Replay: The Witcher 3

God damn it, I love the Witcher 3. Much like a high percentage of the gaming population, I’m a fan of The Witcher 3, and well by the series in general.

I can’t lie and say I read all the books, and I know it’s basically a crime to say that you enjoy the Netflix series, after series 2 came out in December. But to hell with it. I really like it!

In August 2020 I wrote about my Switch/PC playthrough and in true Ninja Refinery form, proceeded to play a whole host of other games and not really progress much further. Well, being spurred-on by series 2 of The Witcher, I got back to it!

Witcher
 

Witcher 3 in 2022

Question number one, with those rose-tinted glasses firmly removed. Is The Witcher 3 actually any good in 2022? Does it hold up adequately?

Hell yes it does. Ok, the movement and combat would likely have been refined if this had been re-mastered or something. Hitboxes tightened-up a little, Roach perhaps being less cumbersome. But besides that, on both the PC and the Switch, it just bloody works.

Released in 2015, you could argue it would be bordering on “old” and considered last gen by every standard there is. But because the art style wasn’t focused on being totally realistic, it’s standing the test of time nicely.

Animations are decent still, voice acting is stellar still and it looks bloody amazing in 1080p at 60 frames per second.

The Witcher 3 is as good, if not better now than it was when I finished my first playthrough in 2016.

 

Why is it good?

This is a question I’ve been trying to answer for a long long time at this point. What makes The Witcher 3 a good, nay, excellent game?

Honestly, all I can think of is that it’s a sum of it’s parts.

Voice acting is stellar. The NPC’s, the key characters, the narrator. Everything here is delivered with the tone to fit the situation. The content of some of the story can be heavy, and it’s treated with the utmost care and affection. I can’t think of another game that has such brilliant voice acting, especially for a game of this size and scope.

The Witcher 3 protagonist, Geralt, is a man of few words, and Witchers in general don’t really “do” emotion. But the choices you make with Geralt, and the weight of the world on his shoulders, comes through. Thanks again to voice acting, but also to writing that elevates some things that could be quite mundane or poorly approached.

I’ll never get over the sunlight between trees as I’m riding on horseback across a map. The Witcher 3 delivers this with such glory, it always makes me stop to get a picture or to drink it all in.

The world also feels fleshed-out, it feels lived-in and real. Everywhere you go are marks of people or creatures that have lived and/or died there. Notes, trinkets, associated quests. You’re never away from the world, even if you’re out there Witchering all on your own.

Finally, of the top-level “best bits” (there’s so much, I could go through), the amount of stuff to do and the perfectly balanced quest levels. You’re never level-gated for the sake of grinding. Sure, you get some quests that are too hard, but it’s not to force you to do side content and falsely pump-up your hours played.

The world is chock-full of things to do. All meaningful. Being a Witcher, you need to take on contracts and there’s so much Monster Hunter in that element, I love that in a big way. Places of power, quests to help local villages. Damn, it has it all!

 

The stuff I never did

More allure to The Witcher 3 is the fact that I know I only did a small fraction of what’s there. That, and I have the two full expansions to play for the first time.

I’m making new choices (which is really hard!!), I’m taking on more stuff that I would have ignored previously, and I’m essentially playing a new game.

The Witcher 3 is so full of meaningful “stuff to do” that I’m just basking in the joy of being a part of it all again. Upsetting people I wanted to befriend before has been tough, but it’s tough because these people feel real!

I got a good ending last time, but there’s possibly a better ending? Is Ciri being a Witcher with Geralt the best of is her being a Princess better? I don’t know, but I want to see how it goes down.

I’m working on a different kind of build, I’m looking at new armour sets. Honestly, I could put another hundred hours into it then start again, and have an entirely different experience. I don’t know that there are to many games even now, that are that impactful and flexible.

 

Onwards!

As it stands, I mostly play The Witcher 3 (minus a pending throwdown…..), I’m playing on stream, I’m playing on the toilet and in bed thanks to the Switch version and the cross-platform saves.

The world of Geralt has pulled me back in, and I’m committed to taking in as much more as I can.

With a week off coming up, away from my PC. I’m going to be able to pick up my Switch on a quiet evening and just continue my journey. It’s 2022 and playing The Witcher 3 is arguably at it’s best right now.

With pending patches for 4k visuals and other changes coming in from CD Projekt Red in the future. Now is the time to become if fan if you haven’t already.

Ignore the fanboys on Reddit moaning about the TV series. Everyone is unanimous in their praise for the Witcher 3, and rightly so. Get stuck-in!

Hopefully I’ll keep with it and see the DLC stories through, too.

Anyone for a game of Gwent?

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