Game Review – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an open world RPG set in a fictional world of monsters, questionable aristocrats and intrigue. The backstory to The Witcher lore is vast and full of interesting talking points, one of my favourite being its integration of Polish folklore and its place in The Witcher series, from Leshens and Ghouls to Wraiths and Botchlings – most of the monsters in The Witcher series are takes on Polish folklore, for instance, the Botchling is based on the Poroniec, a terrible demon spawned from the anguish of a stillborn child in Slavic mythology.

This sets the tone for The Witcher 3, the third game in the series and the product of a long line of successful books, 13 books in total. The world of The Witcher is a dark and groggy one, horse-trodden roads that lead in and out of war-torn ruins of castles, shrill cries of monsters at every bend in the road and a healthy human population to serve as nourishment for the creatures that live just moments away from their villages. Humans live in adjacency with the monsters that hunt them after a catastrophic event known as the Conjunction of the Spheres some 1,500 years before the novel’s timeline, which brought upon hordes of monsters to be trapped in the human dimension – thus creating the need for a Witcher.

You play as Geralt of Rivia, the butcher of Blaviken. A Witcher. Your initial purpose in the game is to find a woman, Yennefer, a sorceress who Geralt has grown close to but has lost recently. Geralt then finds Yennefer in a quaint province called White Orchard, she then takes you to the ruling lord, Emperor Emhyr var Emreis of the Nilfgaardian Empire, the most powerful Empire in the history of the known world and a stark enemy of the free people in the North, many belonging to ‘The Northern Realms’, this is relevant as the Nilfgaardian Empire are amidst an invasion on the North and war is common place in these lands. This Emperor tasks you with the objective of finding his daughter, Cirila, of which Geralt is also her unrelated guardian  – Witchers and Sorcerers are sterile. There is also a plethora of factions that have differing attitudes about Witchers, war and the treatment of races; of which there are many in The Witcher. A lot to take in, that’s for sure.

It doesn’t slow down anytime soon however. Whilst you wrap your head around the tales and twists that are brought on by this Nilfgaardian figure head, it is also your trade to hunt and kill monsters. It’s not a noble or driving duty by a Witcher, it’s purely for gain as they are travellers who have been given great power by the ‘Trials of the Grasses’ – an extensive gauntlet of pain-inducing, mettle-testing and agonizing tasks given to a Witcher when he becomes of age, most of the children die in the process. Witchers are treated with disdain among most of the population, seen as outcasts and freaks that kill for sport. They are painted with a blood thirsty brush and hold no place in their communities, unless something needs to be slaughtered.

As Geralt, you barter with the populace, collect bounties for monsters, collect trophies that you can adorn and show off, traverse the treachery of political gain and adversary, make your moral mark in taxing situations, get caught up in aristocratic rivalries between great Empires, explore the depth of the lore and hack and slash your way through monster nests, all whilst revealing the mysteries of the incredibly well written and detailed storyline offered to you. The action in The Witcher 3 is second to none, it’s exhilarating and fresh, every scenario you’re put in is immersive and more than not, bloody. This is however not it’s main focus, although the combat is well polished and fine-crafted, a lot of the intrigue comes in the form of it being a role-playing game that truly lets you play your role, many of the choices that come in the story are tailored to how you play, react and act. The game itself has 36 possible end game states, which are dictated by how you take on certain tasks.

In conclusion, I would concretely and with no wavering thoughts, absolutely endorse and recommend this game. Its incredible story, controls and immersion are second to none and it is easily my favourite RPG of all time – if not my favourite game. It has had massive acclaim around the world to no surprise and the producers of the game have been hailed as heroes in the gaming community for their incredible deliverance in its craftsmanship that is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

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