It's been a long time coming but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has released and we have had a chance to dig into the game. It has been touted to have over two hundred hours of gameplay and stuffed to the brim with all kinds of extra content to enjoy. Not only that but all versions of the game have been out there to impress visually as well as audibly. This of course begs the question: Does The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt wild hunt live up the hype we've had over the years? This is of course where we come in as we've taken the time to get intimate with the game and its characters for you. Here is our review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Fans of the franchise will find that the story for The Witcher 3 picks up just a bit along from where the previous titles left off. Those unfamiliar will find the story to be that of Geralt, the Witcher, who is a monster hunter that is also on the hunt for his former pupil Ciri. Along the way Geralt runs into a world that despises his kind yet will bend over backwards to get his help to vanquish all of the evils that plague the world. This of course leads to all kinds of deviations from the path and makes the story a bit more complicated and less likely to stay spoiler free. There is a lot of story in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but that is the basics of where you start from.
Sadly, and this may have been my experience with The Witcher 3 but there are still a lot of graphical issues and glitches through the game. CD Projekt RED has been trying to get them all fixed since launch but I happened to run into almost all of them. None of which are all too game breaking or lasting, a quick little meditation usually reset things, but they did break from the game's world and left me wondering why there was so much "extra polish" needed when it doesn't look like it happened here. Things like NPCs floating in the air and blocking merchants and doors being left open yet still requiring special camera angles to interact with them where the biggest issues. Although it was quite fun to sail and swim through a lake that didn't have the water rendered on screen. It just seemed to happen too often for a game that had so much extra time placed on it.
Going hand in hand with this is the fact that the visuals for The Witcher 3 didn't seem to live up to much of the hyped videos and demos I've seen online or in person. I am fully aware that I know I saw everything before playing rendered using high-end PCs for the graphics and I played, and still am, The Witcher 3 on the PS4 but wasn't there some form of visually parity being claimed before and shown as a result of all of the delays? It didn't seem to make it over to the final version of The Witcher 3 or at least I didn't see it. even minor things like Geralt's chainmail didn't seem to have the 3D depth to the textures. The very basic things that should be available easily across all next-gen systems and high-end PCs.
Lastly here, and this is a love-hate thing, there was too much to do in The Witcher 3. Having a lot is good for gameplay and keeping the audience to continue on with the game but usually it is spread out and not thrown at you from the beginning leaving you wondering what to do next. I wasn't even level two during my play through and because I was following the story path and looting everything I was up to four main missions and six side missions, most of which I was too under-leveled for, and I had to debate on giving them a go or hoping I would be able to get back to them when I was the appropriate level or close to it. Shouldn't the progression be on par with your character level and not slam you? I gave up on trying to complete them all as these were just a fraction of all the things you could do. It became too hard to manage and I know I've missed out on things as there was too much to do.
Building off the last hated point there, there is so much to do in The Witcher 3 that it is hard to get bored and find yourself grinding just to grind. In fact I was introduced to an amazing card game in the mix of playing the core game that I lost hours into when I was tired of running around and killing monsters or hunting mysterious women. Even the crafting systems added a great mixture of gameplay mechanics to give you even more to do in The Witcher 3. I found all of these to be great distractions from the plethora of missions filling up the quest logs yet keeping me playing the game. Some may think that this form of grinding has place in other genres of games but seeing as even these little distractions had stories attached to them they were greatly appreciated. The aspect of too much being a good thing that I love indeed.
Another aspect of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that caught my eye was the fact that the combat system felt a lot smoother than the previous titles in the franchise. I remember playing The Witcher for the first time and constantly needing to take breaks out of frustration with the combat in the game. Two titles later and it looks like CD Projekt RED have been able to hit the nail on the head and keep it flowing without bogging it all down with complex combat strings required. I was dreading this from day one and then I was sucked right into the fray. The Witcher 3 blended everything together so that even novice gamers wouldn't be confused and looking to just hop back into Gwent, the card game, but doing what the game was designed for; hunting down evil beings and the monsters that help them. Or the monsters that just eat things. Or just monsters in general.
The lore of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is also something that stuck out to me as a shining example of something to love. While I am personally one who prefers to hear the story told instead of reading about it, The Witcher 3 had libraries upon libraries of lore for all of the creatures and events that take place in the game's world. Some of course told via cut-scenes but others you could only find in the written documents found about the world or in the bestiary Geralt would keep. Not only would you get more information on how to kill the monsters in game here but also a bit of the backstory on where they came from in the real world as well as how they were in The Witcher 3. Some things were altered to fit the game's lore but it was all so intriguing I became over encumbered with books at one point and had to sell or stash them away just to make room for things needed to play the game. Amazing work there by the developers.
If you need something that is not an MMO or FPS to sink hours and hours of time into then The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is exactly what you need. There is no exaggeration to the 200+ hours of gameplay for the game. There is a lot to do. If you can manage to not get bogged down with all of that and keep the game's missions in line so you don't miss a thing then you will be in for some time that is well worth, and then some, the price of the game. Not many games today can keep us playing for so long without needing to rely on DLC to keep expanding a few hours here or there.
As I mentioned though, do not buy into all of the hype that has been spread for the visual quality of the game. While The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt does look amazing in its own right it is not on par with some of the higher quality games that use that as a selling point. At least on the console version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Hopefully they will patch out the remaining issues with graphics to solve one of the bigger glitches in the game but as I mentioned that isn't a deal breaker for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Launch Trailer
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was developed by CD Projekt RED and published by Warner Bros. for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on May 19th 2015. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.