get higher rewards after battles. We do not feel like rewarding the inclusion of the management element, as - although not invasive - it does not prove to have the right weight for the purpose of carrying out it.




    However, the real focus of the offer remains the fight: whether it is against humans or one of the many aberrations born of Polish folklore, the clashes always take place on the pitch.. Relying on our deck of cards, it's up to us to decide the fate of the conflict, assembling a library that is always suitable for the situation. By hiring new supporting actors, they join our army and it is possible to deploy them to activate their powerful effects on the field. Following the arrival of the Homecoming version, the basic rules of Gwent have been significantly altered to be even simpler. In addition to the elimination of the third row, our hero is visibly present at the edge of the screen, with his own set of animations and voice lines. However, the effects of the cards in Thronebreaker differ from their counterparts in the base game, to be more balanced against real opponents and to allow for fairer duels. Leaving aside the most classic encounters with the enemy, the funniest activities are undoubtedly the puzzles and some secondary missions that consist in killing monsters. To complete the former, the solution must be reached in a single round and precise and calculated moves must be implemented to respect the victory conditions: the wyvern must be prevented from eating the surrounding cows, while the necrophages must be eliminated without leaving them. chance to reproduce.



    USEFUL INFO

    We completed Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales on a very modest mid-range PC, without encountering any particular annoyances, benefiting from the sixty frames. Plunging back into the world born from the union of the minds of Sapkowski and CD Projekt RED is always an immense pleasure.

    Duration
    • About thirty hours.
    Structure
    • Point and click exploration of the map
    • Battles based on the Gwent card game
    • Multiple choice dialogues with sensitive consequences
    Collectibles and Extras
    • Resources (lumber, gold and troops).
    • Golden Chests (items to be redeemed in the basic version of Gwent).
    Game Card
    • Game Name: Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
    • Release date: October 23, 2018
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
    • Dubbing language: Italian
    • Texts language: Italian

    A respectable narrative and entertaining game mechanics is combined with what is the real strong point of the entire production: the artistic sector. Every single element, from the explorable maps to the protagonists, has been reproduced with a decidedly pleasant style. Remembering very closely the typical hatching of Telltale titles (peace be upon him), Thronebreaker is the delight of comic lovers and confirms the great talent of the artists at CD Projekt RED. Moving on the pitch, on several occasions we had the sensation of exploring an illustrated book. From the great care placed in every single detail, Gwent confirms itself as one of the most beautiful - artistically speaking - and most intuitive trading card games. The step forward made by Homecoming saw the abandonment of the canonical wooden table with three rows to make room for a real terrain, a dirty and devastated battlefield, where battle remains and armor of the fallen are scattered. All this is to the benefit of the overall maturity of the game, less playful and darker, now indicating even more the type of target it intends to address.. There is little to say instead about the soundtrack, always evocative, excellently performed and with the typical notes of popular folk instruments much appreciated both in The Witcher 3 and in standalone Gwent. From a technical point of view, even played on a mid-range PC, Thronebreaker is always fluid and without uncertainties whatsoever. The sixty frames per second do justice to both the clashes and the animations of the Premium cards, this time also accompanied by sound effects. Instead, what could disturb the players is the sporadic aliasing: absent when it comes to the settings and the characters, this occurs in a light form during some transitions of the matches and on the edge of the cards.

    It now seems almost redundant to want to praise every single project of the Polish studio with the sword, but not doing so would be tantamount to wanting to forcibly find the so-called nit. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales betrays expectations and does it in the best way: no one would have expected such an outcome from an expansion for a card game. What many expected as a welcome but far too simple addition turned out to be a unique and fresh experience. Comparing the adventure of Queen Meve to those previously introduced by Blizzard in Hearthstone (fun fights with a succession of bosses and nothing more) could be truly merciless. Selling a full-fledged role-playing game at a budget price with a total duration of about thirty hours reflects the intellectual honesty of the CD Projekt RED developers, who - aware of the experimental nature of the title - have opted for a pro-user solution. . The solidity of the narrative is a symptom of the skill of the writers, who even without the help of the witcher's stories managed to create an interesting, coherent adventure, full of twists and dialogues at the height of the original trilogy. For its part, the artistic sector raises the qualitative bar, giving us not only the most beautiful version of the Gwent seen so far, but also scenarios and details that we would not struggle to define as "a feast for the eyes".

    Farow's review
    Graphics

    The art style is very reminiscent of that adopted by the now departed Telltale, making the whole experience like a comic book in motion. Impossible not to appreciate both the characters and the settings, together with the illustrations of the cards always of great level. The tiny technical uncertainties do not in any way invalidate the final product, which is confirmed as one of the best expansions for a card game ever conceived.

    92
    SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

    The dubbing of the characters in Italian was performed discreetly: if on the one hand the instruments of the Polish folk tradition do an excellent job as always, on the other hand the voices of the protagonists are not confirmed on the same level.

    85
    GAMEPLAY

    Having refined and simplified some game mechanics, has undoubtedly made Gwent even more accessible and intuitive. The navigation on the five main maps is always done in a simple way, with a simple click of the mouse, occasionally running into some small obstacle. Honorable mention for the puzzles and battles with monsters, which offer intelligent and imaginative solutions.

    90
    Total Rating scale
    89
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