When bards in the city tell their tales of monsters, ballads of beasts that prowl the night and feast on human flesh with pleasure. Ghouls, Wraiths, Werewolves and Vampires … the scum of this world. They tell these tales because of far greater beast, an otherworldly abomination with a mane of the purest white, greater than any listed in the tomes of the academy. They sing of the great wolf that rules all beasts, a monster whose name strikes terror into the hearts of the creatures that hear it… they sing of us… of Witchers… for we are the few who stalk that which stalks the night… and me… they sing my name the loudest. For I am the Witcher to end all Witchers, the Wolf that hunts by the moonlight… I am Geralt of Rivia, and this is my Tale.
So, I FINALY got around to finishing this game and dear flying spaghetti monster in the sky am I now left with a hole in my life that I just can’t fill. After MGS V: The Phantom Pain and the withdrawal I got after I beat that I didn’t think I would be able to handle another game that did that to me, and here I am. Same issue, this better not be a trend it may kill me. For this masterclass in how to develop a modern game we are looking at the Action RPG Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt! CD Projekt Red shipped this one out back in May 2015 and I had tried no less than three times to complete it for which two of those resulted in epic failure as I sold the original PC I was playing on and then my save got corrupted and I tried to cry a river of ginger blood. I got the game at full price at release being a big fan of the series at £39.99 BUT those just coming to it can snap this up on steam for only £24.99 and if you play this and take issue with the price then you may need some kind of specialist help because you’re clearly a crazy person 😀 !
the Witcher 3 is rare among games that have numerous sequels as not requiring you to have played anything from the previous games to grasp the world that its building or the characters that are in it BUT in saying that a lot of some characters depth comes from their involvement in the previous games and their subsequent relationship with Geralt. So, assuming that people reading this didn’t play the previous games the story picks up with Geralt months after the end of the last game, the lodge of sorceresses who in the grand finale of the previous game showed exactly why witches are shadier than my last landlord. He has regained all of his memory which had been a big thing in the Witcher and a side thing in the Witcher 2 and so now recounts his undying love for Yeneffer of Vengerburg! The less charming, less ginger and snarkier Triss Merigold. Geralt is led across battlefields in pursuit of his love until he is reunited with her outside Vizima. It is here that the games core plot is revealed as Ciri has returned! But the wild hunt is after her in Bon Jovi dead or alive style and you must rush off to make sure you find her first and alive! The epic tale set before us will take across most but not all the northern kingdoms and even some adventuring in the Skellige isles to see just what goes in the life of the pirate clans! You’ll battle monsters, the hunt, the elements and then the deadliest of all threats… humanity. Some of the most intense plot points come from Geralt interaction with humans. There’s so much to this game that it boggles your mind. OUTSIDE OF the main story that sees you chasing Ciri you’ll get involved in the assassination of a monarch, you’ll take the battle to the Witch hunters and the order of the eternal fire, become the very best Gwent player, the best there ever was and even take some time to hunt over 30 major and unique monster contracts and that covers only some of what’s on offer here. For the core story Geralt’s pursuit of Ciri is certainly not lacking in fact most of the 119 hours I clocked in mu first playthrough was core story as you journey across the three kingdoms and the free city in search of your long-lost companion. Now given that the world becomes very important to this game in terms of its looks because trust me you’ll spend a lot of time looking at it and it is GORGEOUS (provided you are packing the firepower on PC to get the max from it) with a GTX 1060 I got almost all the settings maxed out and the detail is amazing. Often with a game like this the environment is where you will see the trade-off happen, What I mean is that in games that have so many activities and a huge story to go through you often see the world the game is set in either neglected or purposefully downgraded to not need a million discs or a huge download size to ship. The Witcher 3 abandons this trade-off and ships you the complete package if you have the muscle for it.
Detail in this world is so fine that even Geralt’s beard grows in real time as you play. to get an idea of why that’s important you need to understand that programming hair to even act naturally is a very complex thing. So, acting naturally a growing naturally together gets you an almighty list of sleepless nights from a Dev and it pays off because it adds so much to the worlds natural feel, it’s a step closer immersion wise. As I played through the story, summarising this and trying to avoid too many spoilers for there are many and thou art not infallible, you always feel like you’re getting somewhere. Even when your investigation gets stonewalled or you get side tracked by another objective you still get that great sense of progression and that you are achieving something towards the end result. Exploring the cities and towns in search of clues feels refreshing to jump from the barren wastelands to the sprawling city. Each area of the world has its own enclosed story and characters to interact with but manage to fit beautifully into an over-arching plot line. I must admit that near the end it did lose it for me a little. It just felt like the story was getting ready for its natural conclusion and then BAM another plot point appeared for me! Now these plot points weren’t boring and in fact it wasn’t until after I had finished that I realised they had majorly shaped the outcome of the story! In the end, you’ll be faced with an outcome that I frankly was not expecting. I had envisioned in my head a grand battle and me standing there king of all I surveyed but as I should have seen. This is not the tale of Geralt and it had never been. It was the Tale of Ciri and in the end the tale was grand! Saying that … I got what is considered the garbage ending…. Funnily enough being snarky at certain plot points done ruined everything for me but the ending was fulfilling, I watched the other endings online after and they too gave me the feeling that had I seen that instead I would have been satisfied and one of the I would have really enjoyed!
