Let’s start with the elephant in the room, graphics, and more specifically the downgrade of the PC graphics to accommodate the console gamers terrible machines. At least that is what I believe because, despite the game looking little like the in-game footage from two years ago the devs, CD Project Red haven’t actually said they did anything. Two years ago the game looked incredible, not that it looks bad now, it’s just that it looked better then. I suppose that will teach me to get caught up in the hype, you think I would be a little wiser by now, but at 41 years old I am still just as excited about a new game coming out as I was as a kid.
The graphics are not as good as they were but they are still very good, the world is rich and it feels alive, the characters are believable and despite some odd dialogue every once in a while it’s a pleasure to wander the streets talking to strangers or maybe the odd bandit or two before you gut them like the foul pigs they are.
it’s not as open world as it was purported to be either, it’s more like Dragon Age where you travel to specific areas via a map screen rather than a true free roamer like Skyrim et al. It works really well and in my opinion didn’t take anything away from the Dragon Age series, if anything it improves on it in the scale of the areas you explore. The game world is probably too large to for you to have a true open world game and reducing the size to fit into a single game would remove the continuity from the previous Witcher games.
So you take on the role of Geralt again, he is a Witcher, lover and the Butlins Minehead hide and seek champion for the last two years running. He loves horses and long walks in the country and you will too because I know I said it’s not as pretty as it could have been but they are still pretty, the world is rich and alive and simply walking along a forest path is a real treat for the eyes, I can only dream of how it would have looked if this was to be PC only.
One more negative before I tell you how great this game is. The controls. They feel weird, I’ll leave it there because it’s not a game breaker but they could have done better.
If you have read any of my other reviews I really try to make a point of not spoiling any of the plots, I think the money games cost nowadays you should be able to enjoy them as you would a movie, with new eyes enjoying every plot twist and turn. However, I do have to review the game so I think it would be fair to explain the premise of the story.
You’re a Witcher, a kind of monster hunter who lives on the road travelling from place to place and earning your coin by taking jobs from villagers plagued by various types of fantasy creatures. That we knew from the previous games in the series.
However this plot I’m trying not to spoil involves the fearsome Empire of Nilfgaard who are ravaging through the northern kingdoms, when a dark force that makes the powerful cover is about to be let loose, The Wild Hunt, ghastly spectral riders who are leaving the world in chaos, who will bring peace to the land, who will bring more misery and pain?
Overall the game world feels alive, the inhabitants are intelligent, it’s a dynamic living and breathing world and as you travel around you will see many non-scripted events, predators hunting prey, villagers defending themselves and lovers in midnight trysts will have you believing that when you go elsewhere these people carry on living. The economy is working well too and the price you will pay or sell your goods for all depends on local conditions so varies a great deal throughout the world and you will find yourself hunting down expensive items in specific areas.
You don’t need to have played the previous games to enjoy yourself either, it will help with lore, familiarity with the characters etc but there is a tutorial that will get you into the game and whilst the combat seems very simplified the RPG elements are really the heart of the game.
The voice acting is fantastic, as I previously mentioned there are some odd dialogue choices but there is far more good than bad and coupled with the character animation means you can feel really immersed in the game world.
Overall then I would definitely recommend buying the game. With a caveat, this is not Skyrim, it’s not Dragon Age, it’s not really something in between but if you can forgive the odd control issue then you will really enjoy this game.