Where do I sleep? Does a Witcher sleep? Do I even want to sleep? I, Geralt of Rivia, was sitting on horseback watching the sun set over dangerous and unfamiliar territory wondering what the best course of action would be. Was it time to quick travel back to town or make a camp?
Meditation. Mhm. I decide to stay by the side of this little road and meditate for 4 hours until sunrise and whilst Geralt meditates, I brood. I haven’t played much of The Witcher or The Witcher 2. Although I know the plotline, I have not played through the experience, but it hasn’t mattered. I am drawn in by a story and a universe so perfectly rendered that I sometimes forget it is a game and not an epic fantasy novel. There is no bigger praise I could bestow on a game than this.
The main quest is a plotline, the side quests are branches of the same tree, not make work. I do not have to suspend belief, I do not have to buy into a game genre or way of playing. Games often feel like modern Lego building of creating front facing façades with nothing behind them, but this is a miniature world down to the finest detail.
Wild Hunt is a game that comes with a reputation to uphold and the glowing critic and player reviews that have been written recently attest the fact that CD Projekt Red have generally exceeded expectations.
There have been a few grumbles, particularly around game stability, I have experienced a game-crashing bug whilst playing Gwent and a friend has lost a few hours of gameplay (you should manually save, friend!) due to a game-crashing bug, both of us playing on PS4. Patch 1.03 is now live correcting many bugs, “Improves stability in gameplay and the UI, especially during games of Gwent.” Great news, I do enjoy a game of Gwent.
I should wait until the end of the review to say this or at least until I actually finish playing, but I don’t think either will change my mind. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is exquisitely made. Don’t miss it. Don’t put off playing it.
I have loved every minute so far and although I still have a long way to go, the first few hours of Wild Hunt not only exceeding my expectations, but have eclipsed RPG’s and MMO’s alike already in that time. It is a game that shows that games can be just as good as books for storytelling and in some ways, even better. That is one of the highest compliments I can give.
About CD Projekt Red
CD Projekt Red was established in 2002 in Poland and employs over 300 “game-making professionals from all over the globe”. It is a company with an amazing history that is proud of its positive work environment and the games that they make.
Environmental and social responsibility
CD Projekt Red prides itself on creating a family like work atmosphere, where employees are valued, work flexible hours and there is no corporate divide or artificial class system – everyone works together. Read more about the company and how they work on their website.
RRP £30.65 – £139.99 (collector’s edition)
Yes, without a doubt. The cost is set at the standard retail price at £30-40 for the standard edition depending on platform. It is packed with content and is taking players between 25-100+ hours to complete.
Polygon wrote an article about its length, noting how difficult it is to put a number of the hours it will take to play because it has so many branching side-quests and some players prefer a leisurely pace whilst others race ahead, skipping dialogue and cut scenes. Regardless, of the length, it is a critically acclaimed, in-depth title with a rich narrative that makes it a very good deal even on day of release at the top price point.
Included in the box
This varies depending on the edition purchased.
Players: Single Player
Full controller support
Language (interface, full audio and subtitles): English, French, German, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese-Brazil, Russian,
Language (interface and subtitles): Italian, German, Spanish, Arabic, Czech, Hungarian, Korean, Traditional Chinese
PEGI 18/ESRB M (Mature)
Platform: PC (Windows/Steam), PS4, Xbox One
The target audience are adults who enjoy fantasy role-playing games. It has graphic violence, mature themes and plots the life of a monster hunting adventurer.
I hope less experienced players are not put off by it’s legacy as I think it is a title as suited for newcomers as it is for seasoned players. It has a strong plot line and the option to play on a mode that emphasizes plot and makes combat easier, but at its more difficult levels, combat becomes an art in and of itself.
Ease of use
It is easy to download or install from disc, easy to access and with an extensive tutorial and multiple difficulty levels, it does its best to match the player instead of players have to meet certain requirements to match the game. There is a detailed options menu accessible through the menu, including when the game is on pause as well as an encyclopedia that can be consulted for information and advice.
System Requirements (PC)
OS: 64-bit Windows 7 or 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1)
Processor: Intel CPU Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz / AMD CPU Phenom II X4 940 (minimum), Intel CPU Core i7 3770 3.4 GHz / AMD CPU AMD FX-8350 4 GHz (recommended)
Memory: 6 GB RAM (minimum), 8 GB RAM (recommended)
Graphics: Nvidia GPU GeForce GTX 660 / AMD GPU Radeon HD 7870 (minimum), Nvidia GPU GeForce GTX 770 / AMD GPU Radeon R9 290 (recommended)
Hard Drive: 35 GB available space
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is accessible to those with a mild to moderate visual impairment or who experience visual symptoms like blurred vision and eye fatigue.
