October 31, 2019 at 12:32 AM #1562
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Rating: 5.0 – Flawless
A Review: The Witcher 3: Wild Humt
Coming into The Witcher 3 as a franchise newbie, I really didn’t know what to expect aside from the scarce few reviews I had seen. After my subsequent 200+ hour playthrough, you wouldn’t be too far off in calling me a loyal fan of of CDPR. In a development time of a little over 3 years, they managed to create arguably the penultimate fantasy RPG available to gamers to date.
If one thing needs to be mentioned first, it’s the sheer size of the game itself. After exploring the starting area for about six hours searching for side quests and secrets to discover, I decided to tackle the first story mission available to me. This ended the tutorial. The game boasts three absolutely massive locations and two (slightly) smaller ones absolutely filled with side quests, contracts, NPCs, locations steeped in story and lore, and opportunities to find new gear and meet strange people. After completing my playthrough, which I thought to be pretty fulfilling (200 hours), I flipped open the manual to ascertain how much of a handle I actually had on the game. I couldn’t help but laugh to discover I had only completed about 20% of the game’s full content.
The most important thing I discovered while playing is that everything is connected to everything. Dialogue choices affect relationships between people, ignite tense situations, and determine the flow of politics on a national scale. Even the most minute decisions play their part in the long run. Screw the wrong guy over, a whole village winds up dead. Fail to save a villager in time, two rival clans go to war. The game’s writing does an excellent job at forcing the player’s hand at moral ambiguity: often I found myself not picking the righteous path, but rather the lesser of two evils. Which often turned out being bad for everyone, the game loves screwing you over like that. With practice, you start to be able to see through the game’s translucency and can manipulate the dialogue to your whimsy. Most critics of the game fail to realize that, while the combat may be shallow and repetitive at times, it really is only half the gameplay.
The world building and lore of Witcher are nothing short of phenomenal, and on more than a few occasions I had to put down my controller to take in the scenery. As I said before, I hadn’t previously played a Witcher game before, but the story writing did an excellent job in progressing the current narrative while referencing prior events in the retrospect. The world is filled with obtainable books to gain more information from, and I found myself more than happy to find a book I hadn’t previously read. An expansive character glossary filled in important details without causing any confusion and helped me determine how I viewed Geralt’s relationship with others before I had even met them. After a short while,I found myself genuinely invested in the increasingly delicate relationships presented to me, both psychologically and emotionally, and as I mentioned before, the moral ambiguity caused me a great deal of angst when making difficult decisions (looking at you, Triss).
The Witcher 3 is easily the most well executed game I’ve played in recent years, wrapping up the conclusion of the trilogy in a…bittersweet fashion. It’s charming, it’s smart, it’s humorous when it wants to be and serious when it needs to be, and it takes my GOTY without a second thought. I would recommend this to anyone.
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