I am going to start this off by saying this isn’t going to be a review. There are plenty of them out there, and a fair share of critical opinions. So if you haven’t decided whether the Witcher is your cup of tea but want to know fast, I want to share 5 simple points with you. Mainly because you don’t need to read a 2,000 word review to understand whether the game is for you or not.
I’ve played a fair share of games in my time, and Geralt (the character you play as in Witcher) is working out to quickly become one of my favourites. Having not played the previous 2 games, I feel a little left out in discovering such a character beforehand. But what puts him up there with the greats? Well, you may have heard the advertisement around The Witcher about the world doesn’t need a hero. It needs a professional. Well that’s a great premise right there. This means you don’t have to feel bad for not helping everyone. You make the decision with a cool mind and it fits perfectly with the world as Geralt. A Witcher is already an established type of person, so if you go against the grain and help out, they act surprised but welcoming. Refuse and go for the coin, and it’s simply accepted. Another key point is that Geralt is a seasoned man. He knows his shit, basically. Meaning you can learn a lot from him (as the player), and people respect you from the off. There’s no building reputation up. Geralt is boss. It’s also great to play out every CSI type scenario, following the tracks as an expert hunter, and discovering the smallest clue and the possible scenario that unravelled is mesmerising. Also, from the years of experience, he has just the right thing to say that makes you feel like a bad ass. It gives the impression to other characters in game that, if you mess with him, it’s not going to end well.
The combat is simple as pie can be, to start with. You have a quick attack, a slow and heavy attack, magic and an option to use either bombs or a crossbow. Plus a potion usage. All simple things as you would expect in an RPG to fight of every day troubles. You will also be able to fight off the every day Joe early game with this set up, without understanding more. However, it does become more complex as you go on, but in a good way (I feel). Bearing in mind that you’re a Witcher, who has fought off countless varieties of enemies, you’re not going to miss the chance to have the advantage in combat. But to do this well, thy needs to know thine enemy. This comes from reading up on their Beastiary info. You’ll learn valuable insights into what you’re fighting and what it’s weak against. Meaning for some baddies, it will massively help to come prepared. This can simply be adding an oil to be more effective, to utilising particular spells. This all comes 2nd nature the more you progress. Eitherway, you’ll be an expert in no time, and feel all the more bad ass when you start chopping around and seeing limbs fly.
The other characters
The Witcher is full of engaging characters, brimming with personality. Some are more memorable than others, and some are just in there for comedic value. I found myself discovering times where it feels like a film is reeling out before you as you play (not like the Order:1886 kind of sit and watch everything and no action), where character development can stir the emotions. You’ll meet characters whom you first respect and like, only to play more and hate their guts. Then there are those whom you build an impression of dislike and disgust for, only to meet them and feel sympathy further down the line and understanding for their actions. Something that not many games achieve.
The adventures seem to be endless, one thing after the other. Although what makes it so different, is simply that every quest has it’s own feel to it. Yes, some principles will be the same. However the context is different, the purpose is different. You may find you’re on the hunt for two different wraiths, but they will be terrorizing the populace with their own back story and context. Every mission has the chance to also effect the story or your encounters moving forward. Save one guy, and he may end up as a bandit. Let one guy die and you may find he has useful information. Making the decisions you make throughout vital, so you go with what you can live with. What also makes it great are the Easter egg names within (as demonstrated below). You won’t fall short of chuckling over a hidden reference, that’s for sure!
The open world
It’s clear to the eye that The Witcher 3 is a stunningly beautiful game. Whether you are on console or part of the PC Master race (if you can run it that is), there is so much to admire and take in around the world. A lot of my first hours had me stop and just look about me at the scenario just in awe at the world that CD Projekt Red has created. From the open fields and dense swamps to the bustling city streets and the small niche villages. There is all you could want and more in a fantasy RPG, leaving you the urge to look in every cranny, to fight every beast. It’s all there in one neat package.
I can feel it in my bones, that come the day I fully complete the Witcher, I will wish I could turn back time and experience it all again for the first time.