I was one of those who didn’t really pay The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt all that much attention when it first release in 2015. I initially wrote it off as yet another open-world game suffering from the same lack of depth as every other open world game at the time (and arguably since), but my friend convinced me to give it a try in 2017. I tried it, loved it, and promptly dropped it for something else. Now that The Witcher is back in the news (and all over YouTube), I decided to give it one more chance and see if I too could get drawn into the tale of Geralt of Rivia. In short, yes I could.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is going on five years old this year, and now that I’ve gotten properly immersed in it, I can’t help but wonder why nothing has come along to contend with it yet. The scale of the world has surely been beaten by now, but I haven’t seen anything match the sheer level of detail and storytelling depth on display here. Every location seems to have a story behind it, and even most minor characters have a distinct personality. I’ve had to be careful about side-quests, because they’ve been sucking me into tales almost as enthralling as the main one!
I actually find myself getting invested in the stories and characters involved. Geralt is the reluctant hero, constantly getting drawn-into one trouble or another while doing his best to search for Ciri (his adoptive daughter). More often than not, he’s asked to make decisions on matters that should be none of his concern, yet those involved are too afraid to do it themselves. He has his own moral code that can be influenced a bit by the player, but is still his own in the end. There are few (if any) un-Geralt-like decisions in the game. Characters like Yennefer are constantly under evaluation and even straight-up evil characters sometimes have understandable motivations. You want to see them pay for what they’ve done, but the warped logic is still plain to see.
I still don’t think the game is perfect. I feel like I spend too much time wandering around from place to place, and I think some of the main quest chapters could do with a few fewer steps. I also don’t like having to out of my way to craft the better items in the game, especially when I have no idea where to get the components. It’s more a nit-pick than a full-fledged complaint, but it’s there. Overall though, I’m glad I was able to make it back to The Witcher 3. It’s got a depth of story and character that I’d really love to see in more games in the future, though I fear I’m a bit spoiled now that I’ve seen it at this level.
Have you played The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt? Did you finish it? What’s your impression of it?
Lede image from Flickr user: Rob Obsidian (cc)