“Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales” Early Impressions
I normally give these ‘early impressions’ games about two or so hours. Generally, that’s enough. With Thronebreaker, I’ve put in about 6 hours now, and every time I dipped back in for ‘I just need this one screenshot’, I ended up at least doing another battle or two.
Which should be something of a good sign, right?
Yes and no.
Thronebreaker unravels its secrets very slowly. First, perhaps a good idea to head back a few steps and tell you what Thronebreaker even is… Well, it’s a spin-off of The Witcher game series. Possibly the name gave that away. Specifically, it followed hot on the heels of Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, itself an extracted and expanded version of the Gwent card game that featured heavily as a constant distraction in The Witcher 3.
The biggest divergence from the original Witcher 3 version of Gwent, I think, is the removal of a row — from three per side, down to two — and a loosening of restrictions on where cards can be placed. Rather than each card being forced in a certain position, you might find that some cards have abilities that can activate from a certain position or that activate differently depending on where they’re placed.
Initially, this wasn’t a change I much cared for, but with further play, I’ve come to appreciate the increased dynamism allowed for.
Perhaps surprisingly for a CCG (although then again, maybe not so surprising given the developers) Thronebreaker has a story to tell. It’s a CRPG where you trade in character stats for your craftable, changeable deck of cards. You get a series of build trees to develop your camp. You get a fully voiced — narrator and characters both — tale.
The voice acting is, for the most part, very competent and the story has certainly picked up. With where I am, I believe I’m essentially done with the first map of the game and I’m looking forward to moving on to a new region, with hopefully more of a progression to both story and what cards are available to me to craft.
Asides from pacing with the game, the other complaint I have is that the big, fancy, ‘gold chests’ you can occasionally find around the map which look to have the best of the best treasure in them give you rewards for.. Er, a different game. They give you things in Gwent, the multiplayer edition.
If you’re interested in playing that, bonus! It’s what the Multiplayer option on the main menu takes you to, even. But if you’re not interested in that at all, realising you’ll never get anything beneficial from these for the game you are playing becomes incredibly irksome.
For all that… I’ve enjoyed Thronebreaker.
Will I finish it?
Hard to say. But I’ll definitely be carrying on past the point of simply playing it for the purpose of this Humble Choice impressions post.
So if you’re wondering whether or not the inclusion of Thronebreaker in February’s Humble Choice should stay your hand from hitting ‘Pause’, my opinion based on these early impressions so far is that it should. :)