The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is the game which ran away with a pile of awards in 2015 and 2016. This obviously means the game is a shoe in for a really good game, but does it warrant a review? Sure why not. This year I am going through my backlog of games, and not buying any more! I’ll be reviewing each of them I play so to give my thoughts on all of these well known games to you guys.
Witcher 3 is still played in the same vein as the previous two in the series, from a third person perspective, in an open world environment. The combat system is different from them though, with a more simplistic style of hack and slash. Throw in some blocking, dodging and parrying and you have a very fleshed out combat system which never feels like a chore to use and is as fluid as the ever present Arkham style combat too. Being a Witcher, you also have the knowledge to create potions and poisons. These, along with crafting armour and weapons, makes up the game’s crafting system. You can collect herbs, food, materials and pretty much any item in the open world that count towards crafting your items. Items such as swords and armour aren’t crafted by the player themselves, but by master craftsman around the world which you need to seek out in order to gain their services.
This game is well known for it’s vast, open world environment. Granted a lot of the world is filled with large amounts of open space, but the scale of the world compared to other games of this type is humongous. Each continent is filled with towns which, then is filled up with quests, contacts, merchants and NPCs for you to interact with. Following up on all of these quests, and contracts is where you’ll find you spend the majority of the time in Witcher. With hundreds of side quests for you to complete which range from political debates, to killing bandits, to escorting a goat around a forest, yes really. These side quests may have some impact on the game’s main story which revolves around finding Ciri and protecting her from the Wild Hunt.
Along the way, you will encounter some familiar faces, such as Triss Merigold, and Yennifer. You again have the option romance either of them (or both if you are so inclined!). Building relationships with other characters you meet throughout the game, will also open up more quests, encounters and story avenues. The dialog between characters is one of the most impressive aspects of the game, with some seriously well thought out choices of dialog aiding the game’s already vast storyline.
Along with some of the best storytelling I’ve seen in a game, through different methods such as cut scenes, books, dialogs between characters and progressing quests. The Witcher 3 also has some of the best production aspects on show too. The visuals are some of the best you’ll see in a videogame to date. The way the game uses lighting effects to add to the atmosphere blows me away. Where you’ll see this come across most is when you are sitting on a shore line, looking out over the vast ocean and have the sun setting in the background. Truly stunning! On top of the visuals, the voice acting throughout the game is the best in a game too. Each character is masterly acted by some well known actors, with Doug Cockle making a return to voice Geralt.
Apart from the questing and exploring, Witcher 3 has a new mini game which will consume your life. Gwent. This card game is on the level of Hearthstone in terms of the complexion and depth, but also in terms of its addictiveness. So much so, that there is actually a stand alone game for Gwent coming out.
I have complete the main story, along with the majority of side quests, exploration, contracts and crafting in the Witcher’s base game. My play time is sitting at 103 hours. Apart from Hearthstone, which god know show many hours I’ve put into that, but Witcher 3 is sitting behind that game in second with the amount of time played in the last couple of years. The game has two DLC packs available too, which I will be playing and reviewing after a short break from the game though. Once you finish the main game once, you’ll unlock the new game+ mode, which will open up more achievements and an extra layer of replayability for you. As if a 100 hour plus game needed replayability but it’s there.
Even as I write this review, I fear I do not do this game justice. To put it simply, The Witcher 3 is a piece of modern gaming’s history and is a masterpiece that every RPG fan will need to experience if they haven’t already.
- Hours of content
- Combat system
- In-depth storylines
- Voice acting