Geralt returns for his third adventure in the series. This time he’s looking for his ward Ciriana who is being chased by “The Wild Hunt,” a group of vicious monsters who take no prisoners. He’s set off on a quest with his Witcher companion to find Yennifer – the one person who may know where Ciri may have gone. Geralt soon discovers that Cirilla isn’t one to be easily tracked, and to find her… he’ll have to get his hands in a world full of unsavory individuals.

Liked

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Head Chop

Out of this world visuals – There are people screaming about downgrades and what not, but I can’t help but consistently stop and look out at the glorious sunset. I don’t think I have ever seen a better weather system in a game. The wind howls and whips through the grass, bushes, and trees at ridiculous speeds. The rain can sprinkle, drizzle, or drench Geralt and his surroundings leaving wide puddles along the road.

The time of day changes the shadows and the lighting, and the simple addition of a flickering candle can add new details to a characters facial structure. It’s splendid and I think CDProjekt did a fantastic job selling this beautiful but cold hearted world.

Epic Storyline – Geralt has his own agenda in finding Ciri, but the world doesn’t revolve around what our Witcher is doing. War is ripping up the landscape and the civilians are suffering the worst for it. Bandits are tearing apart the countryside and monsters are feasting on anyone they see. It’s a bleak world that doesn’t hold back in the least, if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones or any harsh media… this game will pull you right in.

Great Voice Talent – The voice cast is fantastic in The Witcher. They sell these tortured and crude characters as if they actually lived in this world. I’m not going to lie when Robert Baratheon… I mean the Baron told me his twisted little sob story… I felt for him. Even the random side characters have compelling and interesting tales to weave.

Detective Geralt – By now, you should know that I love all things detective in games. Inspector Geralt has a hint of Sherlock Holmes and Wolverine in his blood. He can track scents, analyze crime scenes, and gather clues that will lead him to his prey. Bravo to this feature, I absolutely adore it and hope a Batman game takes notes and expands on it one of these days.

Flexible Combat – Facing off against a combatant at the start of the game is slightly inflexible, as if Geralt doesn’t quite understand the fundamentals of basic sword combat. After gaining a few ability points and equipping better gear, you start to understand that fighting isn’t about mashing buttons to victory. You’ll have to learn to dodge with precision, cast signs appropriately, and single out enemies for a clean kill. These tense combat scenarios make for a difficult and satisfying fighting system.

Content, Content, Content – So much to do and so little time. The Witcher 3 gives us hundreds of quests and random locations to discover. If you like to run off and explore the vastness of an area, this is a game that placates that desire in full. It has a crafting system, a card game, a meaty talent tree, and various useful in-game collectibles. Not to mention it supposedly has 30+ endings to stumble around and discover. Yeah… good luck with that!

Nitpicks

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Beautiful The WItcher 3

Not for everybody – As I stated earlier, this is an incredibly bleak world in the vein of Game of Thrones. Every person in the world from the kings to the lowest peasant are figuratively assholes. This game also doesn’t cater well to women even if it has a playable female on certain levels. Let’s just say that men don’t have much respect for much of anything in this medieval world.

I mean they straight up call Geralt all sorts of mean things, I swear behind that ponytail I could see a man tear roll down his cheek. The Witcher 3 can be exceptionally gross with content like demon fetuses and bandits having open conversations about sexual assaults on young women.

Ballerina Geralt – Geralt? Why are you spinning around like an Ice Skater trying to when the Gold Medal at the Olympics? This acrobatic combat doesn’t work for a game about precise combat.

This stupid ass horse – Where the hell did he get this horse from? He runs into trees when called, and stops more irrationally than a drunk driver on St. Patrick ’s Day. When he’s called he runs into fences and opts to run around in front of you during combat situations. Someone take this animal to the hospital, he clearly has some kind of brain thing going on up in his noggin.

Shaky Legs – I know Geralt is old and all, but he really can’t jump more than 5 ft. without nearly breaking his legs? Really? This dude can fight dragons toe to toe, but a 10 foot jump takes half of his health? I’m just glad there isn’t a monster made out of stairs in the game, he’d definitely be the final boss battle. I’ve also never seen a man with abs like Geralt who is incapable of scaling a simple ledge, this dude must have twigs for legs.

Level restricted items – I can’t even explore like I wish to in this game because I’m restricted to items I can’t use until level 15+. I get that I can’t have all the abilities in the game, but if I defeat a level 18 monster by the skin of my teeth and loot a sword… I better be able to use the sword.

Slow experience gain – On the subject of level restricted items, this wouldn’t be a problem if leveling didn’t take 6 hours or more of questing per level. Give me one or the other but don’t hinder my gameplay with both item and leveling restrictions in an Open-World Action RPG.

Item weight – I can’t carry too many of these swords but I already have 15 in my non-existent bag. This is just a general RPG problem for me, if you’re not going to have a dude carry a bag but have a horse that appears mystically when you whistle… you’ve pretty much defeated any chance of realism.

Soul Glow – Hairworks is ultimately disappointing, the only a piece of hair in the front and tuft in the back blow lightly in the wind. Even when it blows it’s not like it was in Tomb Raider with the individual strands, it’s basically a bunch of hair pushed together slightly above the shoulder.

Weather updates – Why does Geralt feel the need to update me on a change in weather after it has already started? He could be drenched by a storm and he’ll say, “Looks like Rain.” Yes, Geralt, that’s what they call water that falls from the sky that’s obviously hitting you in the face.

Boring Soundtrack – The combat music is always the same, and the rest of the music is the typical orchestrated fluff that comes with a medieval title. It’s not bad but you probably won’t notice much of the music after the first ten hours.

Repetitious Civilian dialogue – Hey townies… why are you still saying the exact same stuff that you said when I started this game 40 hours ago? I really wish I didn’t have to keep hearing this lady talk about her husband’s peelings every damn time I enter this town.

Disliked

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So many bugs need squashing – As with most open world games, you’re bound to run into a few issues. The Witcher 3 adds itself to this collection with some downright infuriating bug issues. I’ve crashed simply putting on new clothing, watched a ride a horse underground, saw some floating horse tails, and got stuck under stairs. So far the auto-save has kept me from going into a rage, but it’s still something you’ll have to watch out for.

Conclusion

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Despite a ton of nitpicking, I’ve been playing The Witcher 3 for over 60 hours at the time of this review. The amount of detail that went into creating this world astounds me the more I explore it. I’ve spent a majority of my time hunting for treasure, snuffing out bandits and monsters, and helping out the various townsfolk. I had to make the tough choice of letting some kids suffer a horrendous death, or free some gross looking beast from his curse.

They were all orphans… was it really worth it to save them at the expense of releasing an unknown power? Unlike this tough choice inside the game, buying The Witcher 3 is an easy choice to make. If you’re looking for a tough action RPG with an intricate storyline and a detailed world, Geralt’s final trip is an absolute must play for fans and newcomers alike.