The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Developer: CD Projekt RED
- Publisher: CD Projekt, cdp.pl, Bandai Namco Entertainment,
- Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
- Release Date: 19th May 2015
When it comes to the key ingredients to a good RPG or Adventure game I like to see the following things, a large open/explorable world, good atmosphere, plenty of side quests and a decent well written story line. Fortunately for the most part Witcher 3 has all of these things in abundance. In the beginning we find our hero Geralt of Rivia searching for his long lost love Yennefer of Vengerburg, a search that takes him to White Orchard to learn more.
It’s this area that acts as a tutorial, teaching you the various elements you’ll come across and how to handle yourself in combat. Despite the fact it’s a tutorial it’s still great fun and this area alone takes 4-5 to see and do everything. After White Orchard the story takes you onto Velen and Novigrad where the game really opens up and it’s here where the scale of the game really hits. If you want to see and do everything here it will take weeks of gaming to get it done. It’s the type of game where completing side quests just reveals more side quests and you can leave the main story line alone for days at a time.
Unlike many of today’s western RPG’s you don’t get to create a character to adventure about with. You can however develop Geralt in one of three skill trees, melee, magic or alchemy. Sword skills help to deal more sword and crossbow damage and help with melee defence. Magic let’s you develop various basic Witcher spells such as a shield or the ability to blast fire from your hands while alchemy let’s you develop your skills in potion brewing or oils applied to your sword for more damage dealt to various types of enemies. I settled on a resonance spread of the three concentrating slightly more on the magic side of things. I do love being able to set things on fire.
Redania’s Most Wanted
Secondary quests can involve anything from something as simple as retrieving a pan for an old lady or investigating the underground laboratory of a cheese manipulating sorcerer, all however are well written and when needed, humorous. It’s with the Witcher Contracts though that Geralt earns his bread and butter as these are literally his reason for being what he is. A contract will always start the same way, you find the person responsible for posting a notice on a notice board, get the basic details on the job at hand and then thrash out the important details regarding your pay. It’s in these quests more than others that you feel truly like a Witcher, basically becoming a medieval Sherlock Holmes or Batman. Once you have the details from the contract giver you head out to gather clues using your Witcher senses, this will lead to Geralt deducing what your up against and then preparing appropriately for the battle to come. Yet not all end in combat, at times you’ll be asked to make a judgement call on if your intended target should live or die. Did you gather all the clues to know the truth? Either way your decision may come back to haunt you and not everything is black and white in the world of the Witcher. Still, if all the killing and monster slaying gets a bit much theirs always cards.
Fancy a Game of Gwent?
Gwent, what more can be said of this card based mini game. A mini game so good it’s soon to get its own stand alone release. I’ve spent many an hour challenging the various Innkeeps and merchants to a game of Gwent. The rules are simple, 2 players are dealt 10 cards each of varying strength from their chosen faction, they then play their cards over 3 rounds and the person with the highest attack value at the end of each round wins. It’s made more complex and tactical with the inclusion of special cards that buff others or hinder your opponent. Once you start building up a halfway decent deck this really does become one of the most addictive mini games I’ve played and I don’t generally card baser games at all. It’s simple with just the right amount of tactical thought in it.
The Wild Hunt
After you’ve busied yourself with the various optional distractions you might even find time for the story line. Your main objective is finding your lost adoptive daughter Ciri and stopping the Wild Hunt for good. Unfortunately it does have a habit of spinning it’s wheels at times and dragging events out but all in all it develops into a decent quest to save the day. You’ll meet many a well written character during your time including my personal favourite the Bloody Baron and the Crones of Crookback Bog. Some sections of the story really show off what it means to have mature story telling without just resorting to swears and tits, though it has its fair share of them too. By the end who knows what could happen, choices your asked to make go towards shaping what ending you’ll see. I’ve completed the game twice and had two very different outcomes, both good and bad endings for my heroes.
Verdict. With a seemingly endless amount to see and do I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending what I feel is one of the greatest console RPG’s yet.