A lot of games these days promise a lot, but deliver very little. We’ve got somewhat used to taking the bullet-points on the back of a game box with a pinch of salt, as common declarations of “fully immersive worlds” and “dynamic story arcs” never seem to come to fruition, but that is not the case with The Witcher 3. CD Projekt RED’s climactic finale to the critically-acclaimed series doesn’t only deliver on its promises, but it exceeds them in every way possible.
It really a case of delivering a full package this time around, and there’s one thing that the Polish development studio nailed: coherence. Every part of The Witcher 3 comes together like a well-oiled machine, delivering the open-world, monster-hunting extravaganza we have been waiting years for.
Geralt, the titular hero of the series, is once again in the forefront of the game’s focus. He’s still a unrelenting badass of few words, but he’s got a bit of cheek and vulnerability to him this time around, making him a much more ‘human’ hero than ever before. This element makes for a much more compelling and immersive story. Geralt is now tying up some personal loose-ends, searching for his adopted daughter, Ciri, before The Wild Hunt find her – a monstrous group who have a penchant for murder and destruction. The stakes are at their highest for Geralt, making the adventure a really intriguing narrative from the get-go.
The gameplay of The Witcher 3 is as varied and expansive as the world itself. Combat has been refined from previous iterations, which lets players dance, dodge and attack in fights with ease and grace, albeit with some difficult timing for the tougher enemies. The lock-on system works really well, even with multiple enemies, and it really does make swordplay a treat rather than a tedious encounter. There’s a lot of new magic attacks, and some complex potions to use via a crafting system, but thankfully the game allows you to succeed and progress through combat any way you please.
This is a great highlight, as the breadth of the Witcher 3 can be quite daunting, but it makes a great effort to invite players, new and veteran alike. Its in-game and on-screen tutorials are helpful and thorough, resulting in an RPG that you are equipped to be successful with. Each time you load up the game you are welcomed by a recap of the major plot point of your current state of the game, making it much easier to stay in tune with the story as it unravels.
This helps bring the best pieces of the game together like a dinner like with close friends – familiar yet always refreshing. The Witcher 3 doesn’t isolate non-RPG experts, nor does it overindulge in its genre. It’s a great blend of action and levelling up that feels natural and part of the experience as opposed to routine grind. Engaging with locals, taking a job, tracking down monsters, and eventually killing whatever beast is causing chaos is a rewarding experience time and time again.
There’s one word that’s fitting to round up the The Witcher 3: colossal. It’s a game rich with story, content, and size. Often bigger isn’t always better, but The Witcher 3 manages to straddle that line between size and substance excellently. The result is an experience that succeeds in all departments and leaves you captivated from the opening moments.
Have you played the Witcher 3? What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments section below…