In recent years, video games related to trading cards are depopulated: we have seen the transformation of the game of World of Warcraft in Hearthstone, the arrival of Magic with MTG Arena and many "clone" systems that reported more or less fancy mechanics on mobile devices. We also found out how some brands have started a work of creation: Artifact was Valve's attempt as we are now seeing Riot's Runeterra. However, if there has always been one thing that has fascinated me, it is the terror that brands have of proposing something different, even minimally different from the "standard". For this I am a huge fan of Gwent, its particular mechanics and, above all, its almost total lack of "luck" factor. Not being the only one, of course CD Project Red took the opportunity by creating, from a simple minigame to The Witcher 3, a standalone title of collectible cards, and subsequently a dedicated adventure that uses Gwent as the main game mechanic: let's talk about Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, and this is the version review for switch.
Same but different
As has often been said, the game focuses heavily on the plot: it is about Queen Meve of the kingdom of Lyria and Rivia and her adventure. If then Geralt is not the protagonist of this title, the indelible mark of the saga is still evident: good and evil - and after watching the TV series you should have understood - are never well defined, and often a lesser evil serves a greater good. Queen Meve knows this, and this will be the great obstacle that, leading to exasperation (in a positive sense) the player, will immediately catapult you into an adventure really close to those you already know. For the rest, the work aims to tell you all this through dialogues that you can start by traveling in this isometric map, where you will control your character and, based on the path you choose and the missions you will do, also any allies. Precisely these missions, which will combine exploration and combat (which we will talk about shortly) are the heart of the title, which lasts about 35/40 hours in its entirety.
Of course, allies will come out as playing cards in your deck: powerful and with a background behind them, so to keep them you will have to be careful about the choices you make. In fact, it will be enough to often go against a certain ideology of one of these cards (character), and it could abandon you forever, even changing the fate of your future games.
The gist of the speech (and of the game)
Obviously this title, not being a main chapter of The Witcher, must differ in something: we are referring precisely to the combat system, or rather, its total absence. In fact, the game turns every battle into a game of Gwent: Of course, don't expect Queen Meve to play cards to defeat monsters. Simply, these clashes are "transposed" into games in Gwent, where some rules are even bent in favor of history and events. In this way, then, in addition to adopting the standalone system (abandoning the three lines of Wild Hunt in favor of only two), each game will have unique events, special effects and some twists that we will let you discover.
Another ingenious way in which Gwent is exploited differently is through puzzles: secondary to the main story, they will give the player a battlefield already "set" and specific cards, as well as objectives and rules to be respected, still varying the basic game system into something unique and original. These figure as the real challenge, since the battles with the AI that you will do in the course of the game will not be so difficult, especially if you are used to the Gwent. In fact, abandoning multiplayer games, the title runs fast and easy for those who already know the dynamics of the game, especially if a deck that you have built up decidedly strong and versatile will accompany everything.
For the rest, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales lands on Nintendo Switch in top form: 1080p and stable 30 fps accompany the docked version, while in portable mode 720p scenes, without losing quality or fluidity. For the rest, the game is a gem for anyone who loves Gwent, for those who are passionate about the witcher adventures and want more or simply, for those who want to approach the world of The Witcher without however falling into the disproportionate longevity of the third chapter.