Yesterday, I cantered on my horse in a field of tall grain while a gentle breeze blew through my hair. Birds, once hidden within the high grassy field, launched skyward like a flock of starlings, each one silhouetted by the afternoon sun as trees in the distance swayed to the force of a sudden gale of wind. I dismounted my horse and approached an aged windmill that creaked at regular intervals as the rotor made its way around, then watched the regularity of the rotor’s turn and the shadows it produced upon the field where my horse stood, resting from the day’s long adventure. Rays of bright sunlight spilled through where wooden beams had fallen off from the rotor and I could almost feel the warmth of the sun as the rotor passed from my view, revealing golden sunlight that shined down upon me, unobstructed. In the distance, without warning, I could see a black stallion running through a field. It turned and stopped, then slowly approached another horse that followed it. Their faces almost met lovingly and then they ran off together, away from my view.
Why the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt eclipses others like it
I spent the first several hours playing the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with observations like these. I was spellbound by the realistic graphics and character design. The world is filled with unexpected details, nuance, and subtlety. Everywhere you turn, you can find something that catches your attention, causing you to detour from the main quest. The story is intriguing and the world is alive with characters that interact with each other with personality and dialog that is independent of the main story line. The Witcher 3 series is also full of history and lore that date back to the popular novels written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. I was so impressed by the world of the Witcher 3 that I began reading the novels after a single day of playing the open world adventure.
The Witcher 3 seems to dwarf other sandbox games by its epic scope and size. The narrative is vast and most of the side quests offer multi-layered story lines that often expose new layers to the main quest and unveil some of the rich history from the novels. Summarizing the plot would not give a story of this scope any justice.
The Witcher 3 is not easy in the beginning. Your fighting abilities are weak and your armor is mostly decorative, but you will slowly build strength and you will learn how to craft new weapons and armor that will be useful to you on the battle field. It is important to understand your limitations early on in the game and battles that you cannot win. You will find yourself quickly surrounded by packs of the varying creatures in this world and sometimes it is better to get the heck out of the away. It is also important to master the art of sword fighting during the tutorial at the beginning of the game. Blocking and parrying are essential to win a fight unharmed. If you find yourself running into battle just hacking and slashing, then you will wish that you had saved the game more frequently. There are some who complain about the fighting mechanics, but it is likely that they are trying to look for flaws in a mostly flawless game.
Still, like nearly every other game released for the newer consoles it has a few unfortunate glitches. The frame rate during gameplay and cutscenes is inconsistent, which is noticeable from the start of the game. Upon release, there were loading screen freezes that occurred when starting the game and when loading back to a previous saved state after your character dies. To add insult to injury, the game also had issues with automatically saving after major accomplishments, which would go unnoticed until you died; something that happens often enough early on in the adventure. Losing two hours of gameplay was not uncommon in the first week of playing The Witcher 3, an often infuriating experience that will surely cause many to moan and groan. These glitches have since been patched. Sadly, the game’s frame rate has been capped at 30 frames per second, which has upset many and for good reason. Regardless, once you start playing, you will be captivated by the lush graphics and optimal render distances, which would have certainly been affected if the game had been kept at the intended 60 frames per second. The trade-off is more than acceptable.
Despite the game’s flaws, The Witcher 3 is an amazing action adventure drama and one of the best video games ever made. The graphic realism and narrative’s depth is unparalleled by any video game before it. No doubt, you will find yourself enchanted, enthralled, and possibly enslaved by the massive open-world adventure. The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is pure video game poetry that will certainly be a contender for game of the year.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a reminder to all of us what the video game entertainment medium is capable of. The depth of the story is remarkable, the graphics are amazing and you will find yourself enchanted, enthralled, and possibly enslaved by this massive open-world adventure.