For review purposes, I tend to try and complete the main quest first, explore some of the landscape, do a several side quests, etc, so that way I can get a feel for the game, and easily talk about what the game does right and what it does wrong but get a review up relatively close to the release date. This game however, I was completely lost to the outside world, I couldn’t put the controller down. I don’t think I’ve ever become so entranced by a video game world as I was with Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. There’s just so much to do, between the rather lengthy main quest (compared to today’s standards,) the countless side quests, witcher contracts, places to discover, and even an in game card game called Gwent, you can easily play this game for countless hours, and still have plenty to do.
As a fan of the series, I was very excited for this games release, from the beautiful CGI trailers, to watching gameplay footage, and watching interviews with the development team, I needed to get my hands on this game. Once I finally did, every other game I had been playing at that time had begun collecting dust on the shelf as I ventured my way into this beautiful world of fantasy and monsters. You play as Geralt of Rivia, Geralt is a Witcher. What’s a Witcher you might ask? They are “monster-slayers for hire,” who undergo extensive training and mutations that make them a monsters worst enemy. They carry two swords into combat, one steel, one silver. Steel is for your human foes you may encounter, bandits, unruly guards, etc, while your silver sword is used to hack and slash a monster to pieces as they are weakened by silver. These Witcher’s are also capable of casting an array of different signs, such as one to cast fire, one that is easily described as a force push from Star Wars, signs that can trap monsters, and even turn some foes against their own to help you in the battle.
The third installment of a loved franchise, The Wild Hunt is easily the best of the series. Not only does it have hours upon hours of gameplay, that gameplay is actually highly entertaining and unlike anything else out there. Even though this game takes place after Witcher 2, you do not have to have played the previous titles to fully enjoy this one. There’s enough in this that connects the dots and you’ll have an understanding of who recurring characters are, and what happened in the previous story. Geralt is now on the hunt for what he, and others believe to be the key to stopping the deadly, and otherworldly army of the Wild Hunt that are invading the Northern Kingdoms and leaving nothing but bloodshed in their hunt for the power as well.
First off, let’s talk about graphics because, one of the first things you’ll notice is how detailed the world around Geralt is. Grass flowing in the wind, the water looks as if it could be real, the character details are amazing, this may possibly be one of the best looking games I have seen. Even the hair of the main characters is phenomenal, unlike most games, characters hair will blow in the wind, react to movement and so forth, of course some of the regular townsfolk look a little mundane but for the characters you actually interact with, they are highly detailed and a lot of time went into their look. The monsters themselves are outstanding. When I say monsters, I’m not talking about just a few types of monsters, this game is filled with legendary creatures along with some you may have never heard of. From vampires, to werewolves, trolls, Griffins, and so many more types, but my favorite are the Lichens. Each monster has their weaknesses that can be exploited whether it be one of your signs you can cast, or perhaps a bomb you can create, there’s even different oils you can apply to your swords to give you an edge in battle. The fighting style itself has been changed from the previous games, it is now very smooth, combining attacks with signs and your crossbow can now be done with ease, and the gore is so satisfying, cutting a monsters arm off, or cutting someone in half, each time it happens it just feels smooth and as if they actually react to where your sword struck them.
The sounds of the game are equally as incredible, CD Projekt RED really out did themselves with this game. When you’re walking/running, or even riding your horse through the woods, or wherever you might be, you hear sounds you would think of hearing In real life, birds chirping, trees creaking in the wind, the water splashing against the shore, to a soundtrack that is perfect for any fantasy lover. Not only does the game have a fantastic soundtrack, but if you buy a physical copy of the game, you actually get a soundtrack disk! Between the incredible graphics and the sound mixing, this really feels like a living, breathing world. It’s easy to just find yourself exploring the world around you as you take in all the sights and sounds, one of the coolest moments, for me at least, was when I was venturing by boat to an island, a whale breached the water not far from my boat and you can see, and hear the tail splashing as it went back under water. It’s little things like that, that can really bring a game to life.
While we are very early still in this current generation of gaming, this will easily become one of those games where years down the road when the Xbox One era comes to a close, we all go back and talk about our favorite games from the generation, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will easily be on some of those lists. As it stands right now, this is easily my favorite game of this generation. There are only small problems I have with this game, such as the swimming feels more like a chore than anything else, there are times where your horse will just stop all together for a moment, and there was one point where Geralt would just stop climbing but with a patch, it fixed the issue. None of those really take away from the true experience of the game and are just minor complaints. I feel this is one game that every gamer needs to at least play once.
Experience the world of the Witcher and enjoy fighting some intense monster battles. With multiple different endings, and the addition of 16 free DLC’s along with expansions, this is one game that gamers will continue playing throughout the year. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we see a Game of the Year edition come out next year sometime. This game is totally worth the purchase, and promises you hours of game-play and plenty for you to explore.
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