Finally, CD Projekt RED has launched the third part of its The Witcher RPG series, which is the last chapter of the way of the White Wolf, Geralt of Rivia. As the last two titles of this franchise have been extremely successful, the hopes are high that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will also be able to amaze the masses. We’ve invested a huge amount of hours into this game to share our opinion about CD Projekt’s highly anticipated title.
Where to start?
Probably the most important change in The Witcher 3 is its new open-world system. Right after you start the game you find yourself in a vast land, waiting to be explored by a handsome white-haired man. CD Projekt RED was without a doubt able to ace this new open world system at their first try, without ruining the experience for long-term fans of this franchise. It is way too easy and entertaining to drift off your planned route, because of the sudden appearance of a Place of Power, a new exciting quest, or an occupied village nearby. The world itself looks absolutely stunning and it’s not hard to get lost in the medieval atmosphere in each of the villages or larger towns, thanks to the great soundtrack. In contrast to other big scaled games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is able to deliver a living world, that doesn’t put the focus on the protagonist, but still allows you to form this scenery with the tough decisions you make throughout the game and of course by completing the various enjoyable quests. Although the authentic world of the The Witcher 3 will captivate you in no time, you will still run into some minor bugs over the course of the game.
The White Wolf in action
In case you didn’t know, Geralt is a well-known witcher, a professional monster slayer who accepts people’s contracts in exchange for proper rewards. Monsters, wraiths and curses are part of his daily business, but it surely requires some preparations to defeat them, so you should always adjust your setup before you track down your contract by using your witcher senses. Next to your steel sword, which is made to fight against humans, your silver sword, your weapon of choice against all kind of monsters and Geralt’s signs, his magic abilities, you will have to use oils to reinforce your weapons, potions to enhance your abilities and self-created bombs to be a serious threat for your opponents. Yeah, you’ve read right, there are a bunch of things to do and to take care of before facing a fiend, but this makes The Witcher 3 a truly unique experience. In tons of other RPGs you are bored after a few fights, due to the lack of a challenge. In The Witcher 3 every fight can be your last, even when playing on lower difficulties. Especially on Death March, Wild Hunt’s highest difficulty, you will face situations where it is required to know the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies to use your dodges, attacks and signs effectively. If you have problems with hitting your opponents, you can use the lock-on feature to make your strikes count. Oddly this function appears to be deactivated when facing bigger enemies, what can make these fights unnecessarily hard.
How to Witcher
Thankfully, the developers of the game didn’t change too much of the crafting system. The core is still the same as in The Witcher 2, since you have to gather a lot of different ingredients, recipes and schemes in order to improve your equipment. Yet, The Witcher 3 offers you a higher variety of schemes. Now, there are improved versions of different types of gear, as well as a new category of very powerful potions, called decoctions. If you prefer to use Geralt’s new weapon, the crossbow, you can even craft different kinds of projectiles. The Witcher 3’s character development is very similar to the system of the games pre-predecessor. However, a major change is the fact that you can only choose a couple of active skills out of the ones you already unlocked. Even though you can change them anytime you want, it ensures that you don’t become too overpowered, which is definitely a good thing.
Of horses and beards
As the game plays in a vast world, you can now travel with the help of Geralt’s loyal horse, Roach. Although Roach often doesn’t give a damn about your current location when you call him, he is extremely talented when it comes to following an existing road. When you are on a street on the back of your horse you don’t have to steer Roach, which makes long journeys highly enjoyable and relaxing. In addition to that, you may buy new gear like saddles, saddlebags and blinders, in order to increase your horse’s stamina, its resistance to fright and your maximum equipment burden. But your hoofed companion isn’t the only new feature in The Witcher 3. Geralt is certainly one of the most badass main figures ever, so there’s only one thing that could possibly increase his badass-ness even more: A growing beard. CD Projekt RED implemented an amazing new feature for every beardlover out there, named dynamic beard growth. The more time you spend in this world, the longer Geralt’s beard will get. Finally, it makes sense to visit a barber to get a haircut or a shave in a game. On the other hand, who would voluntarily get a shave and destroy this mighty symbol of manhood?
It’s time to duel
One of the more exciting new features of The Witcher 3 is the simple, but funny strategic card game Gwent. This collectible card game is omnipresent in the whole world of the game and offers you therefore a great diversion from the daily witcher work. You can buy new cards from different merchants or win them in games against tons of people. There are also a bunch of quests that will allow you to play against iconic characters of the series, or to take part in big tournaments to win unique cards. After you’ve won some cards you can adjust your decks with your units to win even against stronger opponents. You can choose between different factions to add diversity to the game, so it is up to you if you want to play with a Monster deck, Northern Realms cards, or one of the other deck types. Gwent is definitely one of the most entertaining mini games I’ve ever played and collecting each one of these cards is highly addictive. It’s not only a mini game, but also some sort of cultural activity in the world of The Witcher 3, like drinking or robbing people in dark streets, which makes its implementation believable and authentic.
A worthy end
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt offers you an incredible adventure with stunning quests, an immersive environment, and well-written movie-like characters. Entertaining features and a variety of ways to confront your enemies are only a small part of the sensational package, which amounts to more than a hundred hours of enjoyable gameplay. Still, an open-world game cannot provide you with a flawless experience, so be prepared to face some minor issues hampering your journey. Ultimately, The Witcher 3 is an amazing title, undeniably representing a worthy end to a legendary trilogy. Thank you, CD Projekt RED.
What we liked:
- Unique story and exciting quests
- Variety of possibilities regarding equipment and way of fighting
- Stunning graphics & sound
- Huge open-world
- Immersive design
- The collectible card game Gwent
- Dynamic beard growth
What we didn’t like:
- Simplified design
- Minor bugs
- Small info texts in the console version
- Lock-on command doesn’t work for bigger enemies