It’s been 5 years since this phenomenal game was released into the world of gaming. With the new Netflix series; The Witcher and enormous anticipation of CD Projekt Red’s newest video game release of Cyberpunk 2077 later this year, I felt like revisiting the dark fantasy world of The Witcher 3 in 2020.
If you’ve somehow avoided this fantastic work of art over these last 5 years, well that in itself is an impressive feat. Since the game came out and got into the hands of gamers both new and veteran, it has been the talk of many years past, and is still being touted as one of the greatest games of the decade today.
Not to mention that the Netflix series was amazing as well and should be put onto your watch list.
Well, I’m here to add my praises to this well aged and aging game, it’s like a wine that is only going to get better over time as it ferments in the fond memories and feelings of players all around the world. There may be spoilers ahead, just to let people who aren’t familiar with the game, Netflix and/or novel series know.
Amazingly Immersive Storytelling
I remember when I first played The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, I truly immersed myself in the role of the main character who is a father figure to a certain special young woman. So, I was very emotionally invested in the game, to the point where even I thought of her as a daughter.
Even after these past 5 years, this game still latches onto your heart and tugs at your emotions as well as on your sense of morality. The choices you make have very real consequences on those around you and on the world state at the end of the base game as well as those in the expansions.
Some of these choices puts you in a moral dilemma, there are many quests that present choices to you that aren’t always clear cut, at these times you have to choose the lesser evil, but that is also based on your own morals. It’s about choosing whichever option that doesn’t leave too bad of a taste in your mouth afterwards.
Also, some of these choices don’t have immediate consequences and will only present themselves to you in the end; an absolutely amazing mechanic that can make you question yourself and your decisions.
Here is a loose overview of what the story is focused on; you are a master monster slayer who by some surprise circumstance came into adopting a child of destiny who possesses powers over time and space, she is on the run from the Wild Hunt and you are tasked with finding her after many long years of her absence.
Along the way, you will encounter many new and old acquaintances/friends and will be put in a position to decide the fate of the world along with its people, pretty crazy considering you’re just a lone and humble Witcher.
There is just so much more to the world that The Witcher takes place in, it would take another post or more to get it all in, it’s quite fascinating and you can find out more if you read up on the dedicated Witcher wiki and the novel series that the game is based on by Andrzej Sapkowski.
There are 2 additional expansions that can be played out and are practically their own standalone episodes. The timeline of this is set after the novel series and includes little tidbits of lore if you read the in game books and notes, though they don’t include all the information.
It’s Still Beautiful
Usually overtime, colours in fabrics, paints and other things fade as time goes on, the same can be said of graphics in games, what you remember to be vibrant, bright and beautiful has become a shadow of what it once was and pales in comparison to more recent releases.
This is not in the case of The Witcher 3, it’s still as beautiful, vibrant and filled with life as it was 5 years ago, heck, it can even be said that it still looks better than some games that have come out this year.
The colouring lends atmosphere to the world you are exploring, the environments are masterfully crafted which make you want to actually uncover and travel to each point on the map by foot and/or on horseback. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack playing in the background while you’re exploring and fighting.
Unfortunately, many of the people that populate this world are base, degenerates, corrupt and ugly (personality and morality wise). The first area you find yourself in is rife with discrimination, racism and misogyny, only getting worse until you get to the expansions which are very high quality as well. Though this does not detract from the fun and enjoyment the game brings with it.
If anything, seeing the people that live in this game might cause you to lose your faith in humanity, which is fine, no big deal right? It’s like real life (joking… maybe).
Visually, The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt looks great with the changing weather, day/night cycles, sprawling cities/villages, nice water mechanics and just attention to detail overall, very immersive.
Deadly Dance of Swords and Magic
Back when I first played The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, I remember really liking the combat animations. The twirling, spinning and theatrical swinging of swords, not to mention the slow motion finishers when defeating enemies. It’s still really cool now in 2020 as it was when it first came out.
