I haven’t played a fantasy RPG since 2011’s Skyrim. After being swallowed in that universe for a good hundred and forty hours of gameplay, I needed a half a decade break. I haven’t picked up a midnight release from GameStop in two years, and yet something was just calling me. That something is called The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. My first RPG in ages. I have never played a Witcher game period. How does the games hype match the final product? Is it too confusing of a story? How does the combat system feel? Join me on my first few hours in what I am sure will be a amazing journey with my first impressions of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and feel free to join the discussion!
First off, let me say that I was a bit hesitant to pick this game up. Just wasn’t sure if jumping in on the third chapter of a series wouldn’t have left me in the dark on any important plot points. I can assure you that after watching the game’s opening introduction that I felt an immediate connection with the characters and their worlds rich history. The game’s manual even comes with a cool little 2-3 page historical short story as well. Haven’t seen many of those since the 8 and 16 bit golden age.
Geralt is the series main character, a witch hunter who has had his share of scars and battles judging by his opening bath tub flashback scene. Unlike many main heroes we see in games these days, I felt a sincere compassion and love from the character. Sure, he can grab an axe and go to battle on the drop of a dime, but he also has a real love for his woman, his friends and Ciri. Who is Ciri you ask? I am still not sure being only a couple of hours in, but she is a young apprentice being trained by Geralt, and she is quite a charismatic character that I am sure will play some vital role in the story. Bottom line, this game feels like a fresh “ground zero” entry point for new comers and I am sure long time series fans will find plenty of nods and dots to be connected from past titles.
The real star of the game are the gorgeous graphics. Riding my horse country side while viewing dead bodies hanging from trees, crying mothers near burning homes, crows sitting over log cabin rooftops, and some of the best lighting effects I have ever seen as I watched the sunset reflect its orange haze over a nearby lake. Just beautiful. Voice acting was top-notch as well. Usually a side character in a game doesn’t get the same star voice actor treatment, but with Witcher 3, every single character felt unique and packed plenty of personality.
Many RPG’s can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to upgrading gear and creating potions. Developer CD Projekt RED really made this easy to learn. Never did I have to guess what I was doing. The combat was slick and fluid and more importantly, fun. The game makes great use of the D-pad, and shoulder buttons. Very rarely did I have to leave the game screen to switch between magic and sword while dodging and locking on targets. Very solid.
As I mentioned earlier, I was on the fence with this game. I didn’t know for sure if I had the energy or time to play a game that could be end up being 100-150 hours long to complete. I am glad I grabbed it. Within the first 20 minutes, I no longer cared how long or hard this game would be. I knew right then and there that I was playing a special game that represented the reason why we buy new consoles. To experience the cutting edge graphics and great gameplay and story telling. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of those games. I don’t now if I will put over a hundred hours into it like Skyrim, but I sure am going to have a blast enjoying the journey.