If ever there was a game utterly deserving of a game of the year edition it is CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
This third outing for the titular Witcher, Geralt of Rivia- monster hunter for hire, is the most polished role-playing game that I’ve ever played. And I’ve played a few.
Based on the series of Witcher books by Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski, the three CD Projekt RED games serve as a sequel to the novels, continuing Geralt’s adventures in The Continent’s Northern Realms. Much of the games’ lore is drawn from Eastern European legends and myths. Intricately woven together to create a very real, lived in, game world.
Each of the Witcher games has broken new ground with The Witcher 3 reaching new heights of immersion and world-building. The world of The Witcher feels so real, you could really believe that the denizens continue with their lives once you’ve long switched the game off.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Game of the Year Edition includes the original release with all the free add-ons and updates, plus the two premium expansions, Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. That’s hundreds of hours of adventuring across the biggest open-world map that you’ve ever seen.
Apart from offering players all of the game’s great content in one package, the GOTY edition also allows players to embarks on their adventure with all the added menu improvements in place from the beginning. Whilst the menu system wasn’t bad back when the game was first release, the user interface has not been honed to perfection based on player feedback.
As Geralt, players have at their disposal a vast array of craftable potions and poisons with which to engage in their profession as a Witcher. Mutated from an early age, Witchers possess superhuman traits that include the limited control of magic, wielding fire from their fingertips and telekinetic abilities, among others. Heavy on lore and rich with ability and equipment upgrades, the The Witcher 3 has all the trappings of an epic fantasy role-playing game.
The main story follows Geralt as he searches for the whereabouts of his former ward, Siri, a young woman of immense power how is being pursued across time and space by a sinister band of wraiths known as The Wild hunt. During his journey, the rich lands of The Northern Realm offer Geralt plenty of opportunities to interact with many other characters via interesting a varied side-missions.
The story is top, but it’s the beautiful world that drew me in. From snow-topped mountains to misty bogs, from lush forests to vibrant vineyards, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt GOTY Edition invites us into the most finely-crafted game worlds ever made.
The countryside is amazingly detailed and you can easily get lost in its splendour as you ride through it on your trusty horse, Roach. The occasional run-in with bandits or intriguing ruin begging to be explored easily distracts you from your mission.
The scope of the game is so phenomenal that you really need to discipline not to find yourself side-tracked for a whole gaming session. As well as copious amounts of side missions, Geralt also gets to partake in his profession- monster hunting. The game is full of frightened villagers and concerned citizens waiting to employ your skills to dispatch some troubling beast further upsetting and already war-torn region.
Numerous huge cities, moderate towns and small villages dot the lands, each offering side mission and exploration opportunities. The free city of Novigrad is full of merchants, traders and unsavoury types. In contrast the island town of Oxenfurt, is a hub of artists and scholars. Vizima is the capital city of Temeria, and the seat of the King.
Packed with missions and quests the world of The Witcher is overwhelming, made even more so as you unlock the huge Norse-inspired land mass across the sea to the east, The Skellige Isles. Each region offers its own unique feel and the attention to detail is astounding.
Whilst the included Hearts of Stone expansion offers new quests and locations within the main world map, the second included expansion Blood and Stone adds a whole new region, Toussaint. With its sun-soaked vineyards, bright colours and noble knights, Toussaint is a direct contrast to the war-torn landscape of the main game. Despite its idyllic look, this new land, of course, holds a dark secret.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is already a game that is going to sap your time. The inclusion of the in-game card game, Gwent, only serve to steal more of your live. Gwent is a game that utilises decks of cards based on the characters and factions in the main game. I’m not going to go into the rules here, save to say it’s very addictive and has been so well received that CD Projekt RED are going to soon be releasing it as a separate game.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Game of the Year Edition is an essential addition to everyone’s game collection. The Witcher 3 was the best game of last year and the Game of the Year Edition will be the best game this year!