Game Break: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
I know I am a bit behind on this review, but just know that it took me about three months to finish most of the game.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was an epic gaming experience – and one that I’m still working on. We will start simple for the sake of making sense though.
The characters are compelling and engaging; by the end of the game, you find that you really care what happens to everyone. This is even more relevant if you have played any of the previous games and know more of the backstory. Regardless of which installments of the franchise you have played, I think they did a stellar job of making this game equally as interesting for new and veteran players alike.
Can I just gush for a minute on how much I love these two? I felt that Ciri was a great addition to the game and after the first couple flashbacks (why can’t I do any cool magic with her??) I started to look forward to the lightning-quick attacks of running around as Ciri. Not to mention, Papa Geralt is the best. Ever. Bet you can guess which ending I got.
Aside from these two, I found most of the character designs quite lovely. Main characters. There were a few secondary NPC characters that made me stop and contemplate how many branches they hit on the way to the ground, but that was not because of a design issue. Take a look at these three for starters.
Beautiful, right? Then get a load of this:
Yes, she was imprisoned and probably had the crap beat out of her if those bruises are any indication. But can we talk about that hair? Girl, Geralt saved your ass days ago. Take a bath, or glamour yourself, or something. Sheesh.
Onward to the atmosphere!
I know this game had a huge budget (I think $85 million was the number that I heard) and it is a number that they put to good use. I mean, just look at this landscape!
And those are only a couple examples! Wait until you get to Skellige and can look out over the ocean from a mountaintop or when Kaer Morhen comes looming out of the mists. It makes the vastness of the game quite awe-inspiring. I often found myself getting distracted by the views of the landscape. Google screenshots to see all the eye candy, or seriously, just play the game. Go, now.
I am very glad to report that I didn’t find the controls and battle system nearly as difficult to get into as I did in The Witcher 2. That being said, I probably could have used the system better. I got through the game relatively unscathed (I died enough), so I will call that a win. I did enjoy the magic skills, or signs, but relied heavily on Igni and Quen for everything. Mostly I just like the animations of hacking everything to bits with my swords.
The transitions for movement were very smooth and I only ran into a few minor hiccups throughout the game. At one point, hilariously, Geralt got stuck in a crouch but was “standing” and proceeded to run through the air with rubbery legs for a good five minutes before I could get him out of it.
When I play an RPG like this (or Dragon Age, Skyrim, Fallout, etc.) I am a completionist. I refuse to move on with the story until I feel I have accomplished a considerable amount of side quests for each area, usually all of them.
I must admit that after discovering nearly every inch of the map in Velen – even some areas that I shouldn’t have for my level – I gave up when I moved north into Novigrad. I did everything I could in the city proper, and then looked at the rest of the expansive map and thought “please, god, I can’t. It’s too much even for me” and moved the story along to Skellige – a much more manageable chunk of land(s) to explore.
I have every intention of going back to Novigrad and dominating it when I finish up the Hearts of Stone expansion.
I enjoyed every bit of the questing in this game, from the grandiose and world-changing, to the mundane (Hello, Princess. -grumble-) and the fact that there are so many different kinds of quests was refreshing. Tired of running around doing side quests for people? Work on some Witcher contracts and slay some monsters for awesome loot! Don’t want to do that? Go on some treasure hunts and complete all of your Witcher gear sets! (Which I totally did and then I got the quests for the Griffin set.)
Side note: I will say that despite being as OP as I was for most of the game, that final battle was still a challenge.
Side-side note: This game made me cry. Just one part and it was awful but excellently done.
I still have a bunch of little quests to finish and, of course, achievements to get, but by the time I reached the ending of the game I was wholly satisfied with my experience – and the ending that I got (there are three).
What is a game without a little – or in this case a lot – of romance? Lady’s man Geralt was a fun role to play while I settled on which romance line I was going to pursue (Yennifer is bae) and then after when she wasn’t looking. If there was an option to flirt, naturally I took it. I think the “intimate” scenes were handled well, though after the third one they were all the same. That stuffed unicorn though. Whew!
Let me end on this, it’s a good thing that Witchers are sterile.
This is easily my favorite game that I have played in the last year. If you are a fan of this genre in any way you should give this game a shot. It is okay if you haven’t played the first two, you can still get into it just as much. My friend started playing it shortly before I finished; she had never played a Witcher game and enjoyed it just as much as. 10/10 best game.
Tags: fantasy, open world, rpg, single-player, time suck, witcher