What I’m Playing: Witcher 3

Geralt and Ciri

And that is why I didn’t post anything for a while. This game is BIG. Maybe the biggest game I’ve played in my life. But we will come to that point later. Let’s talk about Geralt!

Quick summary for those who haven’t played or heard about the game: It is an action RPG game where you play as Geralt of Rivia, a witcher (in other words, a highly specialized work-for-hire monster killer), that is looking for his daughter-like apprentice Ciri. You get to play as Ciri as well, on some flashbacks, which is really cool.

How the gameplay looks like

This game is so big, that there is no way how to get into details, therefore I’ll just highlight some points that really impressed me. First of all, I haven’t played the prequels. Witcher 1 and Witcher 2, so I can’t compare how the game has improved from other versions.

Story

One side quest of this game has more story than some complete games. Well, that is not hard… But what I mean is that the people that created the game made such an incredible work with the peripheral story that you really want to do all the side quests and see the different outcomes. And all the decisions that you take can’t be classified as good and bad. Maybe there will be just bad results, but you will have to deal with it, like in the real world.

Universe

Distinct bestiary

The universe is amazing. And this comes from a person that doesn’t like medieval themes nor RPGs. Foglets, Wraiths, Botchlings and other beasts are a nice break from the traditional ogres, elves and trolls. Funny thing is that some of my friends that also don’t like medieval RPGs are enjoying the game, so if you fit into that description, Witcher 3 is a nice game to try. There is a lot of political stuff happening in the world as well, kings fighting for power, knights in outposts waiting for their orders and lots of normal citizen stories.

Content

This is just a small part of one region of the Witcher 3. You can see the full map here 

That is one of the most impressive things of the game. You are walking in this huge world, killing beasts and then you stumble on a tree and fall down the hill to an NPC and BAM! New quest available! Press R3 to track it. This is so cool in the start, but there is a point where you get tired of this. (Or maybe it’s just me). Nowadays I don’t have as much time to play as when I was a teenager and I want to see all the content that I’ve paid for (and get rid of all ? on the map, just because I’m an explorer type of player). I’m starting to think that maybe the AAA game developers are adding to much content to the game to justify the price to players, but in the end, players don’t necessarily play everything. Are we going to far on this? *thoughtful*

Controls

Well, this one gets a little bit complicated. Because there are a lot of features, they had to add a lot of different controls, and when you play at first it is really not intuitive. Even if you are playing for a while, some controls are really messy, for example, when you go diving:

  • You enter the water and use the left stick to swim in a direction.
  • You continue to use the right stick to look to a direction.
  • You can press and hold X to swim swiftly.
  • To go underwater you press and hold Square.
  • To return to surface you press and hold Circle.

So, imagine that you are underwater, almost out of breath (it can happen very often if you are attacked by Sirens or you went really deep to retrieve a treasure), and you want to return to surface quick.

You use the left stick to swim forward, the right stick to look up (and see what is ahead of you), hold the Circle, to return to surface and hold the X to go faster. Now imagine your fingers. It will be something like this:

controls
This is how I manage to surface fast, but my fingers hurt :/

If when you go to the surface, the camera automatically looks up, it would save one button to press and a lot of cramps. I hope they improve the controls on next versions.

Horse

Geralt’s horse name is Roach

One of the coolest innovations that I’ve seen in this game (well it might not be an innovation, it could just be that I haven’t seen it done before), is the fact that the horse can snap to the road and ride without you having to control direction all times. Sometimes it gets stuck on an obstacle, or it takes the wrong turn, but the feature is there. It is really good when you need to walk long distances and this way you can get to appreciate the stunning views of the game.

Ignite, Extinguish, Ignite, Extinguish

This is what I think it may have happened: some game designer must tought it would be nice to use your witcher powers to ignite candles and fires. Some level artist tought it was really cool too and used everywhere, but didn’t follow the boundings rules, so everytime you walk into a chest that has a candle on top of it, instead of enabling the chest interaction to open it, you light the candle. When you try again, you extinguish the candle. And you get frustrated because you need to do it 3x before finally opening the chest. It just taught me to always look into my game trigger boundaries. At one point I thought that there would be an achievement for lighting 1000 candles or something like that. Too bad there isn’t. At least would have been funny.

Fast Travel 

Fast travel signs

Another thing I disliked about the game is that to fast travel to a location, you need to find a fast travel sign near you. You can’t just open the map wherever you are and choose the fast travel location to go. It is really a bummer, especially when you are on the other side of the map and you walked quite a while to get to that cave and you have to walk all the way back, just because there isn’t a fast travel sign near.

Conclusion

Despite these little details, I’m really enjoying the game and hoping to get back to the main quest soon. I would recommend to anyone that likes a good story and explore big worlds.

Game : Witcher 3
Platforms: PC/Ps4/Xbox One
Developer : CD Projekt RED
Release year: 2015

 

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