The Witcher got its start as a Polish fantasy series, but it has evolved into a game filled with rich storytelling and extensive world building. The Witcher 3 release date was 19 May, 2015 and still remains arguably one of the best RPGs of all time. In the Witcher 3 review, we will examine every aspect of the game and let you know what we think of it.
|Type of game:||Action Role-Playing|
|Developer:||CD Projekt RED|
|Total Play Time:||105 hrs with DLC|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 940
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
OS: 64-bit Windows 7 or 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1)
HDD Space: 40 GB
|Price:||$39.99 for PC/$49.99 for Console|
The World of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, with GameSpot calling it “one of the best games ever made”. The excellent programming ensures that the game always runs smoothly, so we are going to mostly focus on the actual design aspects. In this next section of our Witcher 3 review, we take an indepth look at Witcher 3 storyline, atmosphere, appearance, characterization, and game expansion options to see if the Witcher 3 lives up to the hype.
Atmosphere & Location
As soon as you start up the game, you are immediately blown away by the incredible atmosphere. The eerie monsters hunted by witchers loom amid misty forests, soaring mountains, and cozy medieval-esque towns. Since the game is open world, you can wander around exploring a variety of beautiful yet uncanny scenery.
The Polish source material is evident in the game’s soundtrack, which includes Polish folk music group Percival and Polish epic music controller, Marcin Pryzblyowicz. This beautiful score is performed by the Brandenburg State Orchestra of Frankfurt. Sound engineers recorded live battle reenactments, isolated forests, blacksmiths, and weapons demonstrations to ensure that every single noise was authentic. All of this effort combines to make hearing the game a major part of the gameplay.
Game designers cited Dark Souls, Red Dead Redemption, Demon’s Souls, and the Legend of Zelda as influences, and you can definitely notice this in the gameplay and atmosphere. There is always a contrast between the beauty of the world and the brutality of the combat. Though some might not appreciate the goriness, it does a great job of highlighting the theme of difficult choices and troublesome actions.
The main hero of the Witcher series is Geralt, who finally has his memory back after wandering around with amnesia for most of the Witcher 2. You can read more about that in our Witcher 2 review. He starts out searching for Yennefer, the sorceress lover who he was separated from. Geralt’s iconic grumpiness remains, making for quite a few humorous scenes. The added visual complexity of the Witcher 3 makes his scarred face and silver hair stand out even more. Over the course of the game, Geralt attempts to protect the common people while navigating the political complexities of the war-torn.
Though the player spends most of their time playing as Geralt, they also get a chance to play a few storylines as Ciri, Geralt’s adopted daughter. As the last heir to an ancient race of Elves, Ciri has special powers. Getting a chance to use her abilities to manipulate time and space add a whole new level of complexity to the game. Ciri is being chased by the Wild Hunt, who desire her unique powers.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Other characters that the player encounters within the game further enhance the storyline. The Witcher 3 features a nice balance between old player favorites and new, interesting people. You get to interact with the cursed ruler Emhyr var Emries, the 90 year old sorceress Yennefer, the ancient witcher Vesemir, the sorceress Triss who is allergic to magic, and the ultimate boss, the King of the Wild Hunt.
The character progression in The Witcher manages to make each person seem like an interesting, fully-fledged character. People who are interested in relationships will appreciate the tense love triangle between Geralt, Yennefer, and Triss, while political enthusiasts will like negotiating with various rulers. The rich characterization within the Witcher 3 encourages player immersion and makes you grow truly attached to the people in the game.
The Witcher 3 storyline starts as a simple series of quests. Geralt is originally trying to reunite with his lover, Yennefer, and his adopted daughter, Ciri. However, he ends up getting pulled into multiple quests and plots. Along the way, the player may end up dealing with evil spirits, militant religious groups, sadistic crime lords, psychotic elves, political assassinations, and magical plagues.
As a witcher, Geralt has been trained since his youth to track down monsters. Thanks to the mutagens he has encountered, Geralt has superhuman powers that assist him in his role as lone monster hunter. Though Witchers are supposed to be unbiased and apolitical, Geralt finds himself pulled into the politics of the Continent because his adopted daughter, Ciri, was the daughter of the Nilfgaard emperor.
Ciri’s innate magical abilities and ancient bloodlines make her a target of the Wild Hunt, a group of cruel, spectral elves that Geralt previously escaped from. It turns out that the Wild Hunt is attempting to conquer new worlds because a blight called the White Frost is eating their homeworld. This threat ultimately reaches the Continent, and Ciri and Geralt are forced to make some difficult decisions.
Unlike linear RPGs, The Witcher 3 storyline is more like a choose-your-own-adventure plot. Much like the other games in the series, the Witcher 3 storyline contains multiple endings that rely on the player’s decisions. Ultimately, you get to see how your actions changed the history of Nilfgaard and the fate of the characters. This intricate storyline reveals that even the smallest actions can have a huge effect on the universe. Though there are a few underlying themes about the brutality of war and the necessity of making tough decisions, issues of morality are ultimately left to the player.
DLC & Expansion Packs
To complete our Witcher 3 review, we should briefly mention Witcher 3 DLCs. After the main game was released, developer released a new DLC bundle each Wednesday for 16 weeks. This content is free to all who bought the games, and it mostly provides new armor, different hairstyles, alternative looks for characters, and a couple quick quests. Though this DLC is just minor additions, most The Witcher 3 reviews agree they are worth downloading.
Two expansions were also released for the Witcher, called “Hearts of Stone” and “Blood and Wine.” Hearts of Stone is about Geralt meeting a cursed noble who eventually forces him to make a difficult choice. In Blood and Wine, Geralt must track a mysterious beast that is terrorizing a peaceful duchy. The expansions add hours of game play and take you to new places, so most Witcher 3 fans will want to buy them. If you can purchase the game and expansions bundle together, you will save some money.
Witcher 3 developers claimed that their game had thirty times the content of previous Witcher games, and it definitely lives up to this boast. The new REDengine 3 game engine allows a nonlinear style in a massive open world that lets users follow different story threads with ease. Realistic graphics, a beautiful design, complex mechanics, an intricate storyline, and naturalistic movement all combine to make the game an incredible experience. It is altogether an impressive game which will result in hours of entertainment.
Have you played the Witcher 3 yet? Comment below to share your experience with us! Let us know if you feel we’ve left something out from our Witcher 3 review.