Skip to content

Blast from the Not-So-Distant Past: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 is quite possibly the single greatest piece of media that I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. Many of you most likely have the same opinion.

The third installment in the saga based off of the Polish novels, it tells the final adventure of the beloved hero, Geralt.

I genuinely can’t really think of anything bad to say. Sure, the game has its issues, but very little. My main complaint being the combat, which isn’t actually all that bad, just repetitive. Hundreds of hours of content, an amazing main story with brilliant characters, and amazing, fleshed out Side Quests all render complaints about combat redundant to be honest. Not to mention the enthralling ‘Witcher Contracts’, which really give off a feeling of ‘playing’ the early short stories of the franchise and add to the general immersion of being a Witcher.

Velen showcases the beautiful landscapes ravaged by war.

The Main Quest is an extremely satisfying conclusion to the story of Geralt and Ciri. Whilst friendly to newcomers of the series, it still gives the hardcore fans references and Easter Eggs to drool over in more or less every other line of dialogue, and throughout the massive worldspace. While not necessary to know the basic elements of the story, they thoroughly enhance and enrich ones playthrough. Should the player put effort into the game, doing side quests and the like, they’ll get to fully experience the remarkably intricate narrative that CD Projekt Red have worked so hard to craft. As a fan of the novels, I felt greatly rewarded for having knowledge on their events.

Side Quests, as I said, are plentiful and flow really well with the narrative. You’ll meet really interesting and fun characters throughout your adventures and find plenty of great references to other titles in the saga, games and novels. They’re really well made and can give the player some great insight into the world and it’s characters. These quests tend to be very lending to the overall story too. For example, if I did the majority of Side-Quests before ending the Main Story, I’d feel like I just experienced a full, complete journey. In fact, plenty of the side-quests can go as far to affect the Main Story.

Witcher Contracts, as I said, really make you feel like you’re ‘playing’ the early short stories, so to speak. Playing them really shines a light on Geralts purpose and his line of work. He’s not always chasing down huge villains like the Wild Hunt. He has a job. He works, just like anyone else. These fun little side-quests are stuffed with story and Easter Eggs, and really immerse the player in the game and add to the already rich Open-World and storytelling.

Although they don’t matter to most gamers that I know of, pretty graphics are always nice. I was blown away by how stunning the graphics were. I don’t need to go too into detail about this, but it was certainly something that left a good impression on me.

Skellige, while fairly untainted by war, still had plenty of its own issues for the player to uncover.

The Open-World , quite honestly, is one of the best created in my personal experience, easily rivaling and conquering games like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Grand Theft Auto. I put this down to content. It doesn’t feel empty. It’s huge, and filled to the brim with quests, towns, villages and fun little distractions. It’s beautifully constructed with absolutely stunning scenery. Every little detail of the world was created with seemingly great and delicate care. Nothing feels dead unless intended (For example, Crookback Bog), and it feels like a living, breathing and thriving world in which every area serves a specific purpose to Geralts narrative, something which other Open-World games often fall short on. I’ve spent countless hours just exploring the world, and I very rarely use the ‘Fast Travel’ system, purely because traversing and seeing the world is what CD Projekt Red intended and the fact that it’s beautiful and extremely rewarding to the player to explore. While moving between Main Quests, I often get distracted by a Side-Quest, which can ultimately lead me off on a Side-Quest and add to the ‘living breathing world’ vibe of the game.

Gameplay wise, the game is incredibly fun. The controls are easy to master, the combat system gets very dry after a good few hours of playing, but that’s easily fixed. It’s very reminiscent of Dark Souls. And the mini-games such as racing, brawling and Gwent are genuinely really fun. I find myself walking around playing Gwent with merchants quite a lot. See, I just love the idea of this huge, menacing mutant man walking up to random merchants and barmen and asking to play a game of cards. You can really tell that CD Projekt Red didn’t want to have another Dice Poker on their hands, and it paid off. Gwent has now become its own standalone game. That’s how good the game is. It’s mini-game was fun enough to start its own game. As someone who’s not really into card games like Hearthstone, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Gwent. All around, I have zero complaints on gameplay.

Last but not least, DLC and Expansions. DLC tends to be a practice commonly frowned upon by the gaming community, and rightly so. But CD Projekt Red really outdid themselves this time. 16 Free DLC to start with. I don’t even need to explain this. It really shows the class of the company. They care for fans, and actually show it. The Expansions too. Too many developers now will sell fairly short DLC at a large price. CD Projekt Red completely outdid themselves with the Expansions.

The first Expansion is titled ‘Hearts of Stone’. It adds a decently sized (Around 8 hours or so) Expansion Main Quest, and explores more of the land of Velen, set mostly in and around Oxenford, a small city in the game. It introduces us to new characters, and gives longtime fans a treat with a surprise returning character. It has an excellent, unique story which I won’t spoil, and it’s ripe with fresh content.

Blood and Wine is, in one word, spectacular. This adventure takes Geralt to a whole new area; the Duchy of Toussaint. A complete new open world, “rivaling Velen in size”. Hours upon hours of new content including Main and Side Quests, plus Witcher Contracts. The Main Story is absolutely riveting, gripping and really captures the player. It plays out in a very ‘fairy tale-esque’ way and is just all around great. And not to mention that the vibrant colour scheme and soundtrack will have players drooling!

 

Of course, all games have room for improvement. As noted, the combat feels really dry and repetitive after a while. This can easily be improved by adding more playstyles and maybe some more varied animations. Another thing would be the way that the ‘Witcher Contracts’ are structured. While incredibly fun, they can get a bit stale, and more varied ways of structuring the narrative would work wonders.

Unicorns hold quite a memory for Geralt in Blood and Wine.

Overall, The Witcher 3 is honestly one of the greatest Video Game and Storytelling experiences I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to see where CD Projekt Red take things from here with Cyberpunk 2077.

 

9.5/10

Aidan Rice View All

<p>Hi! I’m Aidan. I’m Irish, and absolutely love to write, and play Video Games. I’ll be specifically writing features with opinions, reviewing games and albums, and just generally having fun with my writing, while honing my skills. I hope you enjoy what I write, thanks!</p>