As a writer, I can say that it’s hard to say whether your work is truly worth it. Will it amount to anything? Does it get my message across? These are questions that young writers often ask themselves. In the case of Andrzej Sapkowski, a Polish fantasy author, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. The Witcher was first published in 1986, when video games were in a state of infancy. I doubt that Sapkowski would have guessed that his stories would become world renowned video games. Nearly thirty years later, they’ve become just that, culminating in the third and supposedly final installment in the franchise: The Witcher 3: Wild hunt.
The Witcher 3: Wild hunt released on May 19, 2015 and was given a plethora of positive reviews from reviewers all over the globe and rightfully so. It’s combat is smooth and tight as well as diverse, giving the player the option to fight with either swords, ranged weapons, or magic known as signs. The world in and of itself rivals that of The Elder Scrolls or Dragon Age: Inquisition in terms of size, offering the player with the freedom that very few RPG’s are able to give effectively. Fortunately, the player isn’t just left meandering; there are a plethora of quests, treasure hunts, and witcher contracts to help fill in gaps between main quests, or if the player is feeling wanderlust. The game’s cast includes many familiar faces: Dandelion, Triss Merigold and Sigismund Dijkstra to name a few. The interactions between these characters are just as memorable as in previous installments, helping to develop the Witcher Geralt in what may be his final game.
New features in this game include swimming, which is interesting because the water hides many secrets including buried treasures and sunken ships. The introduction of the crossbow although by tradition, Witchers don’t use ranged weaponry of the sort. Even so, having it is useful for fighting enemies that fly or swim. There’s also a new Batman detective vision-esque mechanic called eagle sense. This helps the player find loot chests, suspicious terrain (holes in the wall, fake floors) and is very helpful for the game’s puzzles. Otherwise, most of the gameplay is the same as what we’ve seen in previous instalments.
Finally, I thought that this should have its own section. In every Witcher game, there has been a way of gambling. In the first and second games, there was dice poker. However, having mastered dice poker, Geralt is out for a new challenge, which comes in the form of the game Gwent. Gwent is a card game that is hard to compare to another card game. It’s also a source of collectibles seeing as there are over one hundred different cards in the base set. The way to win is to simply get higher troop values on the board than your opponent in two out of three rounds. There are also four possible factions available to play as, giving variation and a small amount of depth to an otherwise simple activity.
The only problem that people and I have encountered in this game is the fact that on occasion, a seemingly random inability to save has triggered. This obviously resulted in a massive loss of progress. However, in an RPG like this, one should save as often as one can. It would mitigate the impact of one of these bugs. There were also a few quests that were poorly designed, leading the player into a dead end where they are unable to complete it, but besides that, everything else worked as it should have.
Overall, this game may be one of the best RPG’s on the next generation of consoles right now. It deserves almost all of the good PR and reviews that it has gotten and will hopefully continue to impress me. 95/100