Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Aug 292018

Last year, CD Projekt Red announced that the Gwent single-player campaign would be called Thronebreaker and tell a story about Queen Meve.

Now, they’ve announced that it will be a standalone game called Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales.

They spoke about the game during a financial results presentation, and a user on Reddit compiled the details they gave about Thronebreaker.

Most interesting to me is that while it uses Gwent to determine outcomes, they’re describing it as an RPG rather than a card game. It will feature 30+ hours of gameplay, and if the original Thronebreaker screenshots still apply, it looks like it will have dialogue choices and an isometric viewpoint outside of Gwent battles.

So it’s an RPG spin-off of a card game spin-off of an RPG.

I’m intrigued by this. I still need to play The Witcher 3, and I’ll admit I was overwhelmed by the standalone Gwent when I tried to get into it, but if this is an RPG, I want to know more about it.

My experience with card-based RPGs has been mixed, since I enjoyed Baten Kaitos but on the other hand never want to play Chain of Memories again. Before this comes out, I should probably give Gwent another try.

…or play The Witcher 2 and 3, like I planned to do this year.

How do you feel about Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales?

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Nov 222017

Finally, we’ve reached the conclusion of the Witcher saga, the final novel before the events of the games take place, The Lake of the Lake.

This is the culmination of Ciri’s quest, Geralt & company’s search for her, and all the machinations that have been bubbling throughout the saga, and it’s an epic conclusion.

Like the previous novel, there’s a bit of a frame story here, although it takes a couple different forms. Ciri telling her story to Galahad is the larger frame, but there is also a fair amount of framing as the sorceresses Nimue and Condwiramurs attempt to piece together the truth of Ciri’s history.

There are so many good moments in this novel, and although I felt a couple parts went on a bit too long (specifically the war section and the ending), it’s a fantastic story.

The section in Toussaint is great (especially Regis giving advice on how to deal with vampires), I love the entire section with the elves (especially when Ciri makes her escape and learns the truth about their world), and the confrontations at the end are satisfying (if a bit heartbreaking).

Unfortunately, I’ve heard that The Witcher 3 doesn’t really do Eredin justice, which is a disappointment because he’s pretty cool in the novel. Are there other Eredin fans out there? He steals the scene whenever he’s on the page!

Click for Lady of the Lake spoiler
And the revelation about Emhyr’s identity is one of the most unexpected twists I’ve ever seen. Before I first read The Lady of the Lake, I accidentally read a spoiler about his true identity… and dismissed it as the person who wrote it getting Emhyr and Duny confused.

When I reached that part of the novel, I was shocked. I just stared at the page in disbelief (and then started laughing over my earlier assumption when I saw the spoiler).

As I mentioned in my Tower of Swallows review, there is definite foreshadowing, which makes it the best sort of twist.

Anyway, if you’ve been enjoying the Witcher novels, The Lady of the Lake is where it all comes together.

And of course, the games pick up afterwards. We’ve already looked at The Witcher, but it doesn’t look like I’ll get to the other games this year after all. Next year, however, our journey through the Witcher series will resume!

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Jun 232017

When we last left the characters of the Witcher saga, Ciri was running wild as a bandit and Geralt embarked on an urgent mission to find her with an unlikely band of heroes.

The Tower of Swallows handles its storytelling a bit differently, with interesting results.

The book begins with a hermit finding a girl with grievous injuries–Ciri. From there, it’s a frame story, partly told by Ciri as she explains what happened to her, and partly through a court investigation.

Other sections follow characters outside of the frame story, although everything ties together into the overall plot. The Tower of Swallows has some of the best pacing in the series, as well as moments of humor to break the grim tone. Even though its structure means you know how things will end up, it’s still an intense journey to reach that point.

Among other things, it introduces one of the scariest guys in the series, Leo Bonhart, a nearly unstoppable bounty hunter. An unarmed Bonhart is deadlier than a group of armed men.

(The end of the book also includes one of my favorite scenes in the series, when Ciri confronts her pursuers on the ice.)

It still is only part of a larger story, and the Wild Hunt continues to pop up with vague hints about their goal, but it’s a strong story in its own right, with many interesting moments. And, since I know how the saga concludes, I also noticed some nice pieces of foreshadowing that I missed when I read the fan translation.

Click for Lady of the Lake spoilers
Yes, you read that right, this bit of foreshadowing will imply a revelation in The Lady of the Lake, the next book in the saga. If you don’t want spoilers for the next book, don’t read this.

The foreshadowing that stood out to me the most was Crach’s report that Calanthe said, “It would be better for the girl’s blood to flow over the cobbles of Cintra than for it to be defiled.” He then questions what she meant by “defiled.”

Yennefer dismisses it as not wanting Ciri to marry a Nilfgaardian, but in retrospect, this is a clear hint about Emhyr.

In short, if you’re interested in the Witcher series, The Tower of Swallows is a must-read. That only leaves us with one book to go, the saga’s conclusion The Lady of the Lake.

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