The text size is standard, the font clear and easy to read and except for subtitles, always against a high contrast background. Interactive elements are highlighted and very clear when using the enhanced Witcher sense. The text size is on the small side, the HUD Size is adjustable but even at the largest scale, the text remains relatively small.
Colour is used as the only indicator in health and other bars that are red/orange/yellow and drain against a black background which may be an issue for some colour blind players.
There are some quick white flashes between some scenes, but they should not be a problem for those with photophobia as they are predictable and not part of the game. The game mechanics have some nuanced visual effects, but there is no flicker or repeated flash that I have come across yet that forms a part of the game or its combat mechanics.
Subtitles are available in 14 different languages that are well-timed, indicate the speaker and can be turned on or off. I had no difficulty playing without sound and I did not feel that the audio cues or sounds were vital to game play. Visual cues and information is clear and detailed and I enjoyed playing it as much without sound.
There are four volume sliders – master, music, effects, voice, allowing sound to be tailored for those with a hearing impairment. I usually play with the dialogue turned up at full level, sound effects at 50% and the music soft in the background or off and it has served me well so far in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Input and touch
It is as accessible as a combat-based RPG can be to someone with any hand or arm issues that affect timing, accuracy and precision. Some accuracy and timing is required.
Players cannot bypass difficult situations, but it possible to level up on easier side quests and then return or to lower the difficulty setting.
There is no button mashing or QTE’s, combat is precise and deliberate. Both accuracy and timing decreases in importance on easier settings and on the easiest setting, combat is just a few button presses and all timed elements, like blocking in time, becomes less crucial.
Autosave and manual save is active. It is possible to pause at any time, except during cutscenes and load screens. It is a great choice for those who experience fatigue and need to rest their hands or who prefer playing in short sessions, just as it is a great choice for anyone who wants to throw themselves into it. Remember to save manually either way.
Button remapping is not available for PS4, but 5 different layouts are available. The buttons are well laid out and I was neither over reaching or mashing. It is mostly tapping, some holding and control with the analog sticks to move and play.
Motion sickness and balance disorders
It is accessible to anyone with motion sickness or balance disorders that causes dizziness in association with movement.
It is played from a third person perspective, but it is a simulated world with simulated walking and quite a bit of horseback riding. Quick travel points are easy to located and use, removing much of the need to gallop through the world, but I would recommend playing in shorter sessions for the very sensitive.
There is a visual distortion effect with the Witcher sense that made me experience motion sickness, however it is subtle and only happened when I made use of the Witcher sense repeatedly or extensively and once I stopped overindulging in my use of magic, I had no further issues.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a complex and complicated game. There is extensive reading, some math with an in-depth currency system, a large inventory to manage, many side-quests and story lines, intelligent combat, alchemy to learn and use and prices even differ depending on the seller.
For savvy and experienced users, dig in! It possible to bypass tutorials, set it to insane difficulty levels, turn off all options that assist in combat and create a very challenging experience.
It is also possible to negate many of the challenges by adjusting the options in-game. Easier settings are more forgiving, there is an extensive tutorial and plenty of help through the menu system.
Navigation can be done with a breadcrumb trail to follow, side-quests can be ignored and it is possible to customize and set-up the game to make it interesting but easier to manage.
It is a single player RPG with a lot of NPC interaction, but very no other players to contend with.
Trigger warnings and age ratings
It has an adult age rating because extreme violence, including violence towards defenseless people is shown and strong language is used. I have not completed the game and cannot provide detailed information about specific instances at this point, but from what I have played, it is a brutal and unjust world, but a thoughtfully constructed one.
I have barely scratched the surface of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but what I have experienced so far has left me wanting to play every side-quest and I do feel as if I step into a world and not into a game as soon as I start playing. I had some technical difficulties the first few days after launch, but they seem to haven been resolved by patch 1.03. It is a game that has many accessible features built into the menu and game mechanics and I am finding it accessible and enjoyable to play.
Product: The Witcher 3:Wild Hunt | Developer: CD Projekt Red | Publisher: CD Projekt Red | Platform: PC (Windows), PS4, Xbox One | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | Release Date: 18 May 2015 |Content Rating: PEGI 18, ESRB M (Mature).
The review is based on the PS4 version kindly provided by CD Projekt Red.