Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Review]

We know that the game has been around for a while and there are rivers and rivers of digital and real ink written about it but only recently did we get our hands on it… and, truth be told, can’t seem to get them back from the controller XDD but in the mean time I’ll leave you with my opinion on the addictive bastard that is Witcher 3: Wild Hunt!

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“The world is in chaos. The air is thick with tension and the smoke of burnt villages. The fearsome Empire of Nilfgaard has struck again, ravaging the helpless Northern Kingdoms. The once mighty who tried to use Geralt for their own gain are now gone. In these uncertain times, no one can say what fortune holds in store, who will bring peace to the world and who will cause it only misery. But a force darker and deadlier emerges.

The petty men and women commanding tin-plated armies fail to understand that their conflict is child’s play compared to the Wild Hunt, the otherworldly threat which now looms. These ghastly spectral riders have for ages plagued humankind, bringing misery to the world. This time the Wild Hunt seeks one person in particular: the one individual Destiny itself bestowed upon Geralt, the one soul Geralt considers kin. This is the Wild Hunt” – from the Witcher wikia

We’ll go with this short synopsis for now seeing that we could spend hours upon hours discussing and talking about the story without being able to reach and understand the deeply complex, rich and dynamic world with its dozens of intertwined micro and macro stories and details – not that it wouldn’t be an interesting conversation but some other time perhaps – but, and this is awesome for newcomers, you don’t actually need any of this knowledge to enjoy the game because all the info needed to have a general understanding of where the plot’s going, what’s at stake and what needs to be done is given through dialogues and small notes (and, for the more curious ones, in the books you’ll collect and the character entry log).

Actually none of us have finished the game yet (at the moment, out of all geeks, Mugen is the one further ahead XP) so I can’t really give a very insightful opinion on this – I’ll try to make an update later on – but, so far, what we’ve seen hasn’t disappointed one bit – the main quests, even some side ones and witcher contracts are quite memorable and the rest don’t fall short from interesting too (even those fetch like quests aren’t as boring as they usually are although I’m always left with the question of what would happen to the world without the “Main Character”, aka One Man Army, Fetch Master, Riddle Solver, Monster Slayer and so on XPPP). The cast of characters that’ll take part in your quests is vast and there’s hardly one who’s not compelling and/or fleshed out and, most interesting of all, both they and the overall world react differently according to your actions and answers meaning Geralt has a direct responsibility in shaping his surroundings!

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Couldn’t choose just one so here, have all of the trailers! XD

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We can’t say that it’s an easy game to get into, quite the opposite actually, it feels overwhelming and a little confusing at first with all the lore and info there is to digest (you’ll feel specially lost if you haven’t any of the previous games, that I can guarantee XP), the amount of inventory management needed, alchemy and crafting, the combat mechanics and techniques you need to learn and master if Geralt is to survive, the character customization and tech tree and so on… it takes time and some practice to get the hang of it all and to react instinctively where and when needed so don’t despair or shy away from the game when the first hours don’t go as pleasant as you were expecting.

As for the combat system – one of the very corner stones of Witcher – it’s well crafted and balanced yet challenging enough and able to fit quite a few different styles of player – from the brute barbarian that’ll slash everything away into bloody ribbons to the tactical mastermind who approaches every challenge armed with all the possible lore, environmental advantages in mind, appropriate oils and potions taken for an extra edge, the correct signs and timing for parries and dodges (depending on the mood, and foe, I suppose I can take any of this roles XP). Whatever style you prefer, keep in mind that you’ll have to master it to a certain degree since the AI, specially in higher difficulties, can be ruthless –  mess with a pack of neckers of ghouls a level or two above you and you’ll get mauled into a bloody pulp in no time. Geralt’s armory is impressive and consists in two different swords as your main weapons – a steel and a silver one but you can exchange the steel sword for an axe, mace, etc. later in the game – a crossbow for ranged attacks (with plenty of bolts to choose from), magic signs that range from protective spells to telekinetic blasts (my favorite, of course, is Igni… Burn Baby!! Buuuurrrnnnn!!! XDD), bombs (from tactical to pure destructive) and you’ll have access to them all from the get go, which can complicate things at the beginning.

The only real issues I’ve come across, so far at least, were with the camera, that even in the automatic setting needs a lot of manual adjustment in order to keep the enemies within your line of sight, and fighting in cramped spaces which can become ridiculously hard to manage but apart from that there’s no more complains

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Witcher 3 is a massive open world adventure set in the unnamed lad of Continent and believe me when I say massive! I’m not one to stick to roads or go from point A to B through the shortest route possible, nope, I’m more like a drunkard that decides to go for a walk in a very very windy day and walks through the whole alphabet to get to B XP But even with a fair amount of hours employed in this booze fueled like style of roaming I’ve hardly discovered half of the map or location in the Northern Kingdoms. The best thing about the exploration is that it doesn’t feel empty, repetitive or stale even when crossing a more desolate region, on the contrary, if feels like the world’s alive (and it bloody rainy most of the time XPP) and has character. Now it’s hardly a complain since the cities I’ve been to show an amazing amount of planning and detail but I guess my version of Geralt is a little savage because I didn’t feel quite comfortable in walls, preferring the great outdoors instead. Still with a lot of the map and main campaign to do, not to mention 2 DLC, I guess my exploration days are far from over!

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The Northern Kingdoms

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“Wild Hunt” is no “Final Fantasy” when it comes to graphics but that doesn’t mean it isn’t gorgeous or that it doesn’t live to the standards of a last gen game – we’ve been playing it on the PS4 and it can be a real eye candy sometimes, specially when it comes to ambiance and lighting but I’m guessing that on a real buffed up PC it must look astonishing. As for the soundtrack it’s nothing short of perfect to set the correct mood and immersion when exploring, slaying monsters or just enjoying the scenery XD Heck, I’m even listening to it while writing this whole thing!

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Overall, and there’s hardly any need to say it, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of those amazing games that’ll drag you into its world with little effort from the very beginning and where you’ll sink dozens of hours without even realizing the time flowing by. Any fantasy and/or RPG fan will have its cravings satisfied with this title that more than deserves the title of game of the year.

 

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