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Controversial and Brief Thronebreaker Review

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redmotive

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#1
Summary,

I enjoyed the game a lot and am glad, for the most part, that I played it. It rekindled my love for Gwent as CDPR have truly striven to make many a battle feel like just that, a battle, within a medieval, fantasy universe that is a joy to be a part of . . . some of the time.



Game crashed a lot on PS4. Since the recent hotfix and after around twenty hours of play-time it hasn't crashed since. Worst that happened - the game froze trying to load the map once and I needed to relaunch but besides that... no crashes and a major and much deserved improvement. Game still stutters a lot when it's the opponents turn along with some audio and visual issues here and there so definitely not a polished experience by any means. Now onto the controversy...

Throughout the game and after completing it I am glad to say that overall it was lovely. That is . . . save for the feminist undertones. A shame that and difficult for me to ignore as I am all too aware of the socio-political dilemma that plagues Western nations today and as such my immersion was broken apart. Still, I had fun. The story was (mostly) great, choices provoking and interesting, characters (largely) gripping, music was done well and the art is fantastic. The gameplay (Bonebreaker difficulty) got a little tiresome here and there, partly due to the stutter issues and partly due to pacing, but all in all... it was great fun - it kindled that kind of battle feel to Gwent, some more than others of course. Writing is superb - narrator the same.

Now I wish to delve into the story and characters and aforementioned feminist undertones some more. The emphasis on this one Queen, whilst portrayed well at rare moments, can do it all while all the Kings could do nothing is well elaborated throughout the game and is sent home towards the end of the game by an NPC once you return to Aidern. The other character that stands out is Rayla and her backstory, when you first speak with her at camp, is as poor as it is telling.

This whole women can do it too trope plaguing story-writing needs to stop. Truly, the game would have made been more believable in every sense if we were to play as a King. Not to mention would have been more immersive for the male player-base, which is undoubtedly the vast majority (to elaborate, having a male character allows men to inject themselves into the character's shoes better). What does this misrepresentation of female ability even matter, you may ask? Of course it's all based in a fantasy universe . . . a fantasy that depicts people like you and me, men and women, on a level that is simply based on make-believe.
 

jgolden234

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#2
You are correct to title this controversial. As a woman I don't particularly appreciate it. I found meve engaging and empowering. I think you vastly underestimate the audience being mostly male, as the days where only boys play video games are long gone. I work with young kids and it is equal in terms of boys and girls playing video games. Women deserve empowering characters just as much as men do. Geralt was a wonderful character, I appreciated him even though I am a woman, and I suspect many men feel the same way about meve. If cdpr only explored male characters in their games that would be a sad shame. It is also a shame you couldn't suspend reality and just enjoy the game.
 
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