Published on July 8th, 2015 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in Review
Title: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: May 19, 2015
I’ve been holding off writing this review because i don’t like being a hypocrite: I have a difficult time writing an overwhelmingly positive review for a game that I haven’t 100-percented, but when a game has the amount of content that The Witcher 3 does, I get the feeling that can be waived.
Here’s a time-saver for you: if you like action adventure games and/or role-playing games and you don’t already own The Witcher 3, correct that. Go get it not now, but right now. Here’s a link and everything. With that out of the way, here are some reasons I think you should do so.
Now when I say ‘great gameplay’ I’m not just referring to the swordplay in The Witcher 3, though I think CD Projekt Red has done fantastic work with that. I’m referring to the combination of the swordplay, the magical abilities, and the amount of enemies you’ll have to face. The swordplay on its own is very well done. For starters, Geralt uses two swords: One for humanoids and the other for magical creatures. Not equipping the proper sword for the occasion can leave you handicapped.
On top of that, you have your standard quick and heavy swings, dodging and jumping, but every enemy won’t be damaged by swords alone. You’ll either need to use spells, coat your sword in the proper oil or a combination of the two. This is where the Bestiary comes in handy. In there, you’ll find the weaknesses of the enemies you’re facing after defeating them or picking up the knowledge in books or notes scattered across the world.
All this without even touching upon the mutagen system that allows you to customize your game to your personal strengths. Do you prefer swordplay to magical bits? Buff your attack power and speed. Want to buff up your potion creation and durations? Go for it. The amount of options you have in relation to combat is staggering, and that’s a great strength in that everyone can have a different gameplay experience.
Story, more story & ALL the Quests
There are plenty of games that have stories that simply tie plot lines together, but this isn’t that type of party. The Witcher 3 takes place in a fully fleshed out world, where each town is filled with and surrounded by lore. Playing through the campaign alone is doing a great disservice to the amount of content here. There is that much to do and see, here. The side quests are plentiful and do a fantastic job of fleshing out even more of the expansive world that’s in front of you. Some of these optional quests have story lines that worm their way into the main story arc, providing context and narrative to events than you might have had previously.
And, geez, there are side quests. Every city you enter has a message board that will have at least one side mission for you to embark on. In addition to those missions, you’ll find loot caches, Points of Power, and random (occasionally very funny) notes or advertisements from the local community. If that wasn’t enough, you can find books throughout the world that flesh things out even further with the added benefit of giving you locations of sweet loots and the possibility of new quests.
I’m comfortable saying that the amount of side quests in The Witcher 3 outnumber storyline missions in many games. I’m afraid to attempt 100
Gwent is Great
Never has what is essentially a mini game inside of a massive sprawl of a game been so important to so many people. If you’ve ever played card games like Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, you already understand some of the basic underpinnings of Gwent. If you’ve played either of those two games for any length of time, you also know how ridiculously addictive those games can be. Gwent is no different.
The game is one of battlefield strategy. Using the ten cards you’re dealt, score the highest amount of points per round for the best of three rounds. There are four factions to build decks behind: Scoia’tael, Northern Kingdoms, Nilfgaardian & Monsters. There are three areas to do battle: Melee, Ranged & Siege. It sounds simple, but it gets hectic in the most amazing of ways. As you play The Witcher 3, you have the chance of looting Gwent cards, but some of the best cards are either purchased through merchants (for gobs of gold, of course) or nabbed after beating an opponent into submission. And you won’t really lack for opponents because it seems just about everyone in this world has a deck.
Just bought a new sword? Awesome, bet the blacksmith 10 gold per game and milk him of all his profit. Just bought potions? Beat the clerk and get a custom card — in addition to taking his monies after. I’m not kidding, tons of people have decks and the game is addicting in and of itself. If CD Projekt Red doesn’t release a mobile version of Gwent for cell devices, there’s bound to be a revolt somewhere.
LOADS of Free DLC
I don’t think there’s a whole lot else to say other than ‘loads of free DLC’. There have been new armor sets, Gwent decks, missions and alternative looks posted — weekly, mind you — since launch. In addition to the extra content, they’ve been consistently patching the game. Starting at 1.01, the numbers have been incrementing upwards and v1.07 is about to drop soon with a host of changes so wide that some gamers are considering starting the game over to take advantage of all the benefits.
I’d be remiss to not mention the Expansion Pass that’s available for the game, but the value it’s due to add seems fully worth the money if you’re into expansions. The two separate adventures, Hearts of Stone & Blood and Wine, are set to add another 30 hours of gameplay, as well as new content, gear, enemies and characters. That’s on top of the already 70+ hour campaign that exists and the aforementioned DLC.
The Final Truth
In the current gaming climate, it seems more and more difficult to get hands on a game that truly feels like it gives you a decent value for the dollar amount you spend on it. Add in the neverending search for a game that has the value and is truly fun to play, engaging and has a story that keeps a hold of your attention for the time it takes to get through the campaign.
As I mentioned in the 2nd paragraph, I highly recommend picking up The Witcher 3. At the very least, you’ll have a game that has ridiculously long legs. Add in the replay value in that there are multiple endings to experience, and you have a game that could last years.
Reviewer’s Note: GAMINGtruth was provided a copy of this title for review purposes.