As much as I love Bethesda, it pleases me to announce that The Witcher 3 is actually leading Game of the Year nominations. The Witcher 3 is the most expansive Witcher game to date, and was also announced by developer CD PROJEKT RED that it will be the final Witcher installment from them.
In my honest opinion, CD PROJEKT RED deserves to win Game of the Year for The Witcher 3, based on a lot of factors. Graphics, game engine, fluidity of gameplay, scale, how open the world itself it, inventory management system, travel systems, weather systems, and a large variety of others. One thing the deserve to win for, above all else, is their policy for DLC.
CD PROJECKT RED, in every copy of The Witcher 3, put a little piece of paper that basically states, “Thank you for buying our game. Because you spent your hard earned money on our game, and because you trusted us with making it good, here are 16 free DLC packs for you.” And those DLC’s are free for every copy, even the used ones. CD PROJEKT RED openly stated that they believe Expansion Packs should be paid for, based on the fact that most true expansion packs could be considered stand-alone games based on the size of them, but all DLC should be free, and that goes for all games.
They don’t believe in micro-transactions, or making people pay for a single quest, or an alternate outfit. Things like that should be free as a gift to the players for spending the time and money on their game. This philosophy alone should earn The Witcher 3 Game of the Year. It’s a philosophy that could single handedly put the game industry back to where it should be, an even balance between the Devs and the Gamers.
Now to be fair, this review is coming a little late. I played The Witcher 3 earlier this year, but on borrowed time. Now that I own it, I took my time to get more familiar with it before doing this review.
The Witcher 3 is one of those games that, for some people, will feel like Dark Souls. While there is a tutorial, the enemies can surround you easily. If you don’t learn how to dodge and roll effectively, or learn and utilize the weaknesses of the different enemies, you will have a very tough time finding much fun in this game. That being said, combat on one group of level 4 wolves can be easy, then 50 feet away, while you’re sitting pretty at level 6, there is a level 16 enemy. Now if you are really good, you might be able to take them out, but don’t bet on it. One poison attack from 10 levels above you, is enough to drain all your health faster than you can recover it.
In The Witcher 3, pay attention to the level recommendation for quests. That alone will tell you if you can even attempt to take on the enemies. That recommendation is actually very helpful, however, some of them recommend higher levels and can be taken on at lower ones, those quests will be green in the recommended level, whereas the ones that will be considered too hard, are labeled in red.
As a “Pro Tip” if there is a werewolf involved in the quest, even if you are 3 levels above the recommended quest level, do NOT take on the werewolf until you have progressed far enough into the story to learn about the oil you need to coat your blade with. Werewolves have regenerative abilities, that will heal them far faster than you can deal damage. The oil prevents them from regenerating health.
The Witcher 3, overall, has been a very satisfying experience, and I’m only 10 hours in. I know next to nothing about why The Wild Hunt is there, other than who they are after. When you level up, spend 3 points (one per level) in Axii. This will allow you alternate conversation paths with people who have a higher mental resistance and help you avoid tough fights, save you money and get you more information. That, of course, is just a recommendation, as the leveling system allows you to build our Witcher however you want to. This is a game that doesn’t have the issue of scaling enemies, as they have their levels and abilities, and you have yours and your gear. If you think you’re hard enough to take on higher enemies, then you have the opportunity to step up and prove it, or you can play it safe.
Not only do you have true freedom in The Witcher 3, but the story, the writing and direction, voice acting, all of this is phenomenal and some of the best in gaming to date. The weather effects, especially the wind and how it interacts with the environment around you is astoundingly detailed. My favorite moment in all of The Witcher 3 so far, is standing in a field with the wind blowing on a semi-clear evening at sunset, because the colors of the landscape and sky with the breeze rolling through the trees and across the field, it makes you feel as if you are really there.
The Witcher 3 is definitely worth your time and money. So far, my only complaint is the fact that it has long load times, but that’s to be expected in a game with the scale of The Witcher 3. Also, save frequently.