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‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’ (2015): Review From The Editor

Video games are unique as a storytelling medium in that not only do they allow for a story to be told, but the player gets a chance to imprint their own personality onto the character they are controlling. This can then lead to an increase in immersion and investment, and something that the Witcher III has done very well is make players feel they are influencing the world they are inhabiting.

The Witcher III is, shockingly, the third instalment in CD Projekt’s Witcher series; which are in turn based on a book. You play as Geralt, a member of a dying breed of supernaturally gifted monster hunters for hire. The game mostly revolves around you tracking and killing people/things, which might sound repetitive, but the developers have managed to give enough variety that you don’t get bored carrying out what are essentially very similar missions.

Since its announcement, The Witcher 3 has looked set to be the next game that robbed me of sleep. An RPG bringing in a boat load of action, exploration while lonely aiming for adults and their secret desire to live their own Game of Thrones story. Battling through a sea of politics and arms.

The Witcher as a series however, isn’t your average RPG. This isn’t a game you’ll sink hours into, only to forget the earthy and gritty moments and simply hold onto the mystical, romantic parts as nostalgia so often likes to do. Everything takes work and graft but delivered in such a way that you’ll have fond memories of the work just as much as that warm gooey feeling it delivers.

Sure, you can whip out your blade and make sure every beast in the nearby area gets a taste of it, but once you’re in the world of The Witcher, you’ll be only too wise and happy to read more into your quarry, prepare the best potions and oils for your sword before running at them headfirst and making sure you’re their worst nightmare. With battles against mythical beasts poured all over the land, it’s a lesson you’d be wise to heed.

The world of The Witcher 3 is alive and organic. Overheard conversations tell stories that you may or may not become involved in. People go on with their lives. You aren’t this world’s bright hero. In fact, Geralt is considered by many to be a freak.

Gone is that crippling control scheme CD Projekt Reds previous instalment was forced to utilise, in a switch from PC to console. Offering instead a fluid battle scheme that’ll have you dodging, parrying and rolling as you sweep enemies off their feet and deliver a gruesome killing blow to the chest, before taking their mates head clean off its shoulders!

Ok, so for some It’s perhaps not the deep ocean of combos and controls that they may be accustomed too, but it fits so well into The Witchers often brutal world that I couldn’t help but enjoy every moment of battle!

The sprawling world that lays at your feet has received just as much attention. Not just settling for a quick lick of paint and polish, everything has been built anew and flooded with life. The Witcher 3 looks simply gorgeous. Yes, let’s be clear that PC fans out there will no doubt in the coming days begin a parade of taunts at how much better it looks on max settings, we know and expect this, but what is offered on console is easily the best we’ve seen of this generation so far. Which is saying something, let’s be honest!

As the days and nights cycle, you’ll fall in love with your surroundings, staring at the way light spills through the trees, making patterns on the floor. Or watching the sunset from a windmill which over looks a sea of crops. Even the dark, muddy battlefields are a sight to behold as moonlight makes corpses blood glisten in the night. You’ll find a twinges of the games dark history weaved into your surroundings.

Customising your character and creating custom equipment can very easily become a tedious task in many RPGs. There are often countless methods of improving your character and their equipment, but The Witcher has enough elements to improve and be creative with, but not too many that it feels overwhelming or gets boring.

We could talk for hours about everything we enjoyed with The Witcher 3. Every story is free and open to be nudged in different directions, with endless landscapes to explore and characters to entertain. It’s an absolute joy to watch how your choices cause ripples across the land in ways you may not expect.

CD Projekt have created an engrossing and captivating game that manages to deal with some rather difficult issues, like domestic abuse, in a surprisingly grown-up manner for a video game. CD Projekt Red took on a mammoth task in creating an open world that isn’t just filled with characters but actual life and The Witcher 3 is proof of their success. We’ll be enjoying this one and remembering its fine details for years to come.

Rating: 4 ½ out of 5

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