The Witcher III: Wild Hunt (XBOX One) Review
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
Game Name: The Witcher III: Wild Hunt
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: CD Projekt
Release Date: 19 May 2015
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and XBOX One
Finally after streaming for 34 days, I was able to finish this game. I started streaming this game as I could never finish it. I never got further than the first 10 hours.
Streaming allowed me to complete the game and appreciate it for it what it is. It is not a game without flaws but it does not mean that it is not a great game.
The premise for this game is simple. You reprise the role of Geralt, Witcher of Rivia. You raise a young child by the name of Cirilla (aka Ciri). You take her under your wing and teach her everything that you know.
Years later, Geralt then speaks with his love interest and sorceress Yennefer. He advises that Emperer Emhyr has summoned Geralt. Once he arrives there he is asked to find Ciri. Then your journey takes shape.
Along your journey you learn that the Wild Hunt is after Ciri and the only way to save her is to defeat them.
The main storyline is in 2 parts. In Ciri's Footsteps and Act II are about finding Ciri. Act III is when you face the Wild Hunt.
The gameplay for the most part is pretty good. This is an action, RPG (Role Playing Game) similar to Assassin's Creed: Odyssey or Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. You start your journey with a Silver Sword (to fight monsters) and a Steel Sword (to fight humans and animals). You are also equipped with armour. You also have a trusty steed named Roach. You can increase your carrying capacity by upgrading his saddle.
Throughout your journey will will come across some manuscripts and diagrams for schema's to build unique swords and armour. You also have alchemy instructions on how to make certain potions. There are so many things that you can pick up on your way ,You never have to worry about having good equipment.
You can meditate to regenerate your energy or you can eat food that you pick up to regain your strength. Essentially if you are not fighting the meditation route is the best way to go. If you are in a fight and desperate for energy, you can eat your food.
You have certain signs that help you while you are fighting. The list can be found below.
Aard: This sign allows players to force enemies back by manipulating kinetic energy. Its alternate form is an area of effect blast of energy that pushes everyone around the player away. Excellent when you need some breathing room.
Igni: This sign allows the player to have a fire blast, however, upon upgrading its alternative form, the player can then shoot a continuous jet of flame from his hand. Ideal for handling giant monsters and groups of opponents.
Yrden: When employed it slows down all enemies that enter its range. Upon upgrading, the sign can cause damage.
Quen: This sign creates an active shield that disappears after a hit (or several when upgraded) its alternate form is a bubble shield that can be maintained as long as the player has vigor to spare.
Axii: You need to unlock this ability as you level up in the game Until then this sign only leaves enemies in a confused state while standing in place.
Like in the Fallout series, you can become over encumbered. This is resolved by having certain chests in the game that allow you to store your stash. The good part is that no matter where you are, the stash will always be available. This means that If you stash your stuff in Novigrad, it will also be available in Skellige. You have to look for green chests on your map.
The graphics still hold up great. There are times when you are riding during the sunrise or sunset and the land looks spectacular. There are other times where you see some clipping. In general though, the graphics hold up and there are not too many anomalies.
The control scheme is where I think this game shows its age. Although it is not horrible, there was a learning curve for me to know where the buttons were. There are some buttons where I was wondering why did they make that choice. In all fairness this game came out 4 years ago. Many games I believe have perfected the control scheme on a console. But there were still a few head scratchers. Why was the save button the Select button? The natural tendency is to press start for that. The Jump button was B and not A. Having started this play through from AC: Odyssey, it took me a while to get used to this.
All in all, the gameplay does hold up. Many people criticized the fighting mechanism. I think that for the most part it is fine. The controls can sometimes feel unresponsive. For example, you hit a button but it seems that nothing happens. I died a few times because of this.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (XBOX One) - Introduction Gameplay
When the game came out, people praised it as being one of the best games of 2015. Having played this outside of the game hype, I can honestly say that in this case, the critics were right.
As I have mentioned above this game is not perfect. I ran into quite a few bugs while playing.
Clipped through mountains while playing
I had issues with saving in some places. It seemed that the save was stuck. I had to reload the game.
The game crashed a few times.
However, it makes up for it with the story and the feel of the game.
The story for me is one of the most complete stories that I have ever played. It has a beginning which shows the purpose, a middle and a satisfying conclusion. What I mean by this is that, it does not feel like they are hinting to another game coming out. It feels like there is a legitimate end to this part of the series.
The graphics did show its age in some parts but it still looks better than may other games that came out this year. . When you are riding your horse and the sun is setting, I could have just done that for an hour. It just felt like I was riding my horse and helping people on the way. It indirectly encouraged me to complete some side quests.
The horse although helpful, was sometimes weird. You would call the horse and it would sometimes never come or take the longest way to get to Geralt. Even in AC: Odyssey this was not perfected but it was still better than in The Witcher III.
Sometimes I was wishing that Geralt could climb things better. Very often to get to a certain point, you need to go the longest route and it feels like a waste of time.
This game is massive and you can spend hours going all over the landscape to do side quests that can help you level up. But you never get that sense of complete freedom as missions have a recommended level in order to complete them. If you happen to forget one, it can fail the mission or you can do it later on. The problem with that is that if you are at a level 20 and you choose to go through and complete older missions at level 13 for example, the number of XP that you get back is not even worth the trouble. Sometimes I received 1 Experience Point for a mission that lasted me a half hour to an hour to complete. So it indirectly forces you to complete certain missions at certain times.
One of the strongest aspects of the game is the character development. No matter who you spoke with on your travels, they always felt like they were relevant and had their own stories to tell. From the Baron to the random guy in a village scared of a few monsters, they all feel real. The voice acting is pretty good as well. It makes the characters come alive.
Sometimes when you play some games, the side quests feel useless, here they feel useful. You always get some coin back for your troubles and sometimes you even get a good piece of equipment like a sword or armour.
I will admit that the game does start slow. It took me a while to hit my stride. However, when you start getting going, it is good and is more enjoyable. I think that it starts slow for a reason. It is more to show you the ropes in terms of the mechanics of the game. Once you get passed the first few hours, the game is much more enjoyable.
The Witcher III is a long game. I did not complete everything and it still took me about 100 hours to finish it. It is an investment but well worth it in my mind.
If you are a person that loves story driven games, then this will be right up your alley. You get to meet some interesting individuals. The story is engaging and keeps you wanting more. I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed. It is a game that can be flawed at times in terms of mechanics but that is overshadowed by the great story and cast.
What do you think? Was I on the money or did I miss the mark?