The Witcher 3 Review
I have to start by saying when my colleague sent me The Witcher 3 I was both excited and apprehensive! Excited mostly because of all the amazing videos, high reviews and write ups ive seen over the last few of months, apprehensive because of all these things and the lime light this game has had since its reveal last year, is The Witcher going to live up to the hype? Keep reading! 😉
Before I start this review lets hop back in time to The Witcher’s origins (avid enthusiasts will know this) The Witcher was first a collection of short stories and novels from Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski that first published in 1986 and has received great write ups through out the years, there was also a film and TV series in 2001 and 2002 but lets move on as they didn’t do the novels any justice! Thankfully CD Projekt RED got there hands on the material to create The Witcher games.
The first The Witcher: Rise Of The White Wolf was first released in 2007 and started to show us the world of Geralt of Rivia the main character in this epic saga, gifted with unnatural abilities that have been given to him from a young age Geralt would venture the wilderness hunting creatures of you worst nightmares ranging from Werewolves, Witches, Griffins and Mages. This world was very much black and white and because of this your gameplay was driven on making choices that would ultimately effect Geralts story. The Witcher: Rise Of The White Wolf received high reviews and because CD Projeckt RED started to create The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings which again received high reviews (both games where fantastic)
Without further ado:
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is by far the biggest and most beautiful Witcher yet! Trees are swaying, bushes are blowing, the war torn north feels like the dark world it should. Wild Hunt introduces some new mechanics, such as witcher-sense, combat on horseback, and at sea, swimming underwater, and using a crossbow. Additionally, Geralt can now jump, climb, and vault over smaller obstacles. Each action the player does will affect the world; every quest options on how to complete it and every outcome is different each time. CD Projeckt RED anticipates approximately 100 hours for the completion of the game, 50 of them belonging to side quests and 50 belonging to the main story line.
Wild Hunt concludes the story of the witcher Geralt, the series’ protagonist, continuing from The Witcher 2, the ones who sought to use Geralt are now gone. Geralt seeks to move on with his own life, embarking on a new and personal mission whilst the world order itself is coming to a change. Geralt’s new mission comes in dark times as the mysterious and otherworldly army known as the Wild hunt invades the Northern Kingdoms, leaving only blood soaked earth and fiery ruin in its wake; and it seems the Witcher is the key to stopping their cataclysmic rampage.
Beginning this tale your on the road heading to a small tavern where the intro has led you when you stumble on a farmer hiding under his carriage in fear, when the camera pans around to show a huge bird (Griffin) munching on the farmers horse Geralt leaps off his horse and attacks the Griffin. The Griffin flees bleeding, the farmer thanks Geralts for his rescue and explains his relative has a tavern near by and to mention his name and Geralt will be taken care of. Geralt arrives at the tavern where you start by talking to the “locals” to gather information on a missing sorceress named Yennefer that Geralt has been searching for, for years. Straight away the roleplaying aspect of The Witcher kicks in, your conversations have choices and in Geralts world choices can be very black and white, after gaining the information about Yennefer you leave the tavern to find a couple of soldiers clearly unhappy with Geralts presence and decide its a good idea to start a fight with a Witcher.
The overarching story centres on Geralt’s adopted daughter, Ciri. As a child of the “elder blood”, she can teleport between worlds. A cohort of otherworldly riders called The Wild Hunt want to harness that ability so they can invade other worlds. You have to find Ciri before they do, which is a suitable enough excuse to ride around meeting each region’s most powerful figures, like the hard Bloody Baron in the swamps of Velen; the criminal gangs of the game’s huge capital city, Novigrad; and the would-be kings and queens of The Witcher 3’s most extraordinary location, the isles of Skellige. When you travel to one of Skellige’s islands to find a lost expedition, the island becomes one huge, fascinating forensic crime scene. Other plots are just as involved, confronting you with twisted takes on the creatures and curses of old European folklore. These stories have ancient roots and their authenticity conveys a grim, earthy texture to the world – a quality unique to The Witcher series.
Right where is that Griffin?….
Whether you choose to play through the story missions or side quests the one thing that’s clear is there is an abundance of things to do. I decided to go and hunt a Griffin and continue this story. Hunting your first monster is a beautiful thing! You don’t just find the Griffin and start chopping it up oh no! you have to prepare for the fight, you may need to go and get a few items from some NPCs before attempting for fight this huge bird! This is where Witcher 3 really comes into its own. I really felt like I was a monster hunter getting ready to go hammer and toe with this epic beast!! 🙂
The combat mechanics are amazing, you can feel straight away the changes that have been made this time around, The Witcher has always been great at combat but in Wild Hunt is has been honed to a fine point. Once you have finished slapping these poor soldiers around you step outside into this beautiful open world and immediately feel how large this world really is. Jumping on your trusty steed Roach the world is your oyster.
As you progress you can utilise the upgrade system, which lets you invest level-up points from all your battles into close combat skills to increase your damage, and signs, to unlock new variations on the basic set. This is another way to choose how you want to play Wild hunt.
Good voice acting and superb facial animation makes the characters and creatures you meet fun to banter with, be warned: you also meet a lot of returning characters from previous Witcher games. If you know nothing about the Geralt/Triss/Yennefer love triangle, or the convoluted series of wars and betrayals that precede the game, a significant amount of the main thread will seem completely baffling. It’s worth playing The Witcher 2, or reading up on the series, before you start to make sure you get the most out of this fantastic experiance!!
All in all this was and will remain one of my favourite RPG games in recent years and is a must buy.
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