“…and witch hunts will never be about witches” -Geralt of Rivia
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt is sequel to The Witcher and The Witcher 2: The Assassins of Kings. It is once again made by CD Projekt Red and was released May 2015. I played my version on my PC, but this is also available on PS4 as well as Xbox One, I don’t think Nintendo WiiU plays this….
As mentioned previously, I tried playing the Witcher 3 prior to playing the Witcher 1. Then, I was lost to who the Nilfgaardians were, why their relationship with Temeria is bad, and where does Geralt fit into all this. To help those jumping into the series with this one, here are some helpful info:
- Nilfgaard = the Black Ones. They invaded Temeria
- Temeria was once ruled by King Foltest, who was murder in the Witcher 2. Foltest liked Geralt for his actions in Witcher 1 as well as saving his daughter from a curse twice.
- Vizimia, Temeria was the setting of the Witcher 1, and where Geralt seems to usaully work.
- Yen was love of Geralt’s life and the two were married with adopted child Ciri. Then amnesia happened and the events of the Witcher 1.
Geralt of Rivia returns once again as the titular Witcher. He is travelling the world to find 2 people, Sorceress Yennefer aka the love of his (past) life, and Ciri, his Ex-Witcher-to-be daughter. He finds out that the Wild Hunt, the main villains of the series, are after Ciri and is trying to save them from danger.
Yennefer of Vengerberg is a powerful sorceress who is the love of Geralt’s life prior to his amnesia. She has been mentioned multiple times throughout the previous games, with the second touching on what happened to her after Geralt’s supposed death. She is seemingly working for Nilfgaard and is also looking for her and Geralt’s adopted daughter Ciri.
Ciri aka Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon is the royal daughter of Nilfgaardian Emperor, and adoptive daughter to Geralt and Yennefer. Essentially, the whole game revolves around Geralt trying to find her before the Wild Hunt does. As seen in the prologue of the game, Ciri was trained by Geralt and Vesemir in Kaer Mohren, but did not go through with the Trial of the Grasses, the mutation ritual. She is not technically a Witcher, but she is great in combat and has control of some magic. She has this thing called the Elder Blood that can end the world if the Wild Hunt gets hold of it.
The Wild Hunt is the main antagonist group in this game. They were mentioned in the previous games but they are in the main stage in this one. They are so mysterious and mythical, many people, including sorcerers and witches, think they are either a myth or a natural phenomenon. Geralt has a deep history with this group, and they know him by name. They are here to take Ciri for malicious reasons. They are led by their king, Eredin, also known as the Destroyer of Worlds.
If you have not played the last 2 games, I recommend you give them some time. The story picks up after the events of the second game where Letho, the villain, gives Geralt some information about the Wild Hunt and his long lost love, Yennefer of Vengerberg. During his search, he finds out that Ciri, his long lost daughter is back in the realm is being chased by the Wild Hunt. So Geralt goes off to save his daughter from cosmic horror that is the Wild Hunt.
When the Wild Hunt captures Ciri, it will, without a doubt, trigger apocalyptic level of invasion from Wild Hunt’s realm, thus the end of the world. Wild Hunt, especially their king Eredin, has legendary reputation of enslaving and destroying planets. With Ciri’s power, the scale of their invasion and destruction can be multiplied immensely.
The search of his daughter takes Geralt all across Velen, Novigrad, White Orchard, as well as islands of Skellige. Throughout his journey, Geralt meets numerous characters like the Bloody Baron, various Godlings, guy who calls himself Whoreson Junior, and good old faces like Zoltan and Dandelion.
The most obvious and advertised change is that Witcher is now an open world game. With much MUCH larger world than any of the previous games, there were a lot of additions. Now Roach, not the bug nor Vernon Roch, is your trusty stead that will get you across the game faster. Fast travel system is added, although you can only use them at certain points on the map, unlike Bethesda games like Skyrim and Fallout. There is now bodies of water Geralt could swim in or manually sail a boat. The game starts out in White Orchard then goes to huge continent of Velen and Novigrad, then goes to cluster of islands that is Skellige. After playing 110 hours, I still have not explored all of the lands this game has to offer, and I am excited to continue the exploration.
The combat once again has been changed, but it is the best combat of the 3 Witcher games. It is closer to the combat of Witcher 2, but you can choose to lock on or lock off instead of awkwardly moving your mouse to aim. Witch great dodge system and various upgrades, Geralt plays fantastically and can deal some serious damage. The original comabt was just weird, and strangely indirect, while the second game had very annoying auto targetting going on. But it seems like CDPR fine tuned it to be very enjoyable.
