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The Witcher III Wild Hunt Review

This year there has been a bit of a drought in RPGs that I could get lost in for hours and days at a time. Sure I could go back to games like Fallout 3 or Skyrim, but I wanted something new, something fresh, something I never have experienced before. Then came in by inbox a code for Witcher III Wild Hunt for the PC. I have heard of the series before but never played then due to not having a gaming PC at the time. Now that I have one, it was time to see what the fuss was all about. Does Witcher III live up to the hype that PC gamers have proclaimed? Or will I be bias due to my background as a console gamer and should have asked for a console version of the game.

 The White Wolf

Vast world to explore- The world of Witcher 3 huge. Or at least its feels that way. For some people it’s a bit overwhelming to know that you are able to explore almost every nook and cranny that’s in the world. For myself, I love being able to wander off the trail and accidentally find a treasure chest being guarded by bandits or hearing rumors from local villagers talking about a monster that is terrorizing the next village over. There literally so much to see and do. In addition to the main quest, secondary missions, and Witcher contracts, the game also has undiscovered locations, monsters lairs, and all sorts of other things just waiting to be discovered. You could be hunting down a Witcher contract for one moment and then out of no where accidentally run into a totally different monster that heard of from the villagers the next. Let’s not forget the cities and villages. These places are almost small worlds themselves, especially the larger cities. These places are almost small worlds of their own. I just wish that the game had some type of parkour mechanic so that I can the buildings much like in Assassin’s Creed.

Combat bloody satisfying- In some of the fantasy RPGs that I’ve played, the combat sometimes lacks a bit of weight. By that I mean, when your character swings the sword you should see him or her put their weight behind the swing, like how you would in real life. When their blade makes contact or gets blocked, you should see them feel the pressure from the opponent’s block. If the character is just swinging randomly, then you lose that immersion that you are the one fighting not the character on screen. The same goes with magic. In Witcher 3, with every swing, every dodge/parry, and every action that Geralt does, it has weight to it. You can feel the force and push back of the swords as they clash against each other. Especially when it comes to dismembering body parts. CD Projekt RED did a really great job in making the fighting animation very believable and exciting.

 

Secondary missions add lore to the world- Some people see secondary missions/side quests  as an annoyance that is to fill up gameplay time or to mindlessly grind in order to gain experience points. However that is not the case in Witcher 3. Yes these missions were designed to extend play time and have players gain XP, however the mission also add lore to the world. See in most RPGs secondary missions are structured somewhat like this: “look for person a at point b, fight monster 1 at point c and then return back to a to turn in the mission”. The secondary missions in Witcher 3 do have this structure, but add much more to it. Person a is not just a mission marker: for example he’s a local villager who’s worried about his wife as she hasn’t come back from the fields hours ago. You ask around and learn that this isn’t the first time women have disappeared from the village. You also learn that the village has been recently been the victims of bandit raids.

Gruesome monsters- I love the monster designs for Witcher III. While I have encountered the same types of monsters in other RPGs that are in Witcher III, its the Witcher III designs that feel more authentic. What I mean by authentic is that the the descriptions of the monsters were taken from authentic Polish folktales, legends and fairy tales. Yes other developers have used the same material to design their monsters, but they don’t share the same connection as do the CD Projekt Red developers. For them, these tales have been passed down from generation to generation, its a part of their history and culture. And they used these stories to bring to life the very dangerous and gruesome monsters players have to fight.

Gwent- Never since triple triad did I get addicted to an in game mini game like how I got addicted to Gwent. The best way to describe Gwent is that it is a mix of Hearthstone and War. First you pick which deck to play with. Each deck comes with a hero card that has individual special powers that can be manually activated or are passively activated. Then you build your deck of cards that are of various characters and objects/spells. Each character/object card has a power value ranging from 1 to 10.  Each deck also has special cards that have actions that either can help you or hinder you. To win a round, you must have a higher combined power level of your opponent. First person to win two out of three matches wins the game. The game seems simple enough but with the right combination of cards, you can lose in a flash. So there’s a ton of strategy that the game has that players can learn. As you win matches, you earn a card to add to your decks and in some cases can even win really rare cards.

