- Has a huge immersive world for you to explore
- Has beautifully rendered scenery and characters
- Has hundreds of side quests and extras to be completed
- Dialogue choices are meaningful and can impact the story
- Story writing is excellent
- Combat is engaging and fun
- Long Loading times
- Can easily become over levelled for missions
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is the third game in CD Projekt Red’s beloved saga, that is based on the renowned fantasy book series by polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. It is a game of incredible scale that follows the series protagonist Geralt of Rivia in his quest to be reunited with his love and find the closest thing that they have to a child in Ciri his young ward who is in mortal danger. The game follows this epic journey where music, gameplay, story, lore and art all combine to create one of the greatest RPG games ever created.
I will be honest, when I first picked up The Witcher 3, I was fairly late to the party as the game had been out for around half a year at this point. In fact, the only reason why I even brought the game is because it was on sale, I had heard nothing but amazing reviews and seen all the coverage and awards that this game had got. Therefore, when I started to play it I was fairly skeptical that a game could even be as good as everyone said The Witcher 3 was; and sure enough at first I wasn’t that impressed thinking that the game was just overhyped. However I persevered and started to get more and more into it, eventually I started to realise just how good this game was as each new side quest I did was interesting and different, which was a welcome change from the generic copy and reskin of side quests that is all too prevalent in other RPG games. The gameplay became more and more fun as well, as I engaged in battles with both beasts and men, in showdowns that were both entertaining and rewarding. Similarly, one of the best parts of the game is ‘contracts’, in which you undergo various tasks and challenges in order to hunt down the monsters of The Witcher universe in return for gold. Contracts are a vital part of the game as they allow you to participate in epic fights that are both challenging and rewarding but also offer a sense of realism to the game and a reminder that while Geralt is no less than a hero, he is still just a Witcher and it is his job to slay monsters for a living.
CD Projekt Red does an excellent job of slowly integrating you into the world of The Witcher 3 as you start off in the area of White Orchard which at first can feel rather small for an open world RPG map, however the whole point of this area is simply to integrate you into the combat, quests and mechanics of the game. This is so that when you are introduced into Velen later on it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. The game has 3 main areas in Velen and Novigrad which are both connected and the Skellige Isles which can only be reached by fast travel once you have unlocked the area through the main quests. The game also has two smaller areas in White Orchard, the starting area and Kaer Morhen which is mostly used for the main story, but both can still be explored and accessed at any time using fast travel. The three main areas are massive and offer different environments as Velen is a wasteland currently in the midst of war, whereas Novigrad is a humongous city that is bustling with life and various characters. Lastly there is the Skellige isles which are inhabited by a fierce and ferocious people who are very proud, personally they reminded me of Vikings mixed with the Ironborn from Game of Thrones. Skellige was probably my favourite place within the game as the environment, characters and atmosphere was excellent and I felt very much like an explorer in a foreign land, who was captivated by their culture and customs. Words like massive and huge do not give the game justice as the world can seem almost never-ending and no matter where you go there will almost certainly be something to do. Whether that is a side quest or one of the games extras such as a monster nest, guarded treasure, place of power or a bandit camp just to name a few.
The real brilliance of The Witcher 3 is the balance between well delivered narrative gameplay and the exploration side of the game. As the story missions don’t just mindlessly send you off on your way from one checkpoint on the map to another, but give you threads to explore and investigate which means that no matter where you are in the massive world the chances are that you are still in touch with the main storyline. Speaking of which The Witcher 3 delivers one of the best as you will constantly be wanting to play to find out what happens next. Or, if like me, you become so engrossed within the world of The Witcher 3 that you will start looking up the lore in order to get a better understanding of the characters and kingdoms that have caught your attention. The story gives dialogue options that will have an impact on both the current story and the ending of the game; meaning that you will spend more time thinking about the consequences of your words before you say them, which once again adds some realism to the game. Perhaps one of the few faults with this game, is that you can become overlevelled very easily and while this eventually evens out; you will find that if like me, you did side quests and contracts as well as the main story then you would often be a couple of levels higher than the recommended level for most quests. Another minor issue is that the loading screens can take a longtime if you die or fast travel however for such a brilliant game the small problems seem almost irrelevant when playing.
Lastly, perhaps the pinnacle of The Witcher 3 is the landscapes, environment and atmosphere that the game creates as it makes superb use of vegetation, fog, colour, weather and light to create one of the best looking games of all time. It is the kind of scenery that you will find yourself getting lost in as you explore the wilderness in search for hidden treasures. Similarly, the up close detail on clothes, buildings, surfaces and faces is equally impressive as the facial animation blows most other RPG games away. The game blends all of this with the dark fantasy that is employed throughout The Witcher 3 as wars rage on between empires and ordinary people suffer, your actions can improve or worsen their situation, with choices that are sometimes impossible to make. This creates the extra tension and injustice that helps to build The Witcher 3 into a very believable and real world.
In conclusion The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is one of the best games ever created as it takes fantastic storytelling and gameplay and incorporates them into one of the most beautiful fantasy worlds ever created. But its more than that, as it does all of this while making it seem so believable and real, and that everything you do has a genuine impact on The Witcher 3 World. If you want an RPG to pull you in and make you never want to put it down then The Witcher 3 is the game for you from the atmosphere, to the characters, to the story, this game is simple breathtaking and in my opinion, one of the best games I have ever played.