The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a game that is currently available on the PC, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. The game comes developed by CD Projekt Red and is based on The Witcher series of fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski.
The game was initially released in 2015, but this was the year that I finally got around to playing it in full from the beginning to the end, it was a lot of work and is massively large, but having just completed my first ever playthrough of this game, I must say, it’s the best thing I’ve played in a very long time.
First of all, I want to start off by saying that this year was not the first time I had played The Witcher 3. I had originally had a go at playing the game on PC back in 2016 and although I had good intentions to play it after I purchased it on Steam, back then, I just didn’t have a PC strong enough to run it properly. So my time with The Witcher 3 ended pretty quickly. Towards the end of last year when Netflix was releasing the Witcher series, I was at a point where I had recently upgraded my PC to something that could actually run The Witcher 3 on maximum settings and this was one of the first games I started playing after my upgrade and I just couldn’t put it down.
Graphics & Visuals
There’s something very special about the world that CD Projekt Red has created with The Witcher 3. Never have I felt so in awe of the many wildernesses that I explored in a video game. Never have I consistently stopped what I was doing in a game, just to look around at how the light was shining through the tall trees, or how a vista looked at a particular moment. The game is simply beautiful and even though it is now 5 years old, it still stands up as one of the best looking games you can buy at the moment. If you do have a PC strong enough to run this game on its maximum settings, you are in for a treat.
Character designs are very well done. There is a high attention of detail made by developers on character models for The Witcher, Ciri and Yennefer. There’s also a decent amount of attention put towards the randomly generated townspeople and the many monsters that are encountered in the world. I also was quite fond of all the random dialogues you hear from townspeople in the streets when exploring a town. The attention to the small details with the many and I do mean many characters, makes the game feel alive.
The story is actually massive. As a player, you will play the game as Geralt, who is a Witcher. A witcher is a person that investigates monsters and other supernatural things, he deals with this for people in return for money. As a game set in a fantasy world, monsters are quite common. In the game however, you are more than a simple monster hunter, you will get involved in political situations, make choices that have actual consequences on the lives of characters and even experience romance.
The overall story of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is this. Early on in the game, Geralt will reunite with his lover, Yennefer who tells him that the Emperor Emhyr wants to talk with him about finding Ciri. Ciri has a special ability to move time and space, she is very powerful, but very young. She’s also the daughter of the Emperor which makes her important politically. There is a group known as the Wild Hunt that wants to capture her and kill her, it’s Geralt’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The plot will see you search for Ciri for a significant amount of time, along the way, Geralt will complete quests and meet dozens of characters as he searches for Ciri throughout the world. In some ways, I felt the search for Ciri was always this distant goal that we had which was always where things were headed and it kept Geralt moving along. Along the way, there’s some very interesting things that happen to Geralt and a bunch of dangerous and intriguing situations he finds himself in, as a player you will be very busy.
As a story as a whole, it must of been an incredible amount of work to write it all out and develop this game. I never have played anything as massive as The Witcher 3′s narrative and it amazed me how much content, characters and plot lines that the game had within it. On top of the main game’s storyline, there’s also two expansions that players can enjoy. These include The Witcher 3: Hearts Of Stone and The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine. Each of those are another 10 hours or so of gameplay and stories to hear. The game is simply huge and it’s got a massive story to tell. In some ways it feels like it could go on forever and in many ways, I want it to. By the end of my time with the game I was so in love with the world of the game, the lore and the plot, that I just didn’t want it to end. I even had dreams about the game when I went to sleep, I was simply immersed in everything that was part of the world.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is rich in gameplay features. As a witcher, much of what you will be doing is fighting monsters and men. Geralt is able to do this with his fists, with a sword or with a crossbow. He also has the ability to use bombs or some magic. There’s a variety of abilities to choose from and if a player is strategic, they can be used to great effect against certain enemies. Some enemies are weak against fire, some don’t do well if they’re slowed by a magic trap and some are vulnerable to certain types of bombs. There is some strategy in the game as to how you go about attacking or defending against enemies and I appreciated this aspect of the gameplay.
The game has a manageable inventory of weapons, bombs and food which Geralt can carry. As you go further into the game, Geralt will find or purchase better weapons, armour and food. These will all help him to complete his quest a little easier. There’s also some customisation features for weapons and armour which adds a little bit of complexity to the experience.
In the game, Geralt will level up and build on his skills. There is a tree of items that Geralt can unlock using ability points. These ability points can be used to learn new combat abilities such as better fast attacks, better slow attacks. More powerful spells, better alchemy skills. These upgrades will help you to do better in the game’s many battles.
One of my only criticisms of the game is that although I have about 136 hours in the game now, for some reason I never seemed to have levelled up enough to unlock every ability. There’s still a bunch of skills I never learnt and that can be a good thing I guess for those like me who want it to go on forever, but for some people out there, they might feel like they didn’t do much progress with their character in the end.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt also features a card game known as Gwent. In the Witcher 3, Geralt will be able to be challenged or challenge other characters in the game to a game of Gwent. At first I didn’t know at all what I was doing and lost every game of Gwent I ever played. Later on I learnt how to play it and I can now win an occasional Gwent card game, but I did find this part of the game fairly difficult. I might just be a terrible Gwent player or maybe my card deck is terrible (you can upgrade your deck of cards in the game as you go through it, new character and monsters can be earned), but I just couldn’t ever win consistently.
Music in the game comes in two forms. There’s music which is played that only the player can hear. These include a mixture of calming melodies as you traverse through the world and more intense themes for when monsters appear or fights begin. There’s also music that plays within the game that is a part of the world of The Witcher 3. One of my favourite things to do in the game was to venture into the towns and listen to some folk play one of my favourite songs in the game “Drink Up, There’s More!” and guess what, I’ve found a 1 hour version someone made on YouTube, enjoy it below 🙂
The music is one of the strongest elements of the game. Many times I explored the world of the game and got completely lost in the environments I was in and the music was at times very relaxing and calming. It certainly is a game you can just get lost in and relax with. The video below is now one of my frequently played themes when I sit at home and want some calm ambience in the background.
There isn’t really much at all I can fault the game on, it’s 5 years old now and having just completed my first playthrough of it this year, I must say, it was one of the best experiences I had with a game in recent years. If you have some spare time at the moment and this game is one that you’ve missed over the previous years, then I highly recommend picking it up. The game is beautiful, the artwork, design of the characters and look of the graphics is something to marvel at. I still stop often as I am exploring just to look around at the world. The plot and overall story is massive and incredibly large. I never got bored hearing the tales of the many characters that I met in the game and even though I spent 136 hours in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I’d happily spend another 100 hours with the game. I cannot recommend this game enough, it’s simply the best and if you haven’t experienced this game yet, please go out there and grab yourself a copy, you’ll soon be enjoying something very special.
You can find copies of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on amazon.com.au here: