Game Night, Video Games

The Witcher 3: Welcome to the Rest of Your Life (Game Night)

Y’know what the sad thing is? I’ve had this game in my Steam library for nearly two years now. I’ve only just gotten around to actually beating it. I’ve gotten so carried away doing side quests and gathering treasure that I never got around to finishing the damn thing! But now I finally have, and I can safely make a powerful, albeit highly hyperbolic, deceleration.

Holy fucking shit guys, this might be the best game ever made!

This game has it all. Monster slaying, treasure hunting, adventuring around maps so big that it may make your head explode, banging hot chicks (a good majority of which have some pretty crazy magic), families tearing secret Elven laboratories apart together, owning a vineyard to make wine, getting possessed by a trouble making flirt of a ghost, dimensional travel (not a joke) and an in-game card game so addictive and fun that everyone had to peer pressure CD Projekt Red into making a stand alone game out of it!

Which I might get to later. Because I really like that game.

I love literally everything in this game! It’s a ton of fun from beginning to end, whether you’re just blasting through the main story or you’re playing nothing but Qwent. It is what I consider to be the perfect open world game.

And I didn’t even need to climb a tower to reveal the map!

Story: A Father and His Magical Adopted Daughter

*Note: I won’t be regarding the story connections between Witcher 1, 2 and 3 when discussing this game. If I’m being honest, I played about eight hours of Witcher 1 and didn’t like it, and I’ve never even played 2, despite it being in my library. I will be looking at Witcher 3 as a stand alone story, not taking into account how we got here. The same will be said for the first two games when I eventually get around to reviewing those. Okay, thanks, let’s move on.*

The Witcher 3’s plot is incredibly simple. Geralt’s adopted daughter, Ciri, is being hunted down by the Wild Hunt, a group of magical elves that want her special Elder Blood. It’s up to Geralt, and therefor you, and his friends to save Ciri and defeat the Hunt. Along the way, Geralt will have to make some difficult choices, forge alliances, and lose some long time friends. And when Ciri’s greater destiny starts to call, threatening her safety, the daughter of the Witcher will be forced with a hard choice of her own: run from her birthright, or embrace it?

It’s an easy to grasp, charming and heartwarming story. Or at least, that’s how it turned out for me. See, your choices throughout the game will greatly affect how the ending plays out. The side quests you complete, how they turned out, which characters lived and died, and a million other factors all go hand in hand in shaping how your story will turn out. Will Geralt be able to save his family? Or will the Witcher end up alone? That’s all up to you and the choices you make.

I’d say take your time and choose wisely, but the game doesn’t exactly let you do that. Time limits are a real bitch.

The characters within this story are all deep and interesting, and they play off one another flawlessly. The dialogue does have some peaks and valleys, both in the writing and the delivery, but it leans far more heavily on the good than the bad. The story is paced as well as you want it to be, as you are in complete control of when the plot progresses or not. It has some incredibly touching moments, heart breaking ones, and some moments that were just fucking funny! It’s a ton of fun from start to end, and it will go down as one of my favorite stories in any game I’ve ever played.

Presentation: A World Come to Life

For a game that came out in 2015, this game still looks incredible! You may think that four years isn’t a long time, but you’d be amazed at how much technology can evolve in such a short period of time. I mean, just look at Capcom with their RE Engine! Games are starting to look fucking crazy dude! And Witcher 3 is still killing it! For the most part, at least.

Each of the environments are absolutely incredible! The world is so bright and colorful that just looking at it is enough to give me cavities! Each model, from the buildings to the characters, are extremely well detailed, though the background NPCs that aren’t important to the story do look a lot like each other. For example, you’ll more than likely see the same little girl model roughly ten to twenty times throughout the game.

There is also a mild problem with some of the animations. Sometimes, during conversation, certain NPCs will sort of just… stop doing what the game wants. That, or what the game wants them to do is clunky and stupid looking. It’s never infuriating to watch; if anything, it’s hilarious!

Do remember: it’s a massive open world RPG. If there weren’t hilarious glitches, I doubt the game would be real.

Gameplay: Easy to Learn, Hard to Drop

When you break it down, the gameplay of Witcher 3 is a simple loop. You run around, exploring the world on your horse, taking quests, fighting monsters, getting loot, making items through alchemy or crafting, etc. You rinse and repeat until either you put the controller down or you die in real life.

The ladder of which is far more likely, so play with caution. I’d say to have someone at your side to help keep you safe, but they’ll probably just kill you themselves so that they can play. Frankly, I can hardly blame them.

You’d think that it would be easy to become sick of this loop. But it never at any point gets old or boring, as each of the different tasks are so varied and unique! Each quest, be it in the main story or a side quest, is insanely different from the last, requiring you to do some crazy one-of-a-kind tasks. Contracts, where you take on different minor tasks, most commonly slaying a monster, never become boring because each beast is so varied, different, and they tend to be far more challenging than anything you’d normally face. All the different treasure casks around the world never stop being fun to loot, as the promise of some awesome new loot only gets more and more tantalizing as you go on.

Especially since a good number of the armor sets look ridiculous, so you may be a little desperate to simply get rid of them.

Combat is also a total blast! Each and every enemy in the game has their own moves, weaknesses and strengths. It’s up to you to learn about your foe, prepare before hand, and take it down with your skills. On the lower difficulties, it’s not quite as stressful and engaging, but it’s still fun. On the higher difficulties, on the other hand, you need to put every single ability and item to use if you want to stand a chance of victory. Oils, potions, Signs, and sheer skill will all be necessary if you want to survive the more challenging difficulties.

No matter how difficult the battle may be, they’re always a ton of fun! Whether you’re facing down a hoard of Drowners or a single High Vampire, every combat encounter is fair, challenging and thrilling from start to end! When you succeed, you truly feel unstoppable!

It really makes you feel like a bad ass monster slaying legend! You really feel like Geralt of… hey, wait a minute, where have I heard that before?

Each area of the game is absolutely massive, and they’re all packed to be as dense as a black hole! Everywhere you go, whether you intend it or not, you’ll find something that peaks your interest. And considering that each individual area is about as large, if not larger, than the entire map of GTA 5, it’s amazing that they managed this! If you completely ignored the main story and just explored each area, you’d be playing this game for the rest of your life.

Which I honestly wouldn’t mind. That’s what I intend to do.

Conclusion

If I were to go into more specific details in any of these categories, this review would last as long as the game itself! This game is absolutely massive, to the point that it’s kind of exhausting! But no matter how tiring it may be, it never stops being fun to play! Whether you’re slaying a monster or just riding around on a horse, this is simply a ton of fun to play! And with the insane amount of content, you’ll be playing it for a while!

Luckily, the game’s price tag is incredibly reasonable! It very often goes on sale on Steam, where you can get the Game of the Year Edition for twenty dollars. That’s hundreds to thousands of hours of unique content for a third the price of a brand new game!

A brand new game that usually only has two to ten hours of content. Maybe less. But hey! At least they have a road map!

If you still haven’t played The Witcher 3, I’d highly recommend you give it a go! It’s a masterpiece through and through, and it’s easily one of the strongest games to come out in the last decade! It’s simply wonderful from beginning to end!

Now, if only Cyberpunk 2077 would come out. I need something new to consume my life, dammit!

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