Azurephile gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Azurephile gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.

  • The Witcher (first game): Not so great, not really recommended

  • The Witcher 2: Good game kind of recommended

  • The Witcher 3: Strongly recommended, must play!
This summer, one of my friends mentioned that he was playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I knew the game was popular, but otherwise knew nothing else about it. I noticed that The Witcher series was on sale during Steam's Summer Sale. The entire series cost about as much as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, so basically it was as though I bought the third game at a discount and got the other two games for free.

I started out with the first game and I wasn't too greatly impressed. It was an ok game, although parts of it really got on my nerves. For instance, in one city at night you can hear a baby constantly crying. The game introduces you to the character Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher, who is basically a mutant that has special magical abilities and is pretty much a monster slayer for hire. He carries two swords, one is steel for humans and the other is silver for monsters or non-humans. Although a contract killer of monsters, Geralt finds himself hesitantly getting involved in local politics in an era that's most like our Middle Ages. Although I didn't really enjoy the first game, I did like the character of Geralt and knew I would continue playing the rest of the series.

During the time I spent playing the first game, my expectations grew, hoping, and even knowing that the second and third games had to be much better. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was definitely better than the first game. Before playing it, I took a break to play some other games and by the time I was ready for The Witcher 2, I pretty much wanted exactly what it gave me, a game that didn't require me to use my brain so much, and one that would tell me a story. I wasn't very disappointed.

Geralt returns in The Witcher 2, however he has amnesia and thus his memories begin to return as the story unfolds. The game starts out showing the assassination of a king who is being entertained on a ship. This CG movie was really good. This game was, to me, a great improvement over the first. It wasn't very difficult, likely because I selected an easy difficulty setting. The tutorial at the beginning is good, but it still leaves some things out, which I had to look up. In fact, there were only a few things I had to look up, mostly things that occur in the beginning. The first boss fight was the most difficult of the entire game and it took me a few tries and “Googling” to get it right. At that point, I was intimidated and tempted to give up playing, but I pressed on.

The game continues as another king is assassinated and Geralt is wrongly accused, thus he goes on in order to clear his name. He finds himself hesitantly in the midst of politics again. One of the interesting aspects of the game is that you get to make decisions in the game and they, presumably, change the outcome of events, though I can't attest without “investigation” whether this is entirely true. I liked that at points, I could choose whether to spare or take a life. I spared some lives, but not all. I enjoyed the story a bit and I kind of like how it turned out. I thought the second game was a great improvement on the first, I still found it to be an “ok” game. I still enjoyed the character of Geralt.

I just recently finished the second game and decided to start playing the third. This one contains a lot of DLC, the majority of which is free, although there is at least one that you can buy. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a grand improvement over the first and second games. While following the main quest, various side quests open up in which Geralt can take on monster killing contracts or help out other NPCs. That is what I'm doing right now in the game, exploring outside of the main quest.

One of the main differences, in the third game, is that Geralt rides a horse named “Roach.” I found the name to be humorous because one of the main characters in the second game is a man named “Roche” (pronounced just like “roach”). The graphics are great, although the sound volume seems to vary at times. One thing I love about these games is that they have performed exceptionally well on my PC without any obvious frame drops.

These games remind me of a few others. Some of the music in the second game sounds a lot like Oblivion. The third game reminds me a lot of Red Dead Redemption.

If you play the third game, I don't think it's essentially necessary to play the other two, although you won't notice the returning characters. Although there are new characters which were never even mentioned in the first two games. Still, I think the third game could be enjoyable even if you don't play the previous games of the series.

These games are based on a "book series" by Andrzej Sapkowski.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 10/11/2015 at 12:29am

I'm really enjoying The Witcher 3. It's very much better than the first two games in the series. However, I'm glad I played those because it makes me appreciate this one more. Plus, I recognize returning characters.

While nearly every DLC for the game is free, one is expected to be released in a couple of days, for a price. I have pre-ordered it. It seems yet another is coming after that. I didn't buy the Season Pass.

Also, a massive update (6+ gigs) was released for the game, fixing a lot of bugs. This was part of why I decided to start a new game. I also decided to play the side-quest card game, which I ignored my first time through.

There is plenty to do in this game, multiple quests and side-quests. I think it's fun and interesting and therefore highly recommend it.

jaelte wrote on 10/11/2015 at 07:20am

Man, I need to drag myself back to that game before Fallout 4 comes out and monopolizes my next 150-200 hours or so of gaming. I think I'm about a third of the way through it.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 10/11/2015 at 02:08pm

I'm not sure how far I got in the game. Steam says 61 hours, but I noticed my first few hours were reset after installing some DLC, so I've actually played a little more than that. I haven't finished the game and I'm not sure how far into I got. I never left Velen. I'm not sure what level I got, but I don't think I reached 20 yet. I can see how very easy it is to spend hundreds of hours in this game.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/11/2015 at 05:04pm

To date I haven't really been sucked in by a Witcher game. 2 was great graphics wise but I sort of walked away due to the complexity of the controls. Does 3 simplify that at all Greg?

