We’ve seen Geralt The Witcher in two previous Witcher games but, whilst they’ve appealed to an RPG audience, they’ve never really broken into the mainstream. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt promises to break that mould and appeal to gamers that not only specialise in fantasy romps (and believe me, there are a lot of them here in many different guises), but also to gamers that love a good story and narrative in a game as well.
This game is absolutely massive and I’ve already heard stories that if you want to do everything in the game you could spend 200 hours of your life on it. I’m nowhere near that far as I need to get a review out and I have a life besides gaming but I can vouch that the world is very, very large and this game will keep you busy for a very long time. It also makes you want to keep playing thanks to the rich world full of characters, monsters and lore.
The game starts with a tutorial where Geralt experiences a flashback dream featuring his fellow female Witcher Ciri and then throws you into the present day where you are still looking for your daughter who’s running away from a band of spectral warriors known as the Wild Hunt. He’s also hot on the heels of another lady in his life, Yennefer, a magical lady who he’s had more than a few dalliances with involving a unicorn. Just watch where you put that horn young man!
The main quest sees you talking, hunting and riding your horse Roach through the land of Temeria and it’s an involving enough tale that in itself will take tens of hours to play through, however, there’s more fun and enjoyment to be had upon exploring the rich and beautiful world and using your Witcher sense to track for clues and find items. You could be finding a magical item at the bottom of a well one minute, and the next fighting a big beast, using either of your two swords and a variety of spells to fight your foes. There’s some strategy here too. Consult the bestiary to see what works well against who and make potions and buffs that will give you the edge in combat.
There are also plenty of other things to keep you amused during your time in Geralt’s shoes including a card game called Gwent. If you’re into Hearthstone you’ll be in familiar territory. I’m not and it does take a while to get the hang of it – expect to lose your first few games (even in the tutorial). For the collectors among you, there is the added bonus of trying to find all the cards around the world, some of which you’ll have to earn from some of the best players.
Geralt’s also a charismatic bugger. Covered in scars and not afraid to chat up everyone, he is a joy to control, despite the combat being a little bit clunky and your horse occasionally getting stuck on trees and not having the sense to jump automatically over low fences.
Frame rate is another issue here, at least on the Xbox One. It’s not that it’s constantly low, it just stutters here and there which does take some of the sheen off the great presentation.
There is so much to The Witcher 3 that it’s impossible to talk about everything in this short review. Safe to say that it’s the first game in quite a while that’s grabbed me in terms of story and something I want to return to and think about when I’m not actually in the house. That’s a good thing by the way. Polish team CD Projekt Red should be proud of their magnum opus and so the game gets 9 out of 10.
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