Welcome to The Continent!
Yes, just like the previous Witcher games “The Continent” is the name of the world around you. Seems pretty simple right? Well there is nothing about this land that can be called “simple“.
So, many years ago I bought a random game from the store under the name “The Witcher 2: Assassins Of Kings”.
At the time I had no idea what this was as I never read the novels/books but my oh my, it was met with such joy! So many hours were spent enjoying The Witcher 2 from start to finish, then it eventually happened.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was announced.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is easily one of my favourite games of all time and as a fan of RPG games this didn’t let down in the slightest and is a game any open world RPG fans should delve straight into.
A riveting story
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt spares no time throwing you straight into the compelling and well driven story
During the first cutscene you are met with Geralt enjoying a nice warm bath, not sold yet? You will be. Sitting on a chair on the other side? The one and only Yennefer.
In the next section you will be given the first clue’s into just how important this story will be. As you begin the tutorials with a young and in training Ciri in Kaer Morhen high in the mountains, it is supposedly the safest place for Witchers even if it does look like it was left in ruins.
Emhyr var Emreis has invaded the Northern Kingdoms and now rules Vizima, capital of Temeria. As he deepens his search for his daughter Ciri.
Before becoming an Emporer, Emhyr var Emreis was cursed and turned into a monster later seen. As Geralt helps track down Ciri, this incredible, open world, RPG game, leads you down twists and turns meeting so many unique characters along the way and some, not so unique.
The hunt for Ciri is on!
Geralt will have no choice but to do certain things in situations he really wouldn’t like to talk about, some things that are quite embarrassing, others….quite disturbing.
The hack ‘n’ slash
As expected from CD Projekt Red, the combat is smooth but could take a little bit to get used to if you’re not used to real time combat.
As most game styles similar to The Witcher, you have two swords which you will swing wildly at your enemies whilst dodging, rolling and using a sign or bomb here or there to aid you in battle.
Here is the fun part, you will have a steel sword and a silver sword, same as the last games.
The steel sword defeats human enemies and armoured ones should you run into highwaymen, thieves and other atrocities out in the wilderness because trust me, there are plenty of them!
Then you have the best sword, the silver sword.
It is with this sword that you can destroy the greatest of monsters, slicing up griffins, water hags, wolves, and much much more; the silver sword is your best friend, so treat it like a loved one.
Extra weapons & signs
As you do in previous games, Geralt has many other weapons at his disposal than just swords; there are all types of secret tricks up a Witchers sleeve.
They come in the shape of bombs, to damage a foe and even destroy their nests, ridding the continent of a vile creature for good. But beware there are many nests and some foe’s not so forgiving.
Alongside these you also have a bow, which is very handy for shooting monsters down from the skies above. This weapon comes in handy against enemies such as the griffins, harpies and more.
Now something the player should definitely have knowledge on is the oils, these oils could very well be the difference in a tough battle.
Certain oils lathered onto your swords can deal inflicting damage, poison, and cause your enemies to bleed to death. With these oils equipped you can make a challenging battle just that little bit easier.
Some oils as seen above can also strengthen your Witcher Signs which we’re just about to talk about.
Which sign is Witcher Sign?
As any Witcher fan knows, Geralt also has his Witcher Signs:
- Aard – Basically like using The Force;
- Quen – A protective barrier that really can save your skin in battle;
- Yrden – Places a symbol on the ground which can trap your foe;
- Igni – Shoots a bolt of fire at your enemy, and can be powered up through mutagens;
- Axii – Confuse the enemy and force them to fight for you.
Around the map you can also find places of power which grant additional power to any spells used for a duration. Among these, there is also Circle Of The Elements which teaches you a spell and is very useful to use just before a fight so Geralt doesn’t need piecing back together.
I want to play it my way
Now, something that I really enjoy in The Witcher 3 is the customisation.
Although limited, there is a lot more you can do than previous games.
In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you can find many different armours and clothes for the entire body. Some look comical but surprisingly useful, and some that just look plain awesome. You can also get Geralt’s hair and beard cut and shaped.
He can look like a hunter about to slaughter a thousand water hags at once, or a lawyer ready to rid some folk of their riches.
Fancy an adventure?
Around the Continent you can also find and loot many useful things such as Glyphs, Runestones, new swords, arrows, bows and more. Some of the swords you find can be better than the current ones you own and the “Witcher” swords you have at the beginning; don’t worry you won’t need those for long, they’re surprisingly weak! One thing you will definitely want to keep on top of is the weapons fatigue.
Weapons can be repaired at a blacksmith or with a repairman’s kit found or sold around the world.
It’s also extremely useful to do as many side quests and Witcher Contracts as you can to save money, useful at a blacksmith for forging you a powerful sword for quests later in the game.
You’re going to want the best sword possible to kick some monster booty, and you don’t want to hit a Rock Troll with a rubber mallet do you?
What’s waiting around the corner?
Your first playthrough of The Witcher 3 will likely be anywhere between 80-100 hours depending on how well you adapt and just how much you want to explore. It’s recommended to actually go ahead with side quests found all over the place for extra money, XP, and finding hidden places with valuable items, not to mention the Witcher Contracts.
These contracts found on bulletin boards at most towns/villages or by talking to certain NPCs will lead you on a path to destroy all kinds of monsters, but check the bestiary so you know just how to kill the fiend terrorising the village!
With all the side quests, contracts, collectibles, monster nests and more found around every corner, you’ll put hours into The Witcher 3 that you couldn’t even imagine. Some speedrunners on just the main story alone have managed approximately 25 hours of playtime.
It would be safe to be aware that as you level up through the game, you can actually fail/miss contracts and side quests if you delve too far into the main story missions, so if you’re aiming for 100% or closest, try and do all missions you come across as soon as possible and close to your level
Monsters can’t wait around forever just to be slaughtered by a Witcher!
Into the sunset (a conclusion)
During my playthroughs of The Witcher 3, I can’t help but stop and look around at the beauty of the world around you.
There’s nature, enemies lurking in the darkness, cracks of lighting in the sky on the cold rainy nights, and on those nights it’s a pleasure of mine to be in a local pub playing a round or two of Gwent (which usually ends in defeat, but don’t forget to collect those cards).
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a fantastic experience even for new players and you don’t need to read the novels or watch the Netflix show (even though I do recommend) to understand what’s going on.
Treat yourself! Adventure awaits you.