Alchemy changed again, and this time it is somewhere between the first and the second game. Like the first game, the potions Geralt uses are based on alcohol. Like the second game, the don’t last too long. Unlike the previous games, when Geralt meditates, the potions brewed automatically refills if Geralt has alcohol on him. I like this since I don’t have to keep making Swallow and Tawny Owl over and over again.
Gwent is rather intense. The rules are rather simple, just have more total points than the opponent 2/3 times. But the execution is rather difficult. You draw 10 cards, and you don’t draw again unless the cards tell you to. So you can either try to blow your load in the first 2 rounds to win, or hold off and let the opponent waste cards, or come up with some other strategy.
By becoming open world, there are obviously for things that have to give. The world of Witcher 3 is enormous, and it would be impossible for every town to be as detailed as they were in previous games. Places like Vizima Temple Quarters or town of Flotsam were extremely memorable. But places like White Orchard or even Crow’s Perch is not as outstanding as previously mentioned. Is it too much to ask to have huge open world where every town is designed by civil engineers that would be remembered by the players for years to come? Probably yes, will most likely to cause information overload for both the players and their machines.
The camera has improved from the last game and generally I had no problems with it. When I entered very tight areas, like skinny towers, it was horrendous to look around. There were lots of loots I wanted to collect in the tower, but camera made it so much more difficult than necessary. Times like these, I wish I had the cursor from the original Witcher. If there is a battle in these tight towers, I don’t think it would be fair, thankfully there are none that I know of.
The biggest punishment for dying in this game is the loading time. I dreaded every time I was killed not because I would have to do a sequence again, but because I had to wait until things loaded. This was especially painful during hard boss battles or weird platforming. The loading screen does have some fun info from time to time though.
Speaking of platforming, this game has some. There are not many here, but there were times when Geralt jumped and hands were clearly over the ledge and the game did not recognize this and Geralt fell to his death, and then the loading. I wouldn’t mind if it weren’t so inconsistent. I tried jumping on the ledge doing the exact same motions, and of the 5 times, only 2 registered. I do appreciate the lack of platforming sections, but this does detract a little.
Where do I even begin!!!!!
The first thing you will notice is that the game is freaking beautiful! It is more vibrant and brighter than the second game, and it is closer to the original Witcher rather than Witcher 2 in terms of atmosphere. If I had to compare, Witcher 2 had more of Jack Snyder vibe, where as the original Witcher and Witcher 3 feels more like Vertigo Comic’s Fables or almost Disney. Many people mentioned this already, but that sunset looks amazing, I never get tired of it!
The story is so freaking tight. There were multiple parts in the game where I almost cried, the sad moments really hit hard. And the funny moments were so good. Not going to spoil anything here, but Geralt gets drunk like the good old times from the Witcher 1. So many characters in this game are sassy and that is great.
The core of the game are the characters that live in this world, and those characters are so great. Almost all of them are memorable, the Bloody Baron, Crach an Craite, the armorer at Oxenfurt, and even this random guy that keeps picking fight with Geralt. And at the core of this core is the father-and-daughter relationship between Geralt and Ciri.
And the monster design! They are absolutely fantastic! My favorite monster designs from this game were the fiends and the leshens, my god the leshens were great. The rock trolls were adorably stupid, they were so cute. One rock troll asys he is now a solider for Redania and is charged to protect boats. But to protect boats, he needs fence, to make fence, he needs wood, and boats are wood. So he made fences from boats and is happy that boats are now protecting themselves. That is freaking adorable.
I mentioned before somewhere, but I am not a big music person. But I really loved the music of this game. Some of my favorites are the combat musics like “Steel for Humans” and “Silver for Monsters”. But I think my favorite are form Skellige, especially “The Fields of Skellig” (shown above).
Witcher games always had mini-games, be it fist fighting or dice poker. In this game, there is Gwent. I usually don’t really like mini-games, but I fell in love with Gwent. Gwent feels like YuGiOh had a baby with Poker. The game is about having good cards as well as knowing how to read the opponent. You can strategically throw a round to build your hand or go all out hoping to win the game in the first 2 rounds. I like it to a point where I am considering buying the physical set to play with friends.
- Will I replay this game? Yes, so much yes! If you like western RPGs, like fantasty setting, and like sassy characters, its hard to outdo this one.
- Do I recommend it? Definitely, although I would recommend to start from the first game. Although I do not think it is a must, it definitely helps.
This is one of the best games I have ever played, easily top 10 of all time. I spent 110 hours playing this, and I enjoyed every single minute of it. The world was so detailed and rich. I loved every minute of play and am planning on continuing with the game. I have both DLCs, so I will be staring them now. I will let you know when I finish those!
Hope you like it!