The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review
It Always Starts With Women
“ The experience of a lifetime, or just another failure of an RPG ? ”
*This is an old review; much of what you will read here no longer fully represents my view, skills, and knowledge.*
The game starts with a cutscene being played, where a few interesting events take place. The cutscene shortly cuts, and we are introduced to a character called “Geralt”, who is the main protagonist and the playable character in the game. After a while, it becomes quite clear that he is following the traces left behind by a mysterious woman for a reason we are yet to discover. The woman in question is Yennefer, a mage, and one of Geralt’s love interest. Later on, they reunite and the main plot of the game starts.
The story takes place in a beautiful medieval fantasy world, that as it is presented to us, is teeming with dangers from an event that caused many creatures from another dimension to dip in our character’s world. The game at first seems huge, with limitless possibilities and the feeling of excitement to discover and explore every single corner of this world takes over. The atmosphere, the way the trees move, everything from the sound, to animations just made everything seem alive, and it was definitely great to experience it all.
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt Red
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Because The Witcher is an open-world game, it offers various travel mechanics to help you explore this vast world, and most of your travels will be done with your faithful interdimensional teleporting horse, Roach. It also has a fast-travel mechanic that lets you travel to another part of the map instantly, and while it's very useful, I almost didn't use it for I felt that traveling across the world that way would make me miss so much of the beauty the game has to offer, so I just tried to avoid using, or at least I kept its use to a minimum.
Geralt, the character we control is a Witcher, a human that suffered mutations granting him powers and strength unknown by any normal human. In general, a Witcher's main role is to hunt down the vile creatures that roam the world and lighten the burden of the common folk.
The game mechanics are quite simple but very effective. By using the combat as an example, the commands and the execution are very simple and easy to learn, and while not being bad, there definitely are a lot of ways the combat could be better. The variety of enemies we face is limited if compared to a few other games, but the ones we have in the game feel real and are believable as creatures of the world they are meant to exist.
The game also has some degree of replayability, and the credit goes to its extensive amount of dialogue options, with each opening new and unique lines and possibilities, making it interesting to create a new character just to try out different possibilities.
Sadly, character building-wise, the amount of builds you can create is very limited, offering a narrow amount of replayability on that aspect. The game has a skill tree system that is divided into four groups: Combat, Signs, Alchemy, and General skills, each having perks that act passively, increasing the damage and resource generation of your character, adding a little bit to your character with each point spent. The changes between one build and another are so small, that the most noticeable gameplay change you’ll see is the set of armor being used, as it is interesting equipping armor and weapons that work well with the path on the skill tree you choose and your playstyle. It's quite obvious, but it serves to show that the game doesn't offer much gameplay variety that is not visual-only.
The game plot is quite simple, you are a Witcher that is hired by no one other than the emperor of the most powerful country in the continent, to look for his daughter, Cirilla who is being hunted by an army of spectral knights thought to exist only in tales, because of a special power she possesses. By that point in the story, we know that Geralt is very fond of Ciri, and he without a doubt accepts the job of finding her and retrieve her to safety. The story then proceeds to play with Geralt and Yennefer looking for clues on the whereabouts of Ciri, later on finding her and taking care of the wild hunt for good… sounds too straight ? Well… That’s because it is, the main story overall is way too simple and it plays without complications nor any major twists to it, being quite readable even from the very beginning.
Aside from the main plot, we have side quests from the many NPCs we meet during our adventures throughout the world. They add a lot of content to the game and present us with some well-appreciated variety. The stories are really engaging and make us feel empathy for the NPCs we are helping, as well as making us feel apprehensive with the thought that we may discover a new and dangerous creature while we progress through the quest.
The only problem with these quests is that after a while they start to feel repetitive and predictable, no longer making us feel the way we feel on the first set of quests we do. That’s because most of these quests follow a very simple path, “track a monster that attacked someone, kill the monster, get its head, repeat.” And that goes for a major part of the game with only a few quests escaping these rules and being truly engaging. While it's understandable that after a while, it gets hard to make content feel different and distinct from one another when their cores are so similar, it can’t be helped the feeling that so much more could be done with each quest.
It is easy to see the amount of time, effort, and passion the developers put into making this game, and it translates into a game that is, overall, wonderful and can offer many hours of enjoyable content to its players. While the game is visually stunning, gameplay-wise it suffers from a huge loop that can get pretty boring after a while for some, which is a big downside. The characters are really well-made, creating a bond between us and the characters we interact, with some of them even being capable of making grown-up men cry; the dialogue is very well written, with many options with a lot of our decision having a short and long-term impact on the world we play on. The flaws this game has are very, very small compared to the amount of things it does right and it is clear why it conquered the hearts of many.
Its final score is 8.0 and even though it wasn't my favorite game ever, it truly deserves the title of being one of the best RPGs of the decade.
Breathtaking, very detailed world, filled with many points of interest, as well as background-rich NPCs.
Definitely one of the strongest points of the game is in its visuals. Textures, environment, sounds are all extremely great.
Extremely dynamic game overall, with multiple endings, and our decisions having short and long term effects in the world.
Well-written (most of the time) character dialogue options that feel very satisfactory, and delivers their promise perfectly.
Repetitiveness of quests, objectives, and even NPCs can make the game feel slightly boring to some people after a while.
Predictable, super round and simple main story that is alright but felt like it needed something else to spice things up a bit.
Some really dumb-looking quests or just dumb dialogue options that lead to dumb quest endings.
Some parts of the game feel broken or unrealistic, examples including extreme fall damage, and unbalanced fist fights.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Awfully beautiful game with a round and well-executed concept that offers a superb, immersive experience inside an incredibly expansive world. Despite its rich amount of content the game showed to be far from perfect, but it was still really fun to explore nonetheless.
06/16/2020 - Caius, The Witchy-Thingy