The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 impresses on all fronts and concludes Geralt of Rivia’s story with a nothing less but a specular experience.

By Grayshadow, Posted 26 May 2015

After completing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and spending over 70 hours exploring the vast landscapes I was still left with hours of content. With hidden treasures to uncover, side quest saturating the vast landscape and a myriad of weapons and armors to craft it’s clear that CD Projekt RED ensured that Geralt’s final journey would be a novel one. While I did experience some hiccups and rough patches it was hard not to be impressed with the challenging combat, elaborate creatures, complicated branching stories and massive world. After several minutes it was hard not to get lost in the fluidity of completing tasks and gathering resources. The Witcher 3 impresses on all fronts and concludes Geralt of Rivia’s story with a nothing less but a specular experience.

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Geralt of Rivia returns as the game’s protagonist, this time the witcher is seeking his ward and surrogate daughter Ciri, while contending with the supernatural force known as the wild hunt. The connection between Ciri and Geralt proves to be the highlight of the central plot, but Ciri isn’t waiting to be saved. This gifted warrior struggles to find her own way through this grueling world by encountering similar difficulties as Geralt.

The story has always been The Witcher’s strongest aspects, and this installment doesn’t disappoint. Just in past games expect a complicated and branching story filled with mature themes and political discourse. Geralt continues his journey to follow the trails of two women, his lover Yennefer and his surrogate daughter Ciri who’s being pursued by the supernatural Wild Hunt. Whereas past games did little to initiate players to the franchise CD Projekt RED has done a wonderful job of gradually introducing significant characters, and past stories, for those unfamiliar with the lore.

This tale isn’t about saving the world or chasing a happy ending, death and destruction is littered everywhere in this world. Monsters are a common problem and as a witcher it’s your job to hunt these lethal beasts. These quests have you interacting with a colorful cast of characters, each with unique personalities and complicated problems. It’s hard not to get lost in each discussion, each character is wonderfully voiced and the facial animations easily highlight each avatar’s feelings. Coupled with incredible writing these conversations kept me looking for people to speak to. At times I muted the same and was able to understand whether the character was happy, amused, disappointed or vexed without hearing a word.

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Like past games in the series choices are the highlight of this journey, and you’ll make a lot of them. Choosing your words carefully is essential, sometimes the wrong decision could lead to an unexpected fight or damning consequences later in the game. You’re deeds can clash with cultural beliefs, go unnoticed, or carry consequences you would’ve never expected. This is what makes the world of the Witcher 3 feel alive: you’re an active part in molding this world and those around, whether known or unknown, will change depending on how you perform.

This sense of choice and consequence carries into almost every quest design, making each new mission feel meaningful and worthwhile. Sometimes you’re just locating someone’s lost item, or spend hours tracking a legendary monster, and end up finding a bandit camp with a captive who could prove useful in gaining access to rare items. Don’t expect to learn everything from these deep characters from the main quest. It’s in the side missions that The Witcher 3 shines, highlighting motives, and desires, of those who’ve met throughout your journey, encouraging players to journey deeper if they wish to understand everything each character has to offer.

Interacting with bulletin boards is another way to gain valuable insight and hidden treasure. What makes these quests alluring is the mystery of completing them. Sometimes it’s a simple rescue mission or monster nest, it could very well be a hidden treasure guarded by a high-level beast. Like the characters the quest aren’t revealed in entirely, instead small portions are revealed either through interaction with specific objects or characters and other times from exploring the world. This sense of discovery encourages players to walk about a look what hidden gems could be lingering this vast and wonderful world.

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Unlike past Witcher games Geralt is more versatile, able to climb rocks, swim, steer boats, and ride horses. These new mechanics offer more ways to connect with the world but can become frustrating at times. Driving and resurfacing proved to be problematic at times and getting caught in the terrain is annoying. Nevertheless it’s hard not to admire the lush and beautiful world. Light shining through the trees, shadows trailing behind you as Geralt runs through the crowd and cities bustling with characters. It’s hard to believe this is a fictional realm.

