*Blink*…*blink*…”So…that’s it?” My wife turns to me as [Censored for Spoilers] and the credits roll. It is hard to believe. I’ve finally finished…well…there’s still more than 30 question mark locations and countless other side quests I have yet to get to…but I also have a job, wife, and responsibilities…so yeah…I’ve finished. I’m worried I’m too melancholy to write a good review right now. Much like finishing Persona 4 Golden, I feel like I’ve read a book that has sucked me in, and now the ride is over. I’ll go back and start again right after this review and make some changes to my choices, but as we all know…nothing beats the first time. The expectation, uncertainty, not quite knowing what to say, fumbling with inventory, and never knowing what will happen next…
And what a first time it’s been…
As expected, the environment is staggering. There’s so much going on I failed a quest an hour in. Apparently, I walked by someone trapped under a wagon and didn’t notice…oops.
The fantasy world created in CD Projekt RED’s game is unusual compared to most. As I stated in my review of The Witcher II: Assassin of Kings, the world is still gritty, monsters are still original, and dwarves…still dwarves.
Just think Legend of Zelda as told by George R. R. Martin where Link has cat eyes…and white hair…and a thing for sorceresses.
The graphics…amazing. Cut-scenes are edited marvelously, containing some of the best scripted sword fights and middle school unicorn romance fantasy I’ve seen. I mean, when they said this game has it all, they weren’t kidding. The only detail needed to make it more complete is chlamydia.
Unlike the previous game, I feel more connected to the characters. Well, two of the characters…the only two I’m not expecting to put a sword in my back as a consequence for any lack of attentiveness. In this game, political intrigue and vying for power step aside for the more human story of a father, Geralt, trying to find his daughter, Ciri. This is complicated by the fact that she can travel through dimensions…which explains how she gets into iPhones.
The best surprise, and real star of the show (and my wife is in agreement) is Yennefer. Her presence elevates almost every scene she is a part of. And while I’m not saying she is the dawn of a new age where video games portray compelling female leads that truly feel like real, possible people, she is a step in the right direction. After all, it’s not like most video games do any better with their male leads, but this was the first time a female character’s performance outshone the rest of the surrounding cast so dominantly.
Simply put, this environment is one of my favorite game worlds to experience.
If you like a challenge, put the difficulty one higher than you would expect. The start might be a little rough, but if you intend to do side quests and search for every piece of gear as each section of the map opens, you will be absurdly powerful. If you’re like me, however, set it on easy and bathe in the blood of your fallen foes every time you scratch your balls/boobs. While some of the diversions become monotonous, simple to-do lists that are the same no matter the location, many of the actual side missions have a surprising amount of diversity in their stories.
The fighting is one of my favorite combat mechanics to date. Dodging just out of range and then delivering a finishing blow feels amazing, not to mention looks phenomenal. The magic signs are just as fun, complement swordplay well, and you typically need both in order to win fights. Gameplay is great; however, swimming can cause some challenges and is one of the least enjoyable parts of the game.
And then there is Roach…
Roach is always with you…always. You could swim to the farthest island and he would be there. Climb a mountain…there he is. The largest cities? Yes. You will never get away from him…and you will want to get away from him. Oh, my child, you will want it more than anything in this fantasy world.
Roach is a horse. Your horse. Roach is also an asshole. Want to turn left? How about running into this wall instead? Did you call for him? He’s at the top of the ridge. You may have to walk around the entire mountain to get to him…but he looks so close on the map. Roach even went so far as to trap me against a sign post at the very end of the game, causing me to reload from a save. In order to avoid spoilers, I can’t tell you the horrors that transpired during the loading screen recap which assumed I had already seen the cutscene I was literally inches away from triggering. Yes…my horse is such a turd that he spoiled the ending for me. See below:
All other gameplay hiccups fade in comparison to Roach, the demon horse from hell.
I already want to go back for more. Because of the ambiguous nature of the choices, I’m left questioning several of my decisions…or non-decisions, one of which involves alcohol, a megascope, and three horny Witchers. If this was the only game I got in 2015, I’d still be very busy come next year. With free DLCs still rolling out, it feels like the opposite experience of any EA game in recent memory. The value you get with Wild Hunt is unmatched by other games I’ve seen this year. The fact that it is the same price as the likes of The Order at release boggles my mind.
If you enjoy RPGs. If you enjoy action. If you enjoy exploring. If you enjoy open worlds. If you enjoy digital STDs…this game is worth every penny.
This has been a very long review, so I’ll try to keep the conclusion short. If you are planning to spend $60 on a game, you can’t go wrong. You will have plenty of entertainment for months to follow. If it doesn’t last months, it’s a good indication you are spending way too much time gaming. Go outside…visit the doctor about your carpal tunnel syndrome.
This game is a novel…or TV show/movie series to binge. Treat it like one. On a rainy day, grab a blanket, hot chocolate (peppermint schnapps optional but recommended), and take your time. Get some snacks, caffeine, and make a night of it.
And as a last word of advice…summon the bitches…always summon the bitches.