The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review Journal – Day 1


A challenging combat system focused on the hunting of creatures that required deliberate thought and preparation before an encounter sounded like a dream to me. Yet it took me 3 years to buy The Witcher 2, and then another year before I actually played it.

Patiently waiting near the bottom of my Steam library, The Witcher 2 knew it was only a matter of time before I ran out of things to play and resorted to sifting through my back-catalog of Steam sale purchases.

When I finished the game this February I was eager to play the next installment, and was giddy to know I only had to wait a few months.

The time has arrived, and as I dive into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt I’m bringing you with me as I mull over my thoughts and share my experiences as they happen.


After a substantial amount of well-needed exposition and hand-holding, I was finally on my own. Just me and my horse Roach… I miss the real Roach. The opening hours of The Witcher 3 are noticeably devoid of familiar faces from the last game, but it can’t say it’s a problem. I simply found myself yearning to see an effect my previous choices might have on Wild Hunt. I’ll shelve my anxieties and patiently wait for the story to grow since I’ve barely scratched the surface.


As I start trotting through the countryside I immediately notice that the environment feels much more alive. It’s a culmination of many factors, the biggest being the move to open-world. My biggest fear for The Witcher 3 is that this change, while seemingly an improvement, may serve to sap away the strong narrative direction the previous title had with its relatively linear design.

In my short time exploring that has proved to not be the case. CD Projekt Red are excellent storytellers, and their stories are waiting to be found in the wilderness.

I come across sunken treasure, then use the note to track down a cache of military goods. During all of this I instinctively grab every single plant that I pass, I know I’ll need them at some point, but with so many plants around I might have to tone down my obsessive flower picking. I haven’t even begun to unpack the alchemy/potion system of The Witcher 3; I’ll have that to explore over the next few hours.


The game is pushing me towards a fight with my first monster, the griffin, but I know I should prepare more. I’m playing on the “Broken Bones” difficulty, so I expect a tough fight. I begin by seeking out side-quests. I find a young lady in need of medicine and an old woman trying to recover a lost frying pan.

One the surface these quests seem generic and laughable, but following the direction of The Witcher 2, Wild Hunt’s side quests are just as thought-out and meaningful as the main story. The search for the pan reveals a case of deadly secrets, and my adventure to brew medicine teaches me more about the world around me. I love these sidequests and that’s definitely something that can’t be said for most RPGs.


In The Witcher 2 folks played dice poker. I truly loathed this game, and mourned the fact that you needed to win it for some sidequests. I hated its dependence on luck and felt downright cheated by the dice physics.

The Witcher 3 replaces dice with a collectible card game called “Gwent”. I skeptically accepted a challenge to play in the tavern and expected the worse. It made no sense to me the first go round, but I tried again after reading the rules and didn’t hate it (that’s a compliment).

I might actually enjoy my next game of it, and the idea of collecting cards from the people you beat is intriguing. It definitely has a strong Magic The Gathering vibe to it, but what modern CCG doesn’t?

Reception From Others

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In the very long marketing push leading up to Wild Hunt’s release, I steered clear of most gameplay previews, articles, and marketing videos. After The Witcher 2 I knew I would be buying the next game, and I didn’t need any convincing or hype. I didn’t want to develop any inflated expectations or get any preconceived notions from what I might see. That being said, from the bits of info that I’ve stumbled across it would seem the game is getting fairly unanimous praise.

What I find shocking is that for all the hubbub around the game, only one of my 53 Steam friends has bought The Witcher 3. This doesn’t account for purchases though so the number may be misleading, still I was expecting a tidal wave of purchases similar to when GTA V came to PC last month.

Next Up

My next challenge is to fully grasp all of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s systems. I’m sure this is a feat in itself, but shouldn’t prove too difficult coming off a recent Witcher 2 playthrough. I’ve already allocated two skill points into my light attack so I’ll begin seeing if that was a wise decision. I’ve also started to amass a large collection of alchemy ingredients so I can start tinkering with potions. These two factors will come in handy as I face the griffin, and collect my first trophy.

See you soon!

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