My Witcher sense is tingling!
The Witcher 3 is one of those games that got away from me last year. Distracted with the wastelands of Fallout 4, and the vast deserts of Metal Gear Solid V, the Witcher just wasn’t on my radar. Why do so many games I like insist on being released at the same time??
Now I find myself at a crossroads in my gaming life. I’ve hit my marker of 100,000 gamerscore, I’m still working my way through Zelda (slowly, but surely!) So what next? There are a whole host of games I could choose from…. but the Witcher goes in. Widely acclaimed as one of 2015’s BEST games, would this live up to the hype?
My first impressions weren’t great.
It’s partly my own fault, this is the first time I’ve played a Witcher game. I didn’t bother to read up on the lore or what happened in the previous adventures. The result was an introductory story that flew straight over my head, a naked man in a hot tub, a hundred tutorials and a world that was ripped apart before I’d even been acquainted with it!
Once I finally gained control of Geralt, the game’s protanganist, you’re taught combat. It seems like quite a nice system, a mashup between Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect. But there are so many powers available from the off, as well as two different swords for different types of enemies, you get confused and take damage quite easily. From that moment on, every time I tried to access a menu, face an enemy, even jump across a gap… the game would stop dead in it’s tracks, and I would have to press a button to acknowledge the help prompt.
This was a very frustrating start, and I contemplated turning the Xbox off and doing something else! But… I persevered. Inching my way through side missions, learning how to best tackle a crowd of Ghouls… Witcher can be quite charming at times, characters are well voiced and well animated, and the world the game is set in is beautiful. That being said, the game still kicks your arse if you’re not careful. I failed a side mission because I wasn’t fast enough and fell off a ledge to my death because I was too impatient about climbing down a large hill. Each enemy is a legitimate threat and must be taken down quickly with no hesitation!
Quite a lot on screen to keep track of too!
Gradually, once you learn to slow down and play by it’s rules, the Witcher 3 is a very rewarding game. You’ll find yourself devoting an entire evening to a sidequest, or frantically hunting for the last ingredient for a potion to give you a slight edge in an upcoming battle. The huge, open nature of this game can have you roaming and exploring to your heart’s content, and there’s never any real pressure to rush the story missions. As you gain experience, you can level up Geralt’s abilities and make him the hero you want him to be.
Overall, I’m really enjoying the Witcher 3. The World feels like such a big one, I’m likely to play this game on and off for several months. I’m still playing through the Legend of Zelda on the SNES, and the two games share a lot of similarites, despite the fact that one game is 24 years older than the other! So maybe I’ll have to space out my play time.