Game Review: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (XBox One)

Admittedly this is the first title in the Witcher series that I’ve played and this review is geared toward that audience.

I’m a little late to the game on this one and there’s a simple reason for this; I wanted to get through it. It’s a huge game and there’s still a TON of side missions I have to complete.

I decided to pick up The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt after buying into the hype train. In short, I’m really glad I did. From the first time I picked up the controller I was totally immersed in this incredibly detailed world. I rode my horse through the forests, across bodies of water and even through the snow, and it felt just like I was doing so in real life. Now that I’ve fanboyed the game to death, let’s start the review.

Gamers take on the role of Geralt, a monster hunter for hire who lives on the continent (yes that’s right, the game takes place on an entire contintent) of Northern Realms. After coming under attack by an army called the Nilfgaardians, Geralt wanders the continent looking for work when a a ghostly and evil force begins to show itself. It is these multiple conflicts that set the tone for the game.

Let’s start with the world. It’s breathtaking. I can’t begin to count how many times I simply stood and looked around, sometimes watching the trees bend in the wind, sometimes just watching the NPC’s in villages move about and then there’s my personal favorite, watching the storms roll in. I’ve always hoped for a game with a random weather system where I couldn’t predict what it was going to be like and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt finally provided that. It really helped draw me even deeper into the world. It gave me the sensation where I could not wait to see what happened next.

This is truly a living, breathing world. Many times I could eavesdrop into a conversation between a group of people that gave me insight into the world and provide clues to other missions. In addition there are certain tasks that can only be completed during certain times of the day. I haven’t seen that type of detail in a long, long time and it was thrilling.

The controls are anything but standard. Every button provides a different function and some controls require multiple buttons which can get a little confusing, but also adds even more detailed moves to an already incredibly detailed game. The only control I was familiar with was that the left analog stick moves Geralt around. That’s ok though because it forced me to expand my controller familiarity and skillset.

Items and weapons galore is the only way to describe the amount of useful items in the game. With every turn or step I made I found something I could use, from herbs to make potions, ammunition for my range weapons, currency, letters, and many many more.

I could write forever about this game but the bottom line is play it. If you research the game you’ll find comments like “the resolution was dumbed down to make it easier to port,” or “there’s frame-rate issues on this console.” That stuff is meaningless because the fact of the matter is this game is immersive, fun and well worth the price tag for the content you get. If I had one area of opportunity for the game? There’s so much content that I will probably never 100% it. Then again, is that really a complaint?

Then there’s Gwent. Gwent is not only a mini-game, it’s a phenomenon. Gwent is a card game built into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that is addictive; really addictive. As a matter of fact, in leiu of spoilers, just play the game. It’s easy to find and right in line with the main missions so there is no way to miss it.

Speaking of content, did I mention the free DLC? While there will be paid expansions for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, content has been also just given away starting a mere days after launch. In addition just about any and all feedback given by fans have been addressed via game patches.

CD ProjektRed cares about gamers and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt could not be a better love letter to fans. Go buy it….now.

9/10

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