The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review Journal Day 5 – Devastating Choices


Day 5

I’ve nearly cracked 20 hours and it’s not hard for me to believe CD Projeckt Red’s claims that this can be a 200+ hour game.

What I’m Loving

The Witcher 2 had a underwhelming amount of monsters for a game about a monster hunter. Witcher 3 has responded in a major way, exposing me to more monsters and beasts in the first 15 hours than were in the entire previous game.

I’m loving the variety of monsters and the lore behind each one. I’m still encountering new monsters in the wild and that moment of realization upon seeing a new creature is slightly frightening and simultaneously very exciting. The first combat with any new type of monster is always the most difficult. You don’t have any information on the creature’s weaknesses or lore, so your tactics rely on best guesses rather than solid answers. This is keeping me on my feet, and stops combat from ever growing old.

What Concerns Me

"UPDATE FROM LAST JOURNAL: The visual effect when entering witcher sense no longer phases me, and I’ve encountered a few puzzles that required solving with my brain rather than Geralt’s supernatural abilities. I’m no longer concerned that the witcher sense will become a tiresome gimmick."

My new concern is in regards to The Witcher 3 and its saving system. It’s something that bothered me in The Witcher 2, and while it’s been improved, it still isn’t perfect. My issue arises when I die during a mission. It will send me back to a checkpoint, and that checkpoint is often the beginning of the cutscene preceding the encounter. Sure you can skip the cutscenes, but you have to skip each piece of dialogue separately. There’s no skipping of the scene entirely, and it even makes you replay cutscenes which involved split-second decisions on your part. It’s a nice mulligan if you don’t like the immediate consequences to your choice but it also serves to cheapen the decision overall when you get to choose again.

If you’re not dying very often this probably won’t be a nuisance, but after the second or third try, button mashing your way through a cutscene becomes tiresome.

As I improve in combat and gain access to better abilities this concern is less pronounced, and the fact that I’m complaining about skipping cutscenes shows how deep I have to dig to find issue with Wild Hunt.

What Shocked Me

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has the most human and relatable characters of any game I’ve ever played, that’s a strong statement but I stand by it. I actually care about the people I interact with, and CD Projekt Red has managed to do this with a perfect storm of mechanics, visuals, writing, voice-acting, and storytelling.

As I explore the war-torn world of The Witcher 3 I encounter people left to deal with the ramifications of war, poverty, and prejudice. As I talk to these people I discover they all have rational motivations, you won’t find mindless meat-bags here.

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A moment this really made itself known is when I stumbled across a roadside lynch mob.  They captured an enemy soldier fleeing from battle and were going to kill him in an attempt to gain some semblance of justice in their tattered lives. On one side was a young man conscripted into a war he didn’t want, on the other a group of civilians suffering under a war they couldn’t escape. I found myself in the middle of the dispute and was forced to take a side. As I cleaned the blood from my blade I didn’t feel good about the choice I made, but I wouldn’t have felt good about the other choice either. The Witcher 3 manages to make me empathetic towards everyone I meet, and thus it makes my choices even more meaningful and devastating.

I’m loving how human each character feels, and this constant empathy towards the people around me amplifies the storytelling and allows me to wholly buy into this world of magic and monsters.

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