Open world RPG’s are huge in the game industry today. Often when talking about new video games, we discuss the game’s content, size of the game world, graphics, and, of course, its replay-ability. CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the newest edition to the popular Witcher series. There has been a ridiculous amount of hype centered around this game, but can the Witcher 3 reach or surpass its lofty expectations?
The Witcher 3 continues the story of Geralt, a professional monster hunter known as a Witcher, as he searches for his daughter Cirilla. The search for Ciri will have Geralt traveling through many beautiful environments, interacting with dozens of great characters, fighting incredible monsters, and much more. While this is the third Witcher game in the series, it should be noted that it is not a requirement to have played the previous two. In fact, a general synopsis of the story will elaborate on things at the beginning of the game. Overall, the main quest line is pretty good, but you’ll often find deep character development and intriguing storylines within the game’s side quests. In my opinion, the Witcher 3 has the best side quests that I have ever played in any game. In your playthrough, you’ll end up getting so caught up in side quests that you’ll forget that you’re not playing the main story quests.
Graphically, the game is very beautiful. Weather effects and sunsets are jaw dropping, trees look nearly as real as the ones outside your window and every river and lake is just begging to be jumped in. The Witcher 3’s Northern Realms is insanely huge and often has you traveling very long distances in order to reach your objectives. Now with that being said, I had no problem at all walking that distance. It also helps that the fantastic graphics are complimented by stellar sound design and fantastic music. Every footstep, sword swing, conversation, and thunderstorm is fully realized. The game’s soundtrack also compliments the game nicely. It all mixes extremely well and really makes you want to explore every nook and cranny. This turns out to be advantageous, as The Witcher 3 rewards those who stop to smell the roses. The Northern Realms may be huge, but you won’t ever worry about a lack of things to do. In addition to side quests, you’ll accept monster contracts, search for treasure, craft weapons and armor, race horses, play the awesome trading card game, and much more.
The very first thing I noticed when playing The Witcher 3 is how smooth and responsive Geralt’s movement in and out of combat is. When in combat, Geralt looks and feels like he has been using a sword his entire life. Many other RPG’s and action games have these highly trained heroes just swinging their swords around. Well in The Witcher 3, every dodge, attack, and parry feels like it’s coming from an incredibly well trained swordsman. This is good because you will fight a lot and will have to exercise various strategies when fighting the many different enemies in the game. You’ll also have access to Witcher signs which act like the game’s magic system. You’ll be able to summon a magic shield, influence minds, light enemies on fire, and more. All in all the combat is extremely fun, fluid, and strategic.
The Witcher 3 also boasts a really impressive card game called Gwent. Basically, each card resembles a soldier in your army and you are their king. Each player begins with a set number of cards and places their soldiers in one of three rows: close, ranged, or artillery. In addition, each soldier has a number resembling the units power and some have special abilities. Two rounds are played and the person with the highest accumulated soldier power wins. There are a few more catches to it (and my explanation really doesn’t do it justice), but Gwent is a whole lot of fun. You’ll also be able to purchase new cards from vendors and just about everyone in the Northern Realms plays it so it really ends up being a lot more fun than just any normal mini game.
As amazing as The Witcher 3 is, it’s not without its problems. Every once in a while Geralt would get stuck in or go right through immovable items like trees or wagons. Nothing game breaking, but it would get very annoying. In addition, swimming underwater is awful. It feels really clunky and doesn’t really respond very well to controller commands. Lastly, there are some side quests that can be failed by continuing the main storyline. These are all really just me being nitpicky, but it is a bit of a bummer that you can fail quests at almost any time.
The Witcher 3 is easily one of the best open world role playing games of all time. With amazing graphics and a fantastic soundtrack, awesome combat, and some of the best side quests you’ll find in any game, The Witcher 3 is a game that everyone should play and that everyone will enjoy.
Final Score: 10/10