The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an amazing game, but it’s definitely not perfect. Movement in the Witcher 3 can be annoying. Geralt’s movements can seem floaty at times often sprinting past lootable items or turning directions haphazardly with the slightest push of a button. It can become even more frustrating when players need to be in an exact location for context sensitive events. Everything from opening a chest to looting a corpse can become tedious as players keep trying to reposition Geralt in the EXACT location he needs to be. And may the old ones have mercy on you if you so happen to find a chest with a candle on it. That itself becomes an irritating game of turning a candle on and off unintentionally.

At times I also noticed the game suffered from mild screen stuttering, and the occasional tearing. Black spots would appear over fluid water, and details would randomly jump in and out of existence. While those may seem like 2 huge issues, they are the extent of my complaints with the game, so might as well get them out of the way early on. As a whole, The Witcher 3 provides one of the most complete RPG experiences I’ve had the pleasure of playing to date. It manages to strike a balance between so many elements that others have failed to achieve, that in the end the game is nothing short of amazing.

White Orchard

Maybe I can ask the Nilfgaardian’s why their rivers don’t load.

The world is expansive without feeling overwhelming. The game starts players in a locale named White Orchard, which consists of one main town and a few surrounding areas.  Players are introduced to the basics of traveling and exploration while in this area. But as soon as they leave White Orchard and step foot in one of the larger areas such as Velen, players will be taken aback by how large this world really is. But the beautiful thing about The Witcher 3 is how it avoids the usual pitfalls that accompany large landscapes. It manages to provide you with a vast area to cover without making it seem tedious, while at the same time encouraging players to explore for the sake of exploration.

Games like Skyrim and Dragon Age: Inquisition presented players with large areas to explore, but fell into opposite ends of the spectrum. With Skyrim the land seems almost too big, with long expanses on the road  where players would see no signs of life. It created a world that while beautiful, seemed devoid of life. Dragon Age on the other hand painted the picture of being a vast open world, but in reality what we got was small sections of a map filled with enemies.

Velen

The world map is massive without feeling overwhelming

Both games also provided the players with mounts for alternate transportation, but there was hardly ever a reason to use them. Skyrim allowed players to fast travel whenever they felt like it while DA:I’s maps were so cramped that there was no benefit to using a mount other than shutting out the party dialogue.

With The Witcher 3, CD-Projekt Red manages to find a great balance between ease and necessity. The game does provide fast travel points, but they’re limited to signposts at crossroads near major towns. So while players can use them to limit the distances they must travel, it doesn’t completely eliminate it. Geralt’s horse also becomes a necessity as the game progresses and players start to realize how large the map really is. With Roach, players can upgrade his saddle bags to increase their carry weight, apply different saddles to increase his stamina, and use him in mounted combat to even up the odds in some cases.

Velen

Exploration is also its own reward. The game is littered with places of interests, ranging from ritual stones that give ability points to hidden or guarded treasures. As a result, players will almost always want to take the long way to their destination just in case they might stumble upon a hidden secret or gem. The game also does a good job of facilitating these discoveries by use of a “?” marker on the map. But that’s not to say that the game simply hands players the location to every secret. Often times players will get new locations added on the map from just reading notes looted from bandit camps, or clues given from a notice board. It makes it so discovery often plays a major role within the game.

The narrative is also one of Witcher 3’s strongest points, managing to force the player into more organic decision making rather than the arbitrary instant gratification that we’ve been conditioned to engage in. Often times the consequences of Geralt’s actions won’t be apparent until much later in the game. Sometimes stomping on group of bandits out in the woods might seem like the right thing to do, only for the players to be affected by that decision 5 or 6 hours later into the game.

Discussing my adventures with a friend, he told me of a group of bandits he decided to stop from breaking into a home. There was no reward for this mind you, it was simply a moral decision made by the player. The bandits were dispatched with relative ease, and without so much as even a thank you, Geralt went on his way. A few hours later upon reaching one of the bigger towns in the game, Geralt was required to speak with a baron within a certain castle. However, the security he employed was compromised of bandits who had recently heard of their friend’s fate and now held a grudge against Geralt. As a result, he was banned from entering the castle and had to find an alternate means of entry. This meant a long trek through the woods and sewers.

It’s details like this that make the world of the Witcher seem more organic. Choices have consequences, but we won’t always know what those may be. It gets rid of the urge for players to save scum and instead lets them simply enjoy the ride. When you finally do run into the consequences of a choice you made hours before, they’re received with a sense of realization and wonder rather than regret at not recieving a specified outcome.

Like most traditional RPG’s, The Witcher 3 provides crafting and leveling up, but once again adds some new points to keep it fresh. The leveling tree is split into 4 parts focusing on Combat, Alchemy, Signs and general abilities allowing players to customize Geralt into whatever best suits their own play style. The combat tree focuses on sword play and defense, for the times when Geralt engages in melee combat. The alchemy tree focus on the potions players can make which aid in combat, while the signs focus on the basic magic abilities Geralt has. Ability points are normally gained through leveling up, but players can also gain them through exploration and discovery of ritual stones.

The crafting system allows players to create armor and weapons for Geralt through plans that can be either found or bought. The crafting recipes make use of materials found in the world, or in most cases, salvaged from other items. Armor and weapons can be broken down into their base components for materials such as ore and gems. Recipes can vary from common to magical, with the more recipes being held in hidden treasure caches or from tougher monster drops.

When all is said and done, The Witcher 3 provides one of the most enjoyable RPG experiences this year. Everything from travel to combat to exploration manages to find a near perfect balance, encouraging the player to become immersed in the world of Temeria. And for those that need a break from the day to day activities of witching, there’s always Gwent.

White Orchard

Huh? Oh yea, I’ll take care of that Griffin after this hand. Witcher’s promise.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review
Pro
  • Fun exploration
  • Great Narrative
  • Gwent
  • Floaty Movement
  • Some visual issues
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Enrique C
Editor-in-Chief

There's no problem that can't be fixed with fire. Doesn't matter what game. If that doesn't work, use more.