Although, with my recent playthrough, I experienced some frustration playing on the highest difficulty level called Death March, which should be enough of an explanation in itself. Fighting groups of enemies was the worst, you constantly have to be on your toes and have your eyes open in order to juggle the many enemies coming at you if you want to survive these encounters.
Not to mention that sometimes, when you’re trying to cast a bit of magic called a “sign,” there is a delay or it doesn’t happen at all even when you’re mashing the button to activate it, resulting in taking an unnecessary hit or a death and reload. Also, when trying to parry an attack or dodge, some enemy attacking animations can be off so that throws your timing as well.
It’s still really fun and fancy don’t get me wrong, it’s just on higher difficulty levels things can become a bit more challenging as their damage and health pool is increased by a ton so you’ve got to be more nimble and careful of how you fight.
Anyway, the majority of the gameplay is as superb, extremely fun and immersive as ever. It can be as challenging or easy as you like with the 4 different difficulty levels you can choose from.
Lots of Crafting and Customization
I forgot how much stuff The Witcher 3 offers in its arsenal of weapons and armour as well as in its other customization mechanics. There is a multitude of different swords and armour set pieces, I guess I just didn’t bother with them too much because the gear made specifically for Witchers are just the best choices that there was no need to mix and match.
Going through the game again, I have now realized the sheer amount of options there are for you to choose from so you can make your master monster slayer look even more badass than he already is or if you just want to switch things up to look fresh.
Sure the weapons and armour are the basic types such as steel or silver, heavy, medium or light armour, but each piece of gear has their own unique properties, some are named and they all have their own unique aesthetics as well.
There is a heavy focus on crafting in this game. Specifically for the potions and weapon oils you need in order to be more effective in combat, especially against monsters. If you want the best gear in terms of stats and appearance, then crafting is the way to go, there is a huge amount of diagrams to find and purchase from blacksmiths and armoursmiths.
Also, the crafting system can be a bit demanding, but still relatively user friendly, if not a little unorganized.
The best armour and weapon sets are of course the Witcher school gears, there are six of them you can get; wolf, bear, feline, griffin, manticore and viper with the 4 former ones having tiered quality.
Then, on the customization side, there are also quite a few options. In game, there are barbers scattered throughout the map that you can go to if you want to change your hair and beard styles. In the Blood and Wine expansion, they have also included dyes for your armour to give you more control in how your Witcher looks. The dyes are limited though, not as in depth as I would like anyway.
9.8/10 God Tier close to Perfection
In the end, The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is hands down one of the best games you will every play in your life, I highly recommend it. You’ll be going back for seconds and thirds, maybe more.
The reason I’ve given it a 9.8 though is because the combat response could be more snappy and quick, after all, you are playing as a mutated human with improved reflexes, vision and other qualities. Also, if you want to go in for a third round from your second playthrough which is dubbed “New Game + (NG+)”, that is unfortunately not possible.
For the third playthrough, you’re going to have to start from your very first completed save file when you began as a baby or from a completely fresh save as if it were your first time. The game wasn’t exactly designed with infinite replayability in mind like some others.
It’s just not made to be played more than twice from the original file. Thus, your maxed out gear and everything won’t carry over, which kind of made me sad. I was so looking forward to playing through again with the top quality leveled gear that I worked so hard to get the second time and feeling all powerful.
Anyway, revisiting and replaying this game was definitely fun. To be honest, I was just feeling really restless and needed something to fill the void that waiting for CD Projekt Red’s next game – Cyberpunk 2077 – created in me ever since it was officially announced to come out this year in September.
Have you played The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt before? What were your thoughts on the game and do you still enjoy it today?
If you’re new to this series, are you thinking of giving it a try now?
Let me know your thoughts on this game or even on Cyberpunk 2077 down below. If you have any other game suggestions that could help keep the hype and restlessness at bay, I’d be glad for them as well. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!