Combat is both rewarding and challenging, forcing players to adapt to each enemy. Mindlessly slashing at opponents will only lead to an early grave, players need to observe and strike when the opportunity presents itself. Dodging and parrying attacks are essential to minimize damage, however swordplay isn’t the only tool at your disposal. Five magical signs grant Geralt powers such as blasting fire, manipulating minds, generating shielding, laying traps, and pushing enemies back. Coupled with an amazing soundtrack and it’s hard not to get become completely immerse when facing against increasingly powerful adversaries.

Preparing for key battles is important, fortunately Geralt is trained to make a myriad of dangerous items. Bombs, oils to coat your blade and potions provide other advantages to Geralt outside from his sword fighter skills and sign magic. However, witcher potions are dangerous and rising toxicity levels forces players to correctly use them properly. Certain bluffs provide extra bonus but specific kinds yield better results against certain enemies and situations. By studying each monster in the bestiary you can learn with tools are the more effective and how to kill certain creatures.

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A deep crafting and alchemy system allows you to find various types of items, including weapons and armor. If something proves ineffective you can dismantle it to regain materials. The massive amount loot can become vexing as you’ll find yourself over encumbered easily for picking up too many items.

As a Witcher you’re trained to hunt monsters, these skills allow Geralt to find clues that others with less acute senses would miss. Using your witcher sense highlights items that stand out to Geralt’s enhanced senses. These significant areas offer clues to determine what happened in an area or identify the monster responsible.

If being a Witcher gets overwhelming a card game called Gwent is made available for those looking for a refreshing experience before getting back to killing monsters. Those willing to spend time learning about the game and collecting cards will find it as addicting as Blizball was in Final Fantasy X. However these rounds do make their way into certain quests, so gathering cards to build a decent deck is required to progress.

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This world is tightly designed to utilizing all of Geralt’s talents. Using your Witcher senses to located hidden treasures, blowing a secret passage open using a sign, and fending off the guardians within the area using a clever array of dodges and precise sword swings. Players can experiment with Geralt’s abilities to control the minds of wild animals or force horses to drop their riders by scaring them.

What’s truly impressive is the scope of the game’s progression based on your actions. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, glopping through battlefields and farmland, you’ll find yourself in a large metropolises with new secrets waiting to be uncovered. The tone of each area shifts dramatically based on the region you’re exploring. You’ll encounter sorceresses hiding from fanatics in the city in one area, have fickle conversations with criminal leaders in another and find country dwelling residents at the mercy of bandits and soldiers out in the field. Each environment cast a different shadow, with the people reacting differently in each area.

Geralt isn’t the only playable character in this story, newcomer Ciri will take the player through her side of the tale. Unlike Geralt, Ciri’s combat style is different, unable to use signs Ciri relies on quick ethereal movements. Unlike Geralt, her story linear and has no branching paths or alter solutions. This doesn’t detract from the overall game, but instead is a refreshing break from Geralt’s journey.

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With a massive game like this expect some issues. I played the Xbox One version of the game and encountered minor glitches and bugs. None of these impacted the gameplay in any meaningful way. Solving quests in an improper order did generate an endless loading screen and sometimes my horse would get caught in the terrain or refuse to follow.

After spending several days playing the Witcher 3 I was left with dozens of side quests to complete, monster to fight, areas to explore and character to meet. This is a awe-spraining adventure filled with thoughtful characters, diverse challenges to experience and stories waiting to be uncovered. The stories that fill this amazing world isn’t afraid to touch on dark themes and present difficult choices where right and wrong aren’t clear. It’s a deep and satisfying experience well worth investing into. Simply put, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the best role-playing games made and those yearning for an odyssey filled with breathtaking adventures should play this game.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer(s): CD Projekt RED
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Action, Adventure, Hack And Slash
Release Date: 2015-02-25

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