To go with this epic tale of adventure and hardship the games got some real gameplay guns flexing away. At its core, the game is an action RPG. What this means for people who don’t play a lot of these is that the games core function is Action. It’s all about putting Geralt slap bang in the middle of things and enjoying the show but in the process the game has a great offering of RPG elements to make sure that you firstly get an option on how you want to play, if you like the magic most? you can specialise in that, like to roll and sprint you? can get skills and sink points into that. Like to tank it up? You guessed it, you can do that too! On top of this the games RPG elements mainly show themselves in gear. Gear is the collective term used for weapons, armour and items that you will collect in barge capacities as you adventure across the land (be warned travellers you have a weight limit. Too heavy and you’re walking to the nearest shop… slowly) this gear allows you to further make Geralt the Witcher that you want him to be whether that’s strong and damage absorbent like those from the school of the bear or nimble and precise like those of the school of the cat. You’ll notice the emphasis on the schools as those will be important, the game offers Witcher gear! Specialised sets of armour and weapons that will give you great bonuses to your chosen style depending on the school (they outgun all standard items but trust me they’re not easy to get a hold of. Especially late game) gear aside let’s talk more about what you’ll be using this for, the main contender for this is combat! This is an action game after all and you’d be a pretty lousy monster hunter if you didn’t fight anything (saying nice things to griffins doesn’t work … I tried … it was not pretty) for the most part combat is functional, I use that word because the combat is probably the feature about this game that I like the least (I did enjoy it a lot but it’s got some big drawbacks).
Firstly, for any returning fans you’ll be disappointed that the group style is AGAIN not present which for me really sucks as in combat if you get mobbed you will get riggety rickety wrecked on all days ending in Y. group combat is painful as you don’t always deflect blows and multiple heavy’s will stun you into another dimension, that being said fighting enemies at or just above your level can be REALLY rewarding, the static combat gets its redemption here as unlike most action games that have you swing like a madman Geralt is forced to show finesse. You will need to time attacks and use the right style, flank enemies, and make great use of the sings (magic) to deal with enemies. Watching yourself dip in for a strike and then dodge back to miss a counter can be exciting no matter how many times you do it. Or setting an enemy on fire or better yet against their own team never gets old so despite its drawbacks and lacklustre group combat fighting Is a very enjoyable experience! To go with the fighting though you will also conduct an absolute plethora of side missions for NPC’s who all have their own unique voice acting and lines. You’ll hunt monster such as giant griffins, basilisks and harpies who will each have their own back story and contract to let you get invested in the kill! Horse racing, gambling, and by far the real attraction of the Witcher 3, GWENT! (I love how CD project red created the Witcher to release the real game here) GWENT is fun, addictive and challenging and one of the only side quests in a game I’ve ever seen that managed to get its own game!
Overall, I could say SO MUCH MORE about this game and what it has on offer and I didn’t even get to the wave of free content or the two 30+ hour expansions to the game. Does this game have flaws, yes! It’s got some lacking combat qualities and some glitches still in it that even saw my save get corrupted. It’s got poor listings for undiscovered locations resulting in stumbling into a monster that’s straight up going to ruin you until you are near end of the game powerful and can summon the power of Grey Skull and He-Man your way through any obstacle! It’s got potions that you just won’t ever use, it’s got materials you will pull your hair out trying to get and few other faults to boot but even with these gripes this game still manage to deliver and immersive and enjoyable experience that most modern singe player games in the AAA bracket have just forgotten how to deliver. It’s got so much on offer, if you don’t have this game, GET IT! If you do have it? PLAY IT AGAIN! … the title of ‘game you need to play’ as a gamer gets thrown around a lot and for a lot of undeserving titles too. But not this.
As a last note and for added reason to play this game. I fought a Grizzly while wearing no torso amour and my using only my bare hands… legitimately went rounds with a bear.
As always thanks guys. let me know how you feel about this game! Did it tickle your fancy? Or did you not get that rewarding feeling from it? Was Geralts beard not the alluring masterpiece I saw it as for you? … sometimes I dream I have that beard… glorious!