When Witcher 3 was first announced last year I did not pay much attention to it as I wasn’t acquainted with the series at the time. When GOG offered Witcher 2 for free during their winter sale at the end of last year I immediately took the opportunity to try out the series that took the world by storm. I have to say, Witcher 2 absolutely blew me away in terms of its storytelling, gameplay and RPG elements: it was a fresh take on the genre. Completing Witcher 2 naturally got me excited for Witcher 3. Even though I have played about 30 hours of the game so far I am still far from finished.
For those who are not acquainted with the series, The Witcher follows the story of Geralt of Rivia: a witcher whose task is to hunt down monsters and beasts for pay. This is not as simple as it seems for Geralt, as he suddenly gets involved in all sorts of political intrigue happening around his world. Whereas Witcher 2 focuses on Geralt trying to clear his name for a crime he did not commit, Witcher 3 is Geralt’s most personal tale yet. Geralt is trying to track down his long lost love, Yennefer of Vengerberg, and also his adopted daughter, Ciri. Ciri holds within her an ancient power that The Wild Hunt, a group of specters, wish to extract from her. It’s up to Geralt and his companions to track her down before it is too late. This is just a brief summary of the game’s plot, but as you play the game, you will discover that there are more layers to the story than you think there are.
Leading up to the game’s release, one of the biggest worries I had was whether the game would run on my PC or not (for the game’s system requirements, click here). To my surprise, even though I do not own a master race PC, the game still worked for me (probably because I own a Nvidia graphics card). Even on the lowest settings, the game still looks beautiful and I’m able to get at least 30 FPS while playing it. As I mentioned earlier, the game is better optimised for Nvidia graphics cards rather than AMD graphics cards so be careful (click here on how to optimise the game for AMD graphics cards).
What I love about CD Projekt Red is their customer service; they really know how to give you your money’s worth. Not only are they releasing 16 pieces of free DLC on a weekly basis, the Standard Edition of the game is a very generous helping. The Standard Edition includes the game’s soundtrack, The Witcher compendium, stickers, a detailed map of the game world and a thank you note from the developers. Yes, you read correctly, a thank you note from the developers. It’s really a small sign of gratitude for buying their game but it really shows that CD Projekt Red value their customers more than themselves. Other game developers could really learn a thing or two from them about customer service (no names mentioned).
As you can imagine, the game world is very big. It took me about 12 hours, main quests and all, to complete one area in the game. That’s how detailed and big the game world is. On that note, there is so much to do within The Witcher world. Aside from the storyline quests that you have to do, there are plenty of side quests and witcher contracts you can take on for extra money and XP. What I like about the side quests is that they are not the typical “do this, fetch that” type of quests. Instead, there is a backstory behind each of the quests you do; which gives you more reason to complete the quest so that you can find out the whole story behind it. The choices you make within the game can have serious consequences to the storyline as you progress further. The consequences may not be obvious immediately, but it become apparent later in the game. As you can guess, the choices you make also determine the type of ending you get.
The gameplay mechanics are very smooth, especially the fighting mechanics. It feels almost similar to the free flowing fighting mechanics of the Batman Arkham games. Geralt can easily counterattack and dodge enemies when timed properly and can easily change from using fast attacks to slow, yet more powerful attacks, when prompted. Along with his sword fighting abilities, Geralt is also able to use different magical abilities; such as shooting fire, creating a shield around himself and tricking enemies’ minds. The enemies, human or non-human, are not all the same and you will have to employ different types of strategies in order to kill them. Geralt is also able to meditate to make time go faster and also brew different types of potions to enhance himself and his abilities. Apart from that, you can also go to different shops or blacksmiths to buy, sell, craft or repair any equipment that you want.
The Witcher 3 has been a fantastic experience for me so far; I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of RPGs and mature storytelling. The game is so engaging and intriguing that you cannot help but get sucked into the world of the Witcher. With so much to do within the game (and with much more to be released very soon) this is a game that you can invest hours playing and not get bored at any second. This is definitely a strong candidate for Game of the Year and truly one of the best games released this year. With this being the final entry in The Witcher universe, this is a fitting conclusion to the story of Geralt of Rivia.