Witcher 3 came as a light for those that were disillusioned by triple-A titles. The failures of high-production games mitigated the trust and faith of gamers as they were shoved with unkept promises and unparalleled hyping. But Witcher 3 returned that trust. It was overhyped and it delivered.
Ooh, what’s up there?
Notes: Apologies for the Keyboard detection prompt in the pictures. I had to take them while using an Xbox 360 controller, and it constantly pops whenever I press the button on the keyboard. Just think of it as a HungryGeeks watermark.
The Tale of Geralt of Rivia, Butcher of Blaviken, the White Wolf
The world of Witcher is that one that’s under constant threat and misery, so much that it’s a surprise that people can still have the stomach to live in such state. Monsters and the supernatural are accepted as facts, mingling together with the negativities of human behavior, negatives such as greed, thirst for power, and war. Combine both and you get a world that’s torn asunder.
As the titular Witcher, you play as Geralt of Rivia, a slayer of demons and beasts, primarily for a fee and not out of the goodness of his heart. The story picks a couple of months after Witcher 2, with Geralt regaining his memory and purpose. Geralt finds himself going after Ciri, his protégé and ‘adopted daughter’. This personal quests of his entangles him in a chase of epic proportions, shoving him into international politics, intrigue, and more monster slaying.
You meet characters that have CHARACTER, a thing that most RPGs lack nowadays.
Plot-wise, there’s definitely much to say about Witcher 3. The main storyline follows a road filled with missed opportunities, with the hero barely missing his quarry, leading him to refer to clues to continue his hunt. In a way, the story of Geralt is custom-tailored to the player’s liking. You may not have the means to name your character, or edit his/her figure altogether, but what makes Geralt “your” character are the choices that you make.
Certain parts of the game fits the player with Ciri’s well-worn boots, enforcing the narrative.
From here, I won’t hide the fact that Witcher 3 is one of the best games that I’ve played. The aforementioned statement might’ve summarized this whole deal of a review. Part of what made me exceedingly praise this game is the amount of polish that it has even with its side quests. Side quests before were thought of as fodder, added content to the grander scheme of things. But in Witcher 3, these ‘side quests’ matter as much as going on through the story plot. The things that you do in your detour adventures directly influence and affect the main storyline.
This is a scavenger hunt type of quest that features a FULL DUNGEON for a weapon schematic
And with that design, the developers have fully-fleshed out these quests, spending hundreds of fully-voiced lines, well-choreographed actions, and tasks that make sense (NO FRIGGIN FETCH QUESTS!)
The Choices That You Make End Up Owning You
I laud Witcher 3’s ability to make a game that doesn’t bank on good or bad. You can’t be a Paragon or a Renegade here, you can’t just side with white or black. Choices are gray and their impact can have lasting effects to the world.
It’s interesting to watch and discover that Geralt, a lone mutant, can alter the fates of those around him. He can leave a town for dead or save them from the fury of a ravaging beast, at a cost, of course. People that you meet provide a moral dilemma that prompts the player to double-check or see through the choices before making the decision.
I once found myself thinking for a whole minute, acting as a judge and jury between two warring factors. Each side accuses the other of being a liar. Geralt can take the time to find clues as to what truly happened, but not everything is all butterflies when resolved. Do you hang a thief for stealing food for his hungry family? Or do you beat the merchant for being an honest peddler at the wrong place? These kind of choices make Geralt more of the player despite his prebuilt appearance. It makes you question yourself, loading games in between if your conscience can’t stand what you decided. With that, it makes Witcher 3 an epic game as it is.
Quests for hunting down beasts pop-up from time to time and though the quest for Ciri takes priority, adventures don’t pay for themselves. As a monster hunter for hire, Geralt must systematically hunt down the beast using fictional science and his Sherlock skills to gain funds. Pictures are worth more than a thousand words, so here’s an example of one of such quests:
You find quests in the city’s or town’s bulletin board. They’re mixed with funny, weird, and grim notes.
Haggling! Putting your life on the line for a beast takes immense coin from the populace. Either you or them go hungry or dead.
Following certain clues leads to the monster’s identity, allowing the player room for preparations before the confrontation.
Study and prepare!
You either directly confront it or lure it.
Jobs done! Slaying it nets Geralt a trophy for his hard work. Time to get back and get those hard-earned coins!
RPG in Witcher 3
Geralt, despite his bombastic titles and renown, is back to being a neophyte at the beginning of this story. As a level 1 character, the player must do quests, destroy monsters, retrieve frying pans, and race some horses. Experience increases Geralt’s level, providing points for the player to spend in a skill tree. What makes this skill tree different is that it requires the player to equip it first in an arrangement that would provide the greatest benefit. Equipping three same-colored abilities together increases the percentage that an attached mutagen provides.