Actions affect the world/quests- As I mentioned before, secondary quests and Witcher contracts add more lore to the over all game. Each decision you make in these mission also affects the world in general. In fact any actions that you make will have world changing effects. Say for example you need to find someone but the only way to do that is to work with one of the local gang bosses in the city. You could do his missions to get him to tell you the location of the person your looking for. If you do, he will treat you as a friendly and will be willing to give Or you could accidentally stumble upon the hideout on your own. If that happens, then the gang boss wont be too pleased and he will treat you differently. This applies to the main story missions as well. This forces players to make a quick decision and encourages them to go through multiple playthroughs to see if things would turn out differently if they made a different choice.

 Deadlier than an alghoul

Crashes every few times when trying to load- I’m no computer technician, but I do know that when a game crashes, that it’s a bad thing. Especially when the game crashes during beginning of the game’s intro and when it loads the last saved game. Now before my computer specs are called into question, here is what I am using to play Witcher 3 on:

 

  • Processor- Intel Core i7-2600k CPU @ 3.40GHz with 8 cores
  • Video card- AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series
  • Chipset- AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series
  • Dedicated memory- 1GB
  • Total memory- 4.0GB
  • Memory- 8.2GB
  • Direct X 11

 

According to systemrequirements.com, my PC meets the minimum requirements to run Witcher 3. The only recommendation that was given was to update my video card, which is only a few years old. There also have been some here-say on Reddit that the game might have problems running on computers with AMD cards since the game is optimized for Nvidia cards, but again that is just here-say. At the time of this writing of the review, CD Projekt Red has made several patches to Witcher 3 in order to fix as many problems as they can. The game still crashes once in a while but does run well when stable.

 

Graphical glitches and terrible textures- From a distance the world of Witcher 3 is beautiful. Everything seems to be alive, doing its own thing and reacting to Geralt’s actions. However if you get up close and personal with some objects, say like walls, rocks, some fields of tall grass, woods etc, they look flat and ugly. While it might be easy blame either my graphics card or CD Projekt RED wanting to make sure that the Witcher 3 looks just as great on the consoles as it does on PC, I’m not letting it slide. From what I’ve heard, people have hyped up CD Projekt RED as a PC first developer. If that’s the case, why wasn’t the PC version of Witcher 3 given priority over its console counterparts? Other developers would hold off on a PC port to get the console versions done on time, so why couldn’t CD Projekt RED do the same thing with Witcher 3. I understand that by getting on to consoles as well that they will increase not only their potential profits but gain an even bigger fan base, but that doesn’t excuse CD Projekt RED from short changing the PC fanbase.

 

Terrible horse mechanics- Roache is a very proper name for Geralt, since he controls just like one. The Horseback riding mechanics in Witcher 3 are some of the most terrible mechanics I’ve seen in an RPG. Getting Roache to come to you is a bit of a chore since he will stop a couple of feet behind or ahead of you instead of getting near you. Trying to control him and getting him to attempt to walk a straight line is also a chore, as he will bump and get stick on every little thing that you walk into. I just spent most of the time walking and fast traveling my way around.

 

First things first, no game developer should be excused if the final product doesn’t look like what it was projected to look like. They should not make excuses as that they had to tone things down because it will be easier to port to consoles. And the game should work regardless if gamers have either an AMD or Nivida based graphics card. Though these problems might be fixed a head of this review, that still doesn’t excuse CD Projekt RED for not working on the PC version of the game first then work on console ports.  Aside from that and the terrible horse AI, Witcher III Wild Hunt is an awesome game. Even with all of its flaws  I had a great time fighting monsters, changing the world around me by the actions I take in quests, and getting addicted to Gwent. The game is not perfect by all means and I think should not be getting perfect scores, however it does deserve a good score and a buy recommendation. IF you love fantasy RPGs and love getting lost in a world where exploring could lead you to discovery buy Witcher III on any platform, though I would recommend getting the PC version if your into the modding scene.

 

8.0/10.0

1 Comment

  1. Krisk says:

    Interesting review, although seems quite rushed despite the game being out for long. It concentrates on perceived shortcomings without giving broader perspective – what other RPGs offer. To summarize, not a bad review: 6.0/10.0

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