Greetings, I come bringing a review on The Witcher 3! Though there is much to write about, I will keep it pretty bare boned in order to reserve the experience for those that wish to play it, after all, I don’t enjoy spoilers myself~
To begin, let me first dispel a few thoughts prior to looking at the game, some common things I hear and am asked when I say I play The Witcher if you would:
1. Q: “How does The Witcher compare to Skyrim?”
A: Skyrim is on another level of RPG. The world is lush and beautiful utilizing a scope of dynamic weather and random events/encounters plus the worlds lore is very well fleshed out, the NPCs can all be interacted with (Ex. You can talk to everyone in a town, even if it is just a sentence), your character is fully inter-changeable (Ex. You can choose your race, looks, class, and the way you act), the choices you make impact the world and yourself, and stats are what matter the most when it comes to progressing in the game.
The Witcher has a very lush and beautiful world with dynamic weather and it has a very in-depth lore but random encounters aren’t as common, instead hunting and gathering play a big role in the game, allowing the player to further prepare for taking on missions and contracts (I will get into this as I progress, but for now let me continue.), most NPCs are not able to be interacted with but those that you can are usually quest givers/objectives. So, if you find one you know you stumbled on something interesting. Your character is not able to be edited besides his hair, but that’s fine since he is very well fleshed out! The choices you make in game will impact the world very noticeably and in some cases savagely. Armor and weapons really play a big role in the game when it comes to health and damage resistances, but if you know how to set your perks up you can create a very potent class to take into a new game or to play on the hardest difficulty without collecting vast amounts of equipment.
2. Q: “If I like table-top games, do you think I would enjoy The Witcher 3?”
A: Yes. There is plenty to do, and even more to learn! You can go to a tavern and gamble, or even listen in on conversations to acquire new missions, you can explore cities and find people in need, your character is very well built and has lots of lore behind him making it fun to learn how the world views you, or if you enjoy dungeon crawling there are a LOT of caves and dungeons for hacking and slashing.
3. Q: “Is it worth $50 dollars for the complete edition?”
A: Yes. I bought the game with the season pass and it was worth it. When the game released they also released 16 free items which remain free, and if you want to add to your Witcher experience and expand your ever growing list of assets and perks in-game, I fully recommend looking into all the DLC.
Now getting into the game, you might end up little confused by jumping right into the third installment. However, CD Projekt Red already thought of first time Witchers! They explain the worlds current events in comic book style, allowing you to watch along as they tell you about the world and about your kind, the Witchers, and if you are a veteran of the game series they allow you to simulate your Witcher 2™ save game file by answering questions to help shape the world how you left it.
For those of you who haven’t played, a Witcher is a monster hunter who has undergone mutations in order to gain superhuman senses and superior physical strength. Once mutated, they undergo training to master magic, alchemy, and fighting styles & techniques. The process of mutating is very painful for a Witcher, only children are able to undergo the process since they are still growing, and in the end, most end up losing their emotions and feelings. Which makes them perfect for taking on beasts, monsters, specters, and all those scary things. Witchers are motivated by money, as is their code, they will not act nor help unless there is something in it for them too, though your character is a bit different.
Geralt of Rivia, or as the people have come to know the main character in the third installment as “White Wolf”, is from the school of the wolf and his hair is snow white. Geralt is very fleshed out and has quite the history to him, but that isn’t what I’m here to talk about, instead I aim to tell you how incredible he is. The world knows of Geralt, and many already fear the term Witcher, plus anyone who crosses him had better be making amends before the witty and and handsome Geralt insults them before cleaving them in two! Geralt fights for those people, places, and things dear to him or at least he claims to, you as the player actually decide that. In this installment Geralt is tasked with tracking a girl whom he had raised as his own in order to save her from a group of other-worldly beings known as the “Wild Hunt” that are chasing her down. To do so you will utilize every resource available in order to stay ahead them.
Alchemy and crafting is pretty handy in the game, but not necessary for most fights, making a well rounded character. Battles are made easier through concocting oils to apply to weapons in order to delve out extra damage to certain enemy types or making potions to increase damage output, reduce damage taken, or increase carry-weight, etc. Certain specialty armors and weapons, the best looking ones, are only able to be crafted instead of found. Crafting and alchemy recipes are found randomly throughout the game world or they can be purchased from certain vendors in order to speed things along. Ingredients are not scarce, but the higher quality of items you want to craft, the less likely you will be to find certain ingredients. This ensures you will always be pushing yourself to explore and venture into higher level areas in order to find rare ingredients in order to keep yourself strong and prepared.
The world is very well put together! It isn’t too far spread out to where you can’t find anything to do, but it isn’t all packed together to a point of feeling overwhelmed. Instead, it feels like an adequate distance when traveling around, as you can travel from town to town on horseback or on foot, or you could even fast travel to any settlement you have previously visited. Hunting plays an important role in exploring the world, as it allows you to gather needed ingredients for crafting and alchemy, which in turn make hunting monsters and completing missions and contracts much easier. Animals are in no short supply, but taking them down does sometimes take a bit of time and finesse as they run quite realistically compared to a muscular man with armor and weapons. In The Witcher 3, exploration may seem dangerous, but nothing is gained when nothing is ventured, so the game encourages you look around and to find all the hidden treasure, activities, quests, recipes, monsters, and rare crafting ingredients.
Gameplay is very straight-forward, you have a silver sword for monsters and a steel sword for beasts/humanoids, you have a mini-map with objective highlighting and tracking. Geralt can vault over objects on command but not of his own will, you can go for a swim and risk being drowned by monsters in exchange for better crafting ingredients and recipes. You can slide down hills and even have some level of control while doing it. Leveling-up gives you a point to put into perks, all of which go into setting-up a successful character build. In order to boost your character, there are places called “Place of Power” which will give you a free point to upgrade perks. Better equipment requires the proper level to use, and adds to your stats proportionally. If you don’t want to fast travel, but you don’t feel like steering a horse, there is an auto-travel feature to riding a horse. Eating and drinking replenishes health over time, but potions can heal instantly or aid how quickly food helps. Potions have a toxicity meter, which means taking too many during a battle or in a single sitting spells death. There is much more though, these are just the bare bones of The Witcher 3 gameplay.
Regarding lore, there is plenty of reading in the game in order to progress through quests. Books offer information about the world, and some rare books, Easter Eggs, are hidden within the world for you to find.
A very good piece of advice: Subtitles are very helpful since a lot of the NPCs talk in old English.
In The Witcher 3 you have many options on how you would like to experience the game!
- Just the Story
- Sword and Story
- Blood and Broken Bones! (My favorite)
- Death March!
Each difficulty level definitely has its own experience. Combat is way less intense as the difficulty decreases, but puzzles and riddles do not get any easier. I prefer a challenge in all aspects in order to really delve into the world and to truly immerse myself in the game, it makes completing tasks and getting rewards all the more rewarding!
A note of caution to anyone wanting to get their child into this game, there are certain areas available to explore in order to help broaden Geralt’s horizons and to increase his knowledge of “Carnal Knowledge”. It isn’t too bad since it doesn’t show anything too obscene, though it does still have nudity and a LOT of profane language. The whole game revolves around violence and decision-making. If you don’t like one or both you may want to steer clear of this game.
There is so much to experience in the game, and I have barely even scratched the surface. All in all, The Witcher 3 is a great game. I fully support trying it out even if you haven’t played any of the other installments since they aren’t necessary to understand what’s going on. It is easy on the eyes, it can be scaled to your pace, and the game is easy to get the hang of.
If needed, I can explain in further detail certain parts of the game, but I would rather leave you with this instead.
The following preview is intended for a mature audience: