Saturday, September 12, 2015

[Review] Witcher 3 Review

Oh man this is going to be the longest review ever I think. Or maybe the shortest, I don't know. We'll see I guess.

The Witcher 3 (hereby referred to as TW3, lovingly) was created by CDPR, which stands for CD Projekt Red. TW3 came out in 2015, and was awarded over 200 awards before the game's release. Well before the game's release, actually. CDPR really had a ball making the game I'm sure, and already a new expansion is set to come out for TW3.

What is "The Witcher" series?

The Witcher Series is a series of now, 3 games, that have been made by CDPR, I believe based off of books by a Polish author who invented the Witcher universe. The first Witcher game was... extremely good in the storytelling, but lacking in other areas. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was very much improved upon, but taking your save from TW1 and moving it to TW2 serves pretty much no purpose. TW2 was a much better game than TW1, and after I moved onto TW2 from playing TW1, it was... just such a relief that I didn't have to deal with weird camera angles and controls, I could just play a smooth RPG experience... but I digress.

The Witcher 2 was still in the same universe, just very much later in the timespan, I can't be assed to look up how long exactly. But TW2 was extremely good as well, but it was not open world like TW3.

The Witcher Series basically revolves around one Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, and he is called another nickname in TW3 as well, which is the only place I've heard it, which is "The Butcher of Blaviken" by some NPCs who know him in TW3. There are characters who are constants in the Witcher universe, such as King Radovid, Djikstra, Zoltan, Dandelion, Triss, and Yennefer, and many more. It's always a delight to see past characters. The games revolves around Geralt's adventures traveling through the regions, assisting people with monster issues. Because that's what a "Witcher" is. Witchers are basically mercenaries for hire to kill monsters, hunt bandits, whatever. They're always looking for some coin to live off of, and Geralt's original "beginnings" are in Kaer Morhen, a Witcher Stronghold way up north, away from any civilization.

Witchers are pretty much ostracized by the communities of the Witcher universe, and so are the other races such as Elves and Dwarves. But when someone needs a monster slain, everyone always looks for a Witcher, so, harharhar double standards harhar.

There's a TON more to the Witcher universe that I've just barely touched on here, but rest assured, you can read it all on the internet if you don't want to play the games, AND you can read the books, since they've been translated into English... I believe, anyway.

Moving on to TW3!

Alrighty, let's talk about the gameplay.

The gameplay is extremely well done, 100% in my opinion. 10/10, almost no flaws. There have been a couple bugs I encountered but non-gamebreaking and I'm pretty sure they've been fixed as well. The only thing that really bugs me is...

You can't get Gwent cards from other NPCs.

If you miss quests pertaining to Gwent cards, you have to start a new playthrough. Even with the New Game+ DLC that is out right now, there is no way to have your Gwent cards carry over, unfortunately. I missed out on a quest where you could beat Thaler to get a specific, extremely overpowered card, and if you don't do the sequence of events right, you do not get the card. You can get every other card in the game (provided RNGesus is kind with the random cards from the NPCs) but you can't get that card that you missed.

One gripe about this that I have is they put the Zoltan Chivay card on a merchant in the game, so I don't see why they couldn't have done that with the rest of the "missable" cards. Oh well.

But that's really my only gripe with the game so far, and I've beaten it twice now and am kind of burnt out on it. Unfortunately now I have to go through and beat the game again to experience the New Game+ mode, and I haven't gotten around to it unfortunately. (The link is the link to my Youtube, by the way)

But what about combat?

Combat is absolutely... well. There's differing opinions on the combat, from "It's just all 'click click click' and no difficulty!" to "Combat is AMAZING HOLY FUCKING SHIT MY EYES CAN'T TAKE THIS LEVEL OF AWESOME". I tend to go with the latter, but as you level up and out-level content, provided you're doing the content at the correct levels, you do tend to outlevel stuff later in the game to the point where you touch something and it dies. But, this is the good thing about New Game+, is that you can restart the game and have things at your level, so that's not too bad.

But... equipment?!

Ah, yes. Equipment. The equipment scales well with level as well as... well, you really only have a few stats to switch out, and most people go with a specific armor set for an easier time with the game, which is the Ursine Set, since it generates Adrenaline. Adrenaline assists you in combat by making your attacks hit harder when you chain them, and there's a...

Skill Tree(s)

Where you can max out a thing where you can use your Signs using Adrenaline. This is the most common skill tree used, as far as I can tell, as it lets you glide through the game fairly smoothly once you acquire it... at level 33ish. Which is extremely late for the armor set, but by the time you are able to get it, you have all the materials, or most of them, to make the Mastercrafted set, which gets you to max adrenaline extremely quickly. However the reason I put "Skill Tree(s)" is because most people specialize in one tree, because you have limited slots for your "skills" in the menu. There are 12 slots, and chances are you're going to have many more, but unless you're playing on Easy, you're going to need to have synergy with your skills to compliment each other.

Anyway, enough of putting different topics where they don't need to be. The skill trees in the game involve combat, potions, and signs. Those are the only 3 skill trees at the moment, and then there's another one that has various effects that you can put into your trees as well, and one of those is the skill to use Adrenaline for Signs.

Music!

The music for the game is fantastic, just absolutely awesome. It's better if not at least on par with the scores from Pillars of Eternity, in my opinion. The PoE music was fantastic and putting that into a 3rd person RPG game with even better music is just... wow. The team who did the music did extremely well. I highly recommend buying the OST if possible... I don't even know if an OST is out for the game.

Controls.

The controls for the game are fairly well done, and they patched the "feedback" of pressing the WASD (or using a controller) for walking Geralt around, so he starts moving more quickly. However, for those people who have gotten used to the "less feedback" of the game, you have an option to turn it off.

You also have a horse, named Roach, in the game. Roach's controls are the same, but it doesn't really seem like they patched the feedback for the horse, so it's still fairly slow to start moving, but Roach is the best way to get around besides...

Fast Travel!

Fast travel in TW3 is extremely well done, and I urge all other game developers to take a hint from CDPR and just make all fast travel like they've done in their game, if they are going to make an open world game. There are numerous fast travel points, and they are all strategically placed so you can't just teleport somewhere and turn in a quest. They make SENSE to be put where they are. This is of course barring teleports to cities and such.

Give me the Graphics!

The graphics and looks of the game are just beautiful. Everything is hand-crafted in the world. Sure, some of the huts and such may be "copy and paste" upon first inspection, but every interior of every home is different.

The effects on the weapons and armor as well as any engravings, fabric, etc are just extremely well done. This effect is multiplied tenfold if you're able to boost the graphics settings to high or ultra even. It's extremely, extremely well done, I really can't stress this enough. The art designers for the game did very, very well. The art team should be praised for their work, as well as the rest of the TW3 team in fact. Or just CDPR in general!

All in all, 9.9/10. I'd give the +.1 for at least carrying Gwent cards over through the NG+, but since they don't have it... welp.

Definitely go pick this game up whenever you have the spare money! Also apologies for no screenshots, I have a new Windows install (W10) so all my screenshots are gone.

Edit: Actually... Witcher 3 Screenshots I took over 2,000 screenshots of TW3 and forgot I used the Steam Overlay. Enjoy!















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