The Witcher 3: Dissection

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Let's talk about The Witcher III The Wild Hunt! I finished it a few months back and have been reflecting on it. I played for about 180 hours. I completed almost everything. I am a big fan of the series and had some serious expectations. I am happy to say that this game lived up to all of them. Read on to find out how.

So I played the first two titles on pc and enjoyed them immensely. Because of this, the trailers released, and cdprojektred's refreshing attitude towards game development, I knew this game was going to be good. I was expecting this to be my favorite game of 2015, and possibly the whole run of PS4. Looks like this will probably stay true.

The Witcher series has taken a lot from western RPGs, but you can also feel a JRPG influence in the way story and quests are done. In feel, it is comparable to Mass Effect 2 and 3 but with an intact open world instead of a hub.

It is a near perfect game. If you are interested in dark fantasy stories, you will love it. There are some technical issues and graphical glitches that were happening... most of which have been fixed by now.

The first thing I want to say is I really respect CD Projekt Red and their obvious passion and commitment to the Witcher. There was a drip of modest, but nice free DLC for the 2-3 month post release, and bug fixes are still happening.

Some of the DLC was clearly partially done before the game went gold. It looks like these were some of the less interesting quests that the team deemed less critical than what actually ended up in the game. New Game + and the storage chest feel like responses to what the fans were actually asking for, and the few other costumes they added for the female characters were just fan service.

With that out of the way we should talk about what makes Witcher so great. This is CD Projekts third game, and their first with an open world. They really nailed it. This is probably the best open world I have seen to date. It is massive, beautiful, varied, and feels bigger than what we have in recent open world games like GTA and Skyrim.

The game allows you total freedom in exploration, and rewards you for it mostly with more story tidbits.  The environment is so littered with subtle details that exploring is almost it's own reward.

I think it is this approach to exploration that really sets an epic RPG apart from something that is just holding your hand and taking you on a sight seeing tour. You can see ominous places on the horizon that look so awesome that you just want to go there! This is a world you want to live in and experience.

Urskar Ruins
How awesome is that view?

 

The witcher also contains an amazing combat system. It takes some getting use to but there is enough depth here to give you so many options on how you want to take down your opponents.

A Witcher's job is to hunt monsters, and this is something that the game really nails. You have a plethora of options when it comes to taking down a particular monster. Fighting humans is a little bit less exciting but also very exciting.

The Inventory management is a little bit heavy and I think this is what people will have the most difficulty with. There are tons of details in these menus, and it appears more complicated than it actually is.

Urialla Isle
I have the Moonblade

 

One of only things to criticize would be the inventory system. You accumulate so many useful items towards the end that you have to spend a lot of time deciding what you want to hold on to and what you want to ditch. Selling weapons and armor seemed to be the fastest way to make money and this required having a mostly empty inventory so you can pick up weapons/armor from fallen enemies and treasure chests. To me this is the ONLY thing in the game that grew tedious.

The story was really amazing and intriguing with some really impressive voice acting. The soundtrack was epic and appropriate to the setting. While there were no heavy guitars to be found I feel like the Witcher is probably the most "metal" game I have ever played.

Undvik
So many great environments!

 

The Witcher III The Wild Hunt is a game that I am looking forward to replaying and honestly it has set a new bar for both Western and JRPGs. With New Game+ recently added and around 30-40 hours of DLC coming soon the Witcher III will be in my rotation for a long time to come.


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