The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

About The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Unlike its predecessor, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt doesn’t exactly come screaming off the starting line. Compared to The Witcher 2, where you’re immediately plunged headlong into a sexy story of intrigue and betrayal, this main quest can seem mundane, even perfunctory at times. But each time I stepped off the well-beaten path to blaze my own trail, it turned into a wild, open, exhilarating fantasy roleplaying experience, rife with opportunities to make use of its excellent combat. Even after over 100 hours with The Witcher 3, it still tempts me to press on – there’s so much more I want to learn, and hunt.

The Witcher 3 is as dense and deep as the other two games in the series in terms of RPG mechanics, and the overwhelmingly massive open-world environment has at once made that depth more intimidating, and in the long run, more rewarding. It’s difficult to express just how huge and open this world is: verdant, rolling fields liberally dotted with swaying foliage of every shape and size fill the space between loosely connected, ramshackle townships where people struggle to scrape by. A full day/night cycle and dynamic weather pull it all together, cementing The Witcher 3’s landscape as one of the most authentic-feeling open worlds I’ve ever seen. A handy minimap points you where you want to go, which might seem like a crutch, but honestly, without it, I’d have been hopelessly lost. That a world this size still feels so purposeful, and full of things to do is quite an achievement.

The one caveat on all that though, is the technical performance on both the Xbox One and PS4 versions. 30 frames per second was sometimes too much to ask, transitions between The Witcher 3’s two main maps are just a bit too long, and minor glitches do pop up from time to time. None of it ever impacted gameplay in any meaningful way, though it did compromise the beauty of the experience ever so slightly. Thankfully, PC players can expect a lot more. On a GTX 980, Witcher 3 ran at 60 frames per second at all times on ultra settings.

 

This new open-world map obviously has ramifications for the structure of the story, and though there are flashes of greatness, the main story is ultimately the least fulfilling part of The Witcher 3. You might call it another case of The Elder Scrolls Syndrome. Our tale begins as a multi-continent search for Geralt’s long-lost lover Yennifer, and Ciri, his surrogate daughter. My single biggest issue though, is that it never becomes much more: the overly long main story is essentially just Geralt running errands for people in exchange for information on Ciri’s whereabouts. It effectively maintains focus and momentum, but it feels more like a wild goose chase than an intriguing mystery to unravel, like the one we got in Assassins of Kings.

Thanks to lots of excellent dialogue and voice acting there is some emotional payoff along the way, but it’s mixed in with too much padding in the form of meaningless fetch quests and collectathons. Every time I felt like I was on the verge of an interesting revelation, I’d have to suddenly stop to escort a goat, or search for a lost, narcoleptic dwarf. Heck, even Geralt can barely hide his frustration with the constant parade of menial tasks at times.

It’s also worth noting that though you will get along fine without playing the first two games in the series, without the context provided by the Witcher novels, Ciri is more or less a complete stranger until the last quarter of the journey, which made it difficult to care about finding her as much as The Witcher 3 expected me to – especially given the slew of intriguing characters who are relegated to supportive background roles.Thankfully, they all get chances to shine once you venture off the beaten path, and that’s where The Witcher 3 gets nearly everything incredibly right. Depending on your decisions in The Witcher 2 (which can be handily recreated via some dialogue early in the game), you’ll see lots of familiar faces returning to play a role in Geralt’s search, and once they have, they offer you a secondary line of quests that typically provide far more interesting scenarios to dabble in. Underground turf wars, assassination plots, love triangles, and unexpected alliances are all part of these optional romps. They’re all so meaty and full of rich story content that they feel like they should have been part of the main story.

The same can be said for a lot of the side quests you pick up in the field as well. Aside from the bevy of standard side-quests, monster lairs, and bandit camps generously littered about The Witcher 3’s gargantuan land mass, you also get a bunch of monster-hunting Witcher contracts to persue. Geralt’s quarry ranges from ethereal wraiths that need to be made tangible before you can harm them, to Foglets who conceal themselves in thick smog, waiting for a chance to strike. The payoff here is twofold: in keeping with the lore, these represent your most reliable stream of income, which is refreshingly significant due to an appropriately stingy in-game economy.

Verdict

Though the straightforward and fetch-quest-heavy main story overstays its welcome, the option of joyfully adventuring through a rich, expansive open world was always there for me when I’d start to burn out. Even if the plot isn’t terribly interesting, the many characters who play a part in it are, and along with the excellent combat and RPG gameplay, they elevate The Witcher 3 to a plane few other RPGs inhabit.

System Requirements
Minimum:
  • OS:

    Windows 10 64 Bit, Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Win 7 64 Bit

  • Processor:

    Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs)

  • Memory:

    4 GB Ram

  • Graphics:

    NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)

  • Storage:

    72 GB available space

  • Sound Card:

    100% DirectX 10 compatible

Recommended:
  • OS:

    Windows 10 64 Bit, Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Win 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1

  • Processor:

    Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD X8 FX-8350 @ 4GHz (8 CPUs)

  • Memory:

    8 GB RAM

  • Graphics:

    NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD 7870 2GB

  • Storage:

    72 GB available space

  • Sound Card:

    100% DirectX 10 compatible

  • Additional Notes:

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Minimum:
  • OS:

    MacOS X 10.8.5

  • Processor:

    Intel Core i5 2.4 GHz

  • Memory:

    8 GB RAM

  • Graphics:

    NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M

  • Network:

    Broadband Internet connection

  • Storage:

    7 GB available space

Recommended:
  • OS:

    MacOS X 10.8.5 or Newer

  • Processor:

    Intel Core i7 2.4 GHz+

  • Memory:

    8 GB RAM

  • Graphics:

    OpenGL 4.1 - ATI Radeon HD 5670, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M

  • Network:

    Broadband Internet connection

  • Storage:

    7 GB available space

  • Additional Notes:

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus condimentum pretium commodo. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Donec ut nibh in metus accumsan tristique et non velit. Lorem ipsum dolor sit.

Game Details
Game Poster
Poster

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an action role-playing game developed and published by Polish developer CD Projekt Red and is based on The Witcher series of fantasy novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski.

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PEGI 18. The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence, apparently motiveless killing, or violence towards defenceless characters.
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