So yesterday, I and Twitch Streamer Jate Nott of Nott in My House played a long haul of the new video game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. To all of those who stopped in to give us a watch, thank you very much and please support Mr. Nott in his future streams. He is a good friend of mine and an entertaining streamer. In preparation for the game, I decided to do some research… And by research, I mean look at Wikipedia. From what I have seen, this game has been turning heads left and right. Not to mention, receiving copious amounts of perfect scores by many critics. Due to the fact that a lot of critics are bought off by big corporations, I did reserve a little bit of judgment when I saw this. But, like all things, I sifted through the bullshit to find out what people were really saying, and that is that this game is very good.
So after giving it a play, I have to say… Yes… This game is very good. It is most certainly a strong game and a beautiful one at that. Unlike games like Watch Dogs, Destiny, The Order 1886, and so forth that have largely disappointed the consuming masses, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt finds itself at the good games table… A surprisingly bare table when it comes to Next Gen Triple A titles. Along with Shadows of Mordor and Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is truly a game that shines. It is certainly a game that will be in contention for Best Game of 2015… But does it deserve the massive praise that it is receiving? Well let’s take a look.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the story of a witcher named Geralt of Riveria. (Nice to see a game that doesn’t shoe horn in a silent protagonist.) Picking off from where The Witcher 2 left off, Geralt is wishing to move on with his life. But tragically the forces of the world just shat all over that idea and an evil entity known as The Wild Hunt has invaded the Northern lands, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake. Of course it is up to Geralt and his Witcher friends to save the day.
The Combination of an Open World AND Amazing Graphics
The trend of Triple A gaming nowadays is the fact that they are all beautifully polished turds. For the most part, games look absolutely stunning… But completely lack in gameplay. Look at The Order 1886 and Killzone Shadowfall as games that completely shit the bed when it came to content, but the world at least looked breathtaking. Plus, on the other side of the coin, if a game lacks a little bit in graphics, they usually have great gameplay. Look at Dragon Age: Inquisition. NOW I AM NOT SAYING that Dragon Age: Inquisition had bad graphics, far from it, but their graphics did not compare to others out there that looked great… But were complete shit when it came to gameplay… Thus the game was instantly better. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the first games that I have seen that combines the look of a next-gen game to the excellent gameplay on top of it.
While the gameplay is not fully open world, as the game separates into four maps you fast travel to instead of full open world like Skyrim, but it is still impressive open world maps that take some time to adventure through. There is mountains upon mountains of side quests and side content to dig through. It is absolutely amazing how much content is in this game. Even beyond the side questing and open world, you also have crafting (naturally), buried treasure, and RPG skill leveling up. This game is filled with content!
This is big. You just don’t see this in a lot of games today. Games used to require a lot of strategy. You needed to decide when to block, when to strike, when to parry, and when to use your magic. There was a lot of thought to it. Now, a lot of games are content to say, ‘eh hold their hands. They are here for the story.’ This game has some excellent and challenging battles. Even with normal monsters and enemies, they are all quite challenging and require a lot of thought. You can easily get swarmed and get your ass handed to you. You can get beat if you don’t do enough dodging or parrying. It is simply an excellent addition to the game.
The Game Does Not Hold Your Hand
When Jate and I were playing The Witcher 3 we quickly breezed through the storied mission and somewhat skipped a little bit of the side questing. It was when our good friend Ben pointed out to us, that we would NEED to complete the side quests or we would be hopelessly out leveled in the next stage, Jate and I quickly back tracked back to White Orchard once a pair of creatures used our organs to decorate their new cave.
While it was a little irritating to backtrack a little bit, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that this game didn’t hold our hand. We tried to move ahead before we were ready and we got our asses turned inside out for our troubles. It is indicative of old school RPGs that also let you get your shit kicked in when you tried to adventure somewhere you weren’t ready to go yet. Excellent job all around on that one.
Dialogue Tree Leaves a Lot to be Desired
While it is not a big enough issue to merit a ‘con’, the dialogue tree is kind of sad. Unlike other games that give you the opportunity to kind of interact with characters, most of Geralt’s conversation is boiled down to two options. You can be an asshole… Or you can be a little less of an asshole. Other than that, for the most part, you don’t get the opportunity to interact with the world. I don’t think it would have been a difficult job to give us at least three dialogue options of varying levels of asshole instead of just door number one or door number two… Which are pretty much the same either way. Not enough to take away from the game, but still a disappointment.
I’m sorry, I’m not going to let this one slide. Can we get some other protagonist besides the ‘I’m gruff, muscular, talk in a grizzled voice, and am too cool and broody to care about shit’ character. My god! This same character who sounds like he chain smoked 15 packs of Marlboros a day shows up in-game after game after game. The only interesting character feature of them is that, at some point, they start caring a little bit… Maybe… If they can be asked… And as long as they don’t sound like they care TOO much.
I understand that Geralt is an already established character and that this is faithful to his character throughout the other games… To that response I say, well than The Witcher needs a more well-rounded protagonist than the grizzly voiced, sarcastic, badass who everyone can either fap to or wish to be. I may be coming down a little harsh on this character… But it is a major con for me and something that will certainly bring down its score.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an amazing game. It is a breath of fresh air to the big budget gaming industry and keeps hope alive for the future. But, am I going to give The Witcher 3 the perfect score like so many critics are doing before it? No, I am not. The character of Geralt and the way that he is portrayed is just too much to earn it the prestigious perfect 5/5.
However, this is a minor problem that will not detract from an already stellar game. Great graphics, great gameplay, challenging missions, combat, and an excellent story make The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt one of the best games of 2015.
Final Score 4.5/5
Thank you for reading and as always, if you enjoyed this review, please like and subscribe for more from me. Come back Sunday for the conclusion of Devil’s Advocate Month.