The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a follow up to the Witcher 2 that was released back in 2011, developed and published by CDPR, the game follows the story of Geralt of Rivia and starts from where the Witcher 2 ended, the entire universe is ravaged by war. Witcher 3 features a humongous world that is said to be 300 times larger than the world the one featured in the previous Witcher games. Players will get to visit exotic and war ravaged locations such as Novigrad, Velen, Skellige isles, White Orchard, as well as the Royal Castle in Vizima, last but not the least; players also get to visit Kaer Morhen; the home to the Witchers that made its first appearance in the original Witcher back in 2007.
Speaking of the locations in Witcher 3, each location has its own set of villages featuring different conditions; both economically and socially. For instance, you’ll notice how Nilfgaardians will look blue-blooded and will show disdain towards other citizens. Not only that but the world of Witcher 3 is extremely interactive when compared to what we have seen in the previous Witcher games, Geralt can now interact with pretty much everyone and talking to strangers is often fun even though most of them will hate you just because you’re a Witcher.
In this review, we have decided to shed light on different aspects of Witcher 3 and how the game is a very strong contender for game of the year and how it sets a benchmark for role playing games that will be coming from now on. We will be discussing 5 facets of the game in this review, the facets are listed below.
- Audio Representation.
Note: There might be spoilers in the review ahead.
The story in Witcher 3 is quite engaging and starts off exactly from where the Witcher 2 leaves. Geralt wakes up at Kaer Morhen and finds himself with Yeneffer, things are finally looking good till he realises that it’s just a dream. After that Geralt sets on a path of finding Yeneffer as well as Ciri (Geralt’s surrogate daughter) however, the story in Witcher 3 is more than giving Geralt a closure; there is a huge world waiting to be explored with ridiculous amounts of things to do. You will come across strangers who will offer you different quests, notice boards will offer you lots of interesting stuff to do and the Witcher contracts can lead you to scoring some legendary Witcher gear.
The story is politically charged and darker than what you’ve seen in the previous Witcher games, it is filled with lore and there’s basically a lot to do; so much that half of the time you will find yourself diverted from the actual game and doing side-quests. The story will be reflected based on the choices that players made in the original Witcher as well as the 2nd one. For instance; if you killed Leto, he won’t be appearing in Witcher 3, however, if you spared his life, Leto will make an appearance as an ally.
The combat in Witcher 3 is satisfying, in the world where role-playing games often come with broken combat mechanics, the combat mechanics in Witcher 3 are smooth and work without any difficulties. Left click results in a fast attack that inflicts smaller amount of damage, however, holding shift and pressing the left click will deal heavy blows with a lot of damage as well as more chances of causing a critical strike or bleeding. The executions are back and they look quite brutal than the last time, one small issue is that they are random so you never know when you’re about to score an execution.
Speaking of the combat, the signs are back as well and they are as good as Witcher 2 and even better, you can quickly transit between different signs by just a press of the button, this results in some of the best strategies that you can come across. Geralt also has a crossbow now that can be used with different types of bolts, this is something the game deserved a long time back, crossbow can be used to bring down flying enemies like Wyverns as well as Griffins.
Considering how huge the world of Witcher 3 is; Geralt finally has a horse named Roach (Geralt’s enemy turned friend from Witcher 2), the horse comes with its own list of upgrades including blinders to make sure that he doesn’t easily get scared when there are monsters around. Horse as a companion doesn’t do much but it is a really good addition considering how there is a lot of land to cover in Witcher 3.
Horse isn’t the only mean of transportation in Witcher 3, the players will also get to use boats to travel by sea whenever necessary, while travelling you may come across several wonders such as mermaids, Geralt can also swim now to find hidden treasures under the sea.
Witcher 3 is based on REDengine 3, it is developed by CDPR; and is specifically made for nonlinear open world role-playing games. The engine allows the developers to develop an open world game with a lot more flexibility and giving them the freedom to create a game that has a complex and a non-linear story. That is exactly what Witcher 3 is.
The game is resource hungry and requires you to have a powerful PC if you are willing to play the game on maxed out settings. The landscape looks gorgeous and there are tons of details on almost every facet of the game, it looks even better on PC considering how the game fully supports 4k as well as Nvidia’s Hairworks that renders every strand of hair on all the characters.
Apart from that the PC version comes with a lot of other graphical options to ensure that Witcher 3 looks the best, however, if you are still not satisfied, you can always take the full advantage of several mods and graphical tweaks that are available on the internet for free. Models are extremely well detailed and the cinematography is one of the finest you will see in a video game.
The Witcher 3 offers one of the best audio representations you will get to hear in a game, everything from the voice acting to the combat and ambient noises are perfect. However, the entire beauty can be found in the background score, the score is one of the finest you get, the combat music is perfect and at times you’re too busy listening to it during critical moments. Characters sound real and monsters are at times terrifying.
Another great thing about the audio representation is how good the music blends with the entire landscape of the game. Whether you are roaming around on a horse or fighting drowners near a lake; the music will always be perfect. Not to forget the satisfying sounds of killing someone with your swords or firing the bolts on enemies from a far, last but not the least, the sound of swords clashing together is another thing that will make you awe the game even more.
Speaking of value, the Witcher 3 offers over 200 hours of gameplay that is filled with a lot of activities that you can undertake; the game also has a lot of Witcher contracts that you will come across as well as treasure hunts that will lead you to exotic locations and will pit you against deadly monsters, and if you are bored by playing as a Witcher and hunting monsters, you can always take some time off to explore the world around you or have a game of Gwent with people you’ll meet in different establishments. Do keep in mind that the danger lurks everywhere.
If you’re still not satisfied then do keep in mind that the game gets a free DLC every week, last but not the least, CDPR will be releasing 2 expansion packs for the game the expansion packs are titled and Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. Hearts of Stone will be released sometime in October, later this year and as for Blood and Wine, it will be here somewhere in early 2016. According to CDPR, these expansions will be larger than Witcher 2 in its entirety.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is more of an art than it is a video game, it is expansive, rich and the material will suck the gamers in; so much that you will completely ignore the fact that yo do have a life as well. The game is extremely polished and run smoothly provided you have the needed hardware for it. It is a prime example of how role-playing games should be made and what stuff should be avoided or taken in to an account.
Needless to say, once you get step into the shoes of Geralt of Rivia, you won’t be looking back or forward for any other game that comes slightly close to the masterpiece Witcher 3 is. Sure, it has minor flaws; for instance you can’t exactly perform the executions on your own, they are spontaneous and occur on their own when they have to. Players might also encounter the game slowing down despite the game running on 60 frames on high end PCs. But these problems can’t be accounted against the game.