How do you make a sequel of an already successful franchise? You will need to identify and improve the core elements of the previous game and build a game that uses the graphical capabilities of today’s consoles and PC’s. Game developer D Projekt Red has taken this basic concept and ran with it, crafting a magnificent, and utterly engaging masterpiece The Witcher 3. Calling it a masterpiece is really not overselling it. Remember how the release of Skyrim changed the way people viewed fantasy RPGs? Well, this one is a more magical and dramatic than Skyrim. Yes, the Skyrim replacement is now finally here!
Excellent and immersive gameplay is one of the many things that The Witcher 3 has to offer, combined with an expansive open-world to explore, and a ton of majestic monsters to slay. It is simply not possible to explain just how vast this game is. We have spent almost a week playing through the main quests and indulging in a few (okay, maybe more than a few) side-quests, and we are probably not even half-way through. What is remarkable about the game is not only its geographical magnitude, but the sheer variety and number of activities you can do within the given world. At first, you only see a small castle where you learn the basics of movement and interaction, after which you are introduced to the entire thing 3 much bigger maps. The more you play the game, the more you realise just how intimidatingly expansive the world is.
The storyline in The Witcher 3 is tense, dramatic, and non-linear, giving your character the freedom to choose a path of your choice. Using characters and situations from the previous games in its narration, The Witcher 3 plunges the world into political chaos, the perfect situation for a series of violent events to occur. Unlike the previous games where Geralt (the main character) does not seem to be concerned about the problems of the innocent townfolk, the character seems to have matured now. The main quest also revolves around the Wild Hunt, a group of spectral riders that scourge the land and bring misery in the picturesque, dynamic world. Although the political situations and problems have been explored in previous Witcher games, this one takes the trouble to form intimate connections with a large number of characters, making the price of war and turmoil seem even more personal.
The Witcher 3’s graphics are so astounding that we spent a lot of time exploring the environment purely for the sake of the scenery.
Natural events like sunsets, rainfall, and even a simple breeze are mesmerising, and the climate changes dynamically and you are treated to vegetation, animals and landforms that can almost feel. At some points you can encounter some lag or framerate drops on the consoles but often times this was when going through the map or places where big fights are taking place. In-game facial animation makes that of Dragon Age: Inquisition seem outdated. All these elements stay flawless even during fights, making the combat smooth and deliberate. And destructive magic never looked so beautiful.
It’s not just the graphics that make the game though. A lot of the atmosphere in the game is set by the soundtrack, giving you the chance to ponder into the moral consequences of your decisions, or stare in awestruck wonder at the beauty of the land. The scores use classical instruments like the violin, cello, acoustic guitar and a team of male and female vocals that drive the games music. Some soundtracks get rousing and powerful, even militaristic, easily rivalling the “Dragonborn” soundtrack from Skyrim. However, the calmer tunes are the ones to look out for, they build up slowly and fade away unnoticed, and they fit in perfectly with the theme of the game.
Dialogues and cutscenes in the game are emotional, we found ourselves drawn into the drama that occurs between Geralt and Ciri (don’t worry, we won’t spoil anything for you). Voice-casting is done superbly for a host of characters you meet along the way, giving each of them a distinct, intelligent personality. Witty dialogues by characters, such as the sarcastic barbs by Sigismund Dijkstra, are very entertaining, and the emotional talks of the helpless village folk are moving.
Overall we may have never played an open-world fantasy RPG so perfectly engaging, since Skyrim. Although The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is now a game that must be a standard over which all other games compare, there are some small issues. The loading time is long and frustrating. Even though we have a trusty steed for your conveyance, we were irritated by the amount of time it takes just to get from one point to another. Quick-travel means looking at the loading screen once again. Small things, yes, we know! However, we have tried hard to see something negative about this game and that is all we could come up with!
Regardless of the problems with loading times and the occasional framerate drop,
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a perfect execution in all the major and important aspects of a game.
The storyline and the variety in game systems are both engaging and entertaining; the characters are very well developed, the map is ridiculously massive and it is filled to the brim with unique and interesting side-quests and activities that somehow manage to link itself to the main quest. All in all, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a great game for countless hours of entertainment.CD Projekt Red has crafted a game that makes us wish that other games were created with such passion and ambition.
- Huge open-world to explore
- 50+ hours of content
- Great story
- Huge amount of unique characters
- Occasional FPS drop on console
- Long loading times