My First Few Hours with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
TL;DR Buy it.
I asked a good friend of mine recently if I should check out The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and, knowing my huge adversity to overwhelming RPGs like Skyrim, he said I should probably steer clear. Ever the rebel, I bought it anyway. After playing a few hours, I’m both impressed and hooked.
I soared through the tutorial, which was surprisingly short and very intuitive, after watching a cutscene. The story opener was beautifully rendered and provided ample explanation for the world, but I can already tell it’ll be tough to follow every tiny detail without having read the novels. Still, the setting is vast, gorgeous, and populated with truly interesting characters.
Just after the tutorial, I pushed forward with a few story missions that introduced me to the structure of the game, and I played a few matches of Gwent, a card game that various NPCs enjoy. Once turned loose into the world, I wandered about in search of side missions. They ranged from comically easy (an old lady needed me to search for her frying pan, taken by a mysterious man, so I walked into his house, found the man dead, and returned the lady’s pan) to dull fetch experience (I had to kill a few monsters and find a box for a merchant) to well-structured and legitimately fun (I searched an abandoned town for clues about a ghost haunting a well, then drew the spirit out and destroyed it). Just those three missions took me an hour or so to play through, and they did a fantastic job of teaching me the game’s systems–I prepared a potion to help me expel the ghost and learned how to exploit it’s weaknesses.
I returned to the story by searching for a griffin that was terrorizing a village. Fighting the monster was a highlight; it behaved believably (as much as a griffin in a fantasy computer game can, I suppose) and provided plenty of challenge.
The Witcher: Wild Hunt is showing tons of promise so far. As a huge fan of side missions and realized worlds, it’s a satisfying experience that I expect will only get better. My advice so far is to buy it and experience the wonder for yourself.