Witcher 3: The RPG I would have made if I made RPGs
I’m a D&D geek from way back and I usually preferred to play Dungeon Master for two reasons: I like to be in control and I love the story more than anything. Sure I wanted to crawl the catacombs, grab piles of loot, and upgrade my gear (Dull Butter Knife of Smiting +2!). But, most of all I wanted to experience a clever and satisfying plot. On Xbox, I’m the guy who doesn’t skip cutscenes.
That’s probably why I love the Witcher games, and Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is no exception. Geralt is back as scarred and dangerous as ever, along with a cast of great characters (returning and new). The basic storyline has you hunting across the open world for your “daughter” Ciri. That story arc is pretty intriguing, pulling in many of the oddball friends, old flames, and political ties that made Witcher 2 so rich. But along the way you get to dabble in the big wide world that the makers of Wild Hunt put so freaking much depth into: hunting monsters for cash, playing a card game that takes me back to my Magic The Gathering days, and beating up emotionally unstable guys who keep challenging you to duel.
The gameplay is solid, combat is easy to grasp but offers a real challenge on higher difficulty. I played the first half of the game on “normal” and it was pretty low pressure. Mighty beasts fell to my blades with nary a potion consumed. When I upped it to the 3rd level, things got more interesting and I was forced to actually pay attention to signs, oils, and decoctions.
What really sets the Witcher games apart is their willingness to get dark and weird. In just the first half of the game my Geralt encountered a cross dressing elf, a patricide, rampant spousal abuse, suicide, twisted love triangles, the eating of children, racists everywhere, and of course a freaky gross monster fetus. The dialogue is even better, with dripping sarcasm between almost every character, and barely masked references to pop culture in the real world that had me spit-taking my Redanian Red.
Bottom line, Witcher isn’t the greatest game of all time (see Mass Effect), but it is one of the few games that this cheap-as-dirt gamer will always pay full price for. Like almost every lady in Wild Hunt, I just can’t keep my hands off Geralt of Rivia.
The first of hopefully many guest reviews from Matt Meuleners. He is a geek through and through. You can find him on Xbox, reading fantasy novels, reading his favorite Sandman comic, or wearing his Star Trek uniform around town. Find him on twitter at: FOCUS_geek or on his Facebook group: GeekRunsDeep.