Story and setting Meet Geralt of Rivia – a professional monster hunter, also known as The White Wolf. You see, Geralt is no ordinary human, he belongs to a guild of hunters who are mutated into these killing machines, using various brews and potions. With white hair, cat’s eyes, quick unearthly reactions, and magic, these mutants take on the world of beasts that are faster, bigger, and more dangerous than them. Hated by the world in general but yet hired by villages or Kings to do their dirty work.
Geralt’s story has been a long one, but to Witcher 3 simply opens with our anti-hero tracking his love Yennefer, a sorceress, across the lands. In the midst of a brewing war, there is a larger, darker foe, the fabled Wild Hunt. A legion of monsters are slowly descending on the lands.
The world of Witcher 3 is massive. Go anywhere do anything. The scale of everything is so much bigger. With villages looking like villages and towns looming large as a collection of buildings, that in most games are just loose hubs with a couple of houses thrown together. All of these are open for you to explore. Each area has several little stories, and lots of monsters to hunt. That is aside from the larger overarching plot.
Monster Hunting Don’t be fooled by the lush beauty of the open world. One instance you may be trotting on the path, Geralt on his horse Roach, when you come upon a well. Before you know it a wraith materialises, as you trespass across his haunt. Each of these monster encounters has a story. Most of these are chilling to the core. You may stumble across these monsters or some are handed to you as hunting quests for money or information.
The fun part of the game is that it actually puts you in the shows of a monster hunter – where each monster you hunt, you have to prepare for. Find ingredients, brew potions, make sure your silver sword is sharp and repaired. Steel is for humans, Silver is for monsters. Once you’re ready, you set out tracking the monster; some have jewellery binding them to the earth, some have nests. When you finally encounter these creatures, they are either bigger, or way more powerful than you are. You have to use skill, wit and your magic to beat them. Usually they have weaknesses you have to exploit. Hunting all these beasts are the most fun in a game you will ever have. Especially when the Wild Hunt descends.
Otherworldly beasties are not the only dangers you face. As a mutant, the world fears and loathes you, your actions can change a few people to like you, but otherwise your kind is not welcome. Sit down for a quiet drink at a bar, and the drunk townsmen may want to beat you up. Enter a village or town, and people run out to take their kids indoors. With the war on, everyone is viewed with suspicion, and you will have to face down human warriors from either side, bandits, bands of deserters and more.
Gameplay Witcher 3’s battle system is better than any action game out there. With amazing free flow swordplay, Geralt can indesperse his strikes with quick bursts of magic, that never interrupt the action. When in battle mode you can sidestep attacks, quickly block and parry and roll out of attacks of the bigger beasts. The action is an art form, and in a game this big you can build Geralt into this whirling dervish of death.
Levelling up lets you grow your fighting skills and magics. Not only that finding or crafting your own armor or weapons can let you equip them with runes or stones to imbue them with special powers. Theres a whole host of alchemical potions to brew that enhances your senses. A powered up Geralt fighting in the hands of a practiced gamer will drop your jaw.
The world of Witcher 3 holds monsters and a lot of secrets. You can go so far off the beaten path and find caches of gold, sites of battle, places of power to draw from, corrupted shrines and villages you have to clean and clear. There’s just so much to do, that 200 hours later you will still have a big todo list of fun quests and lots of the main quest left over.
The kind folks at CD Projekt RED have given free DLC of new quests, monsters and costumes. However, if you bought the season pass, you get a few massive DLC’s that give you massive areas to explore with an addition 100+ hours more of things to do.
Witcher 3 for most part is a perfect game. Nothing wrong with it. If one has to nitpick, then the Witcher senses and the Notice boards, make things sometimes all too easy. Putting question marks on your map making it easy to find. Would have loved if those were left to you to explore.
Graphics The scapes in Witcher 3 are beautiful. Picture perfect. There are times where you will just stand admiring the view as the in game day turns to night. Where the night breezes billow cold upon the planes through the trees. The sound of cheery morning turns to eerie night as the birds run to hide and the monsters come out to play.
The music complements the exploration beautifully. As you progress to later areas like Skellige, the vistas will just blow your mind. Many a time this gamer has been killed, because the view has gotten in the way of his action. That’s not a gripe, that’s a testament to how beautiful this game is. While the game does look amazing on PC, the developers have done a fantastic job on the PS 4 too.
Conclusion If there is one game you have to buy this year, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt it is. With action to rival, or better any action game out there. Except in the wild unpredictable expanse of an open, living and breathing world. Highly recommended.
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