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 10/11/2015 at 07:08pm

I thought the first game's controls were complex. It took me a little bit to get used to. The second was better. One way the third one simplifies things is that when you face an enemy, Geralt automatically draws the right weapon. However, other controls get more "complex." There are so many keys you can use. Tab brings up a quick menu with a radial dial so you can switch between items, especially ones that you use by clicking the mouse scroll wheel. You can also press space on this menu to meditate. Backspace brings up a larger menu with nearly everything in it, you can click on what you want to go through such as Alchemy, Character, Inventory, World Map, and Glossary. You can access Inventory with "I" and the World Map with "M." You can switch weapons with "1" and "2." So, I'd say the third has more complex controls, but I don't think that means an increase in difficulty with control usage. I'm not sure how this game makes use of the controller, but as popular (and great) as this game is across all platforms, I'd assume it does it quite well.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 10/11/2015 at 07:21pm

I think combat is rather simple, use the left mouse button to attack, however that's a "fast attack." To do a "strong attack," you need to hold the left Shift key along with the left mouse button, but I don't often attack this way unless someone has a shield. Signs are used with the "Q" key, you can switch between them using the mouse scroll wheel. One of the things you can use by clicking the moust scroll wheel is the crossbow, but you can use other items this way. Also, I think this game makes the signs more memorable and usable. There are other keys you can use for food (to regenerate vitality) such as "R," "F," and "T."

I would say don't pre-judge the third game based on the first two. The third one is so much better than those two. I did find the story in all of them to be interesting and I do like the characters and being able to make choices throughout the games.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 10/13/2015 at 09:47pm

Jaelte, have you played Gwent? I ignored it mostly at first, but now I've gotten into it. I like it, it's simple and fun. Did you get the new DLC? Did you get the Season Pass? There's apparently another DLC coming.

One of the things I learned in my second play through was that you can use your crossbow underwater. I'm not sure why the game didn't tell me that the first time. I was wondering if I could attack enemies under water. Thank goodness the game let me know, finally.

jaelte wrote on 10/20/2015 at 04:20am

GregoPeck, sorry I didn't see your questions until now. I've played quite a lot of Gwent. Unfortunately, I think I may have broken the Gwent quest line by advancing the main quest to a certain point at the wrong time. At least I haven't figured out how to get that one mob boss dude (former advisor to a king) to play a game with me in his current location.

Anyway, I don't have any of the DLC yet. I figured I'd worry about it later if I wanted to play more after I beat the game. I haven't had cause to fight under water yet, so thanks for the tip!

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 10/20/2015 at 05:44am

Cool, better late than never! Yeah, you probably advanced the quest involving Djkstra or chosen an option that doesn't allow you to play Gwent with him. I managed to play him, I think. I have his card, too. I really love Gwent. I have a collection, but not every card. I haven't played using any deck except the default, Northern Realms. I like it.

The DLC that just came out has quests with a suggested level of 32. I did two of those quests, actually. One involved a tax collector who decided I had to pay some taxes. He approached me while I was in Novigrad. I have plenty of money, so I decided to go ahead and pay the taxes that were due. Another involved a dwarf alchemist that was missing an apprentice. I ran into that one because I was looking for a White Gull recipe, but it turns out I had it and wasn't looking at the right place under Alchemy because it's an alcohol. I needed that for a sword upgrade, but then I don't have yet have the diagram for another piece I need. I haven't done all of the treasure hunts yet. I did run into a bug during one, though. A missing power cell didn't show up where it should have, so I ended up having to install a mod for the command console and give it to myself.

I haven't finished the main story line yet. It has progressed more than I expected. Meaning, the game didn't end when i thought it would, which pleases me. I usually stay away from the main story line and do side quests. There is absolutely so much to do in this game. I really love it!

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 10/20/2015 at 06:09pm

Speaking of Gwent, I just did the High Stakes quest and won the tournament! =) I got some new leader cards out of that. I doubt I'll collect all the cards. I haven't been playing every merchant or innkeeper nor have I looked to see if they have cards to buy.

jaelte wrote on 10/21/2015 at 04:46am

I was thinking about doing the High Stakes quest, but I decided that I don't have a good enough collection yet. I think my current best deck is a Scoia'tael one, but I'd like a few more cards before I'd consider it consistent enough to try that tournament.

jaelte wrote on 10/21/2015 at 04:50am

As far as the main quest goes, I still haven't left the first major area (with Baron, Dijkstra, King Whats-His-Name, etc.), but I think all the main quest lines are pointing me off to a new zone. I still have so many side quests to finish, though! I've only played ~50 or so hours, I think.

Azurephile   Super Member   Post Author wrote on 10/21/2015 at 06:14am

I don't remember when "High Stakes" became available, but I know it took me a long time before I decided to finally do it.

The first time I played, I didn't get make it out of Novigrad, either. I didn't want to finish the main story quest line too soon and you know the game provides plenty to do. When the latest (huge) patch came out, I decided to start over. I still hesitated to move on, but eventually I did.

I finally decided to pursue the main quest to the end and I just finished it tonight. I still didn't do every quest or explore every undiscovered ("?") area on the map. Steam says I played the game for about 150 hours, but I think I played 20-30 more as I noticed my counter was reset after installing some of the free DLC. It's a great game and it's very easy to spend a lot of hours playing it.

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