The image of a noble hero squandering numerous hours on a trivial side quest is almost cliché in an age of open-world games.
There’s been a litany of memes featuring Link perfecting a mushroom recipe while Ganondorf lays waste to Hyrule. It is quite a funny image.
I must admit, when I played The Witcher 3, I forgot about the Wild Hunt and finding Ciri for quite a while. There’s a very simple reason for that: Gwent. The (card) game-within-a-game has accounted for many misspent hours on Geralt’s quest.
Gwent is a game “about the clash of two armies locked in mortal struggle on a battlefield where the players are the leaders and the cards their forces” – according to in-game lore. It has surprising depth for what’s essentially a minigame.
I bet I’m not alone in spending an inordinate amount of time on it. Gwent is the most fun I’ve had in an in-game card game since Tetra Master for Final Fantasy IX. That’s saying something.
The Witcher Gets its Own Spin-Off
CD Projekt Red has shrewdly capitalised on Gwent’s depth with the release of Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales on the Switch.
They first released the game on Steam in October 2018 to critical acclaim. In actual fact, the concept of Gwent as a standalone game began with Gwent: The Witcher Card Game.
According to Polygon, Gwent;
“was eventually spun out as its own standalone collectable card game. But the mechanics themselves fell flat, and interest in the game waned. In April 2018, CD Projekt wrote an open letter to the community promising a complete relaunch of the franchise. That relaunch was expected to include Thronebreaker as a kind of single-player campaign. Instead, it was spun out as a standalone card-based RPG”.
Fellow Switch and Witcher enthusiasts will be excited that Thronebreaker has arrived on Nintendo’s hybrid console. Most of us have completed The Witcher 3 by now. As such, Thronebreaker offers another exploration of the rich world originally created by author Andrzej Sapkowski.
Thronebreaker deploys Gwent cards for non-combat encounters as well as the standard game. I can’t wait to play it on the bus to work!
You can buy Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales on the Nintendo eShop for £16.99.
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