Wearing light armor increases agility and stamina regeneration.
Equipment is scarce during the first couple of hours, but by the time you earn your laurels, they become exceedingly annoying. Everything you slay, be it human or monster, drops trinkets for Geralt to use, dismantle, or sell. Getting better equipment is necessary if you wish to blaze through the dangerous wilderness of Witcher 3.
Crafting weapons and alchemy play a major part in Witcher 3. The grandest weapons can only be crafted and custom-armors look and defend better than the standard run-of-the-mill outfits. Armors range from light, medium, and heavy; each having their advantages and disadvantages. Potions provide Geralt with advantages given a specific scenario. Oils and potions can be used to counter wraiths and other beings, while there are some that provide benefits such as night-vision and constant regeneration.
Combat in Witcher 3
One for humans and ‘normal’ prey
Witcher 3 is founded on the same roots of combat in Witcher 2. Geralt is equipped with two types of weapons: a steel blade for humans and a silver one for monsters. He can use a flurry of quick attacks or charge for a slow but heavy-hitting hit. The player can also make use of parries, and with proper timing, can open the opponent for a counter attack. Geralt now makes use a crossbow, though the effects are limited unless used with custom bolts.
A silver one for the odd
As witchers are hunters known for their impressive use of magic and swordsmanship, Geralt can use a limited number of magic spells. He can conjure fire, create a protective shield, set magical traps, and do the classic jedi mind-trick to convince others in conversations or to stun opponents in combat. All are available for use at the beginning, and it is up to the player if he needs to have them upgraded in the skill tree for different effects and added benefits.
Then there’s Gwent
Gwent, a.k.a. Time-consuming Card Game 2015
You’ll know that a game is set to be a star if the mini-games themselves are worth your time. Witcher 3’s world, though enveloped in malice and violence, still finds time for recreation. The player can join horse races, participate in fight clubs (I just broke the first rule), and card games, namely Gwent.
Durden and fist fighting mix
CDPR, the developers, did a great job in portraying the game of Gwent, a dwarven card game that is usually mentioned in the books. Gwent is a ‘race for power’ type of game with each player placing cards on the field to increase their points. Cards follow a specific allegiance and the player must hunt down cards to build a very formidable deck.
Gwent may seem like a very nonsensical game amidst the adventure-filled Witcher 3, but I found it quite addictive once it became an important side quest. Do try it out if you have the Witcher3 or are planning to get one.
I find it hard that some people are still clinging on to the notion that Witcher 3 is an ugly game. Their beliefs were clouded by the trailers and they demand for something more than what their eyes are getting. Witcher 3 may have been downgraded, but it is still a very pretty game. Just take a look at the pictures (settings are a mix between Ultra and High), then decide.
With regards to the downgrade controversy, the move is obviously due to the game being optimized for lower-tier systems. As it stands, I’d rather have a game that’s fun, as opposed to one that constantly chugs and offers a storyline straight out of a monkey’s butt.
Reading the Books
My experience with the Witcher series wasn’t that good before. I played Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings and I didn’t enjoy it. The main culprit was my inability to grasp the story. Names were thrown left and right and I have neither the idea, nor the reason to care for them. So, with that, my adventures in the prequel wasn’t memorable. Same as with the first one, the graphics do suck if you plan on playing it today.
Read me, Master Witcher!
Witcher 3, however, is a different story. It was so hyped that it compelled me to order books from outside the country just to get into the lore. Now, I reap the benefits of the research and when names are thrown, I nod, expressing my glee of understanding the reference.
If you don’t have neither the time nor the means to read the English-translated books, best have the witcher wikia site at hand.
You’ll be telling it to your kids too!
Witcher 3 is a perfect game. Though it has the bugs and the annoyances that come naturally with open-world games, it is still a finely-knit tale of Geralt’s, or albeit, your adventures. Witcher 3 sacrifices initial customization, limiting personal intervention in terms of design, but it rewards the player with a story that takes unexpected twists, yet untangles itself in a very logical manner at the very end. Suffice to say, Witcher 3 finds its foundation in its way of telling a story.
In terms of gameplay, everything acts as it should be. I find it a very balanced game, rewarding for those that carefully pick out their playstyles and devastating those that don’t.
Hire him, now!
If you have a next-gen console or a PC, best get the Witcher 3. It’s an adventure that’s worth telling and a game that’s worth every penny.
Agree with this Witcher 3 Review? Or do you have any thoughts about this game? Do let us know in the comments section below.
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