The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was released on May 19, 2015. Before I bought the game, I didn’t look at any reviews or game trailers. I was an avid player of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings and I was looking forward to the next installment in the video game franchise. The last role-playing game I bought on the release date was Dragon Age 2, and playing that game was one of the worst experiences of my life.
So, with the negative taste still in my mouth of buying Dragon Age 2 on release day, I decided to take a shot in the dark and buy The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
I bought this game to play on my Xbox One and all of the screenshots were taken directly from my console. When I first started playing, I was shocked by the massive scale of the game. At the moment I have over 120 hours in one playthrough and I am only level 17. There are still many items I cannot use which require me to get to level 47. There are well over a hundred quests in this game and it is hard to find time to do them all.
When you look at the screenshot above, that is just a fraction of all the land that you can explore in this game. In my playthrough, I have spent time exploring the regions of Velen and Novigrad and I still have over a hundred different locations left unexplored. This is still not counting all the undiscovered locations in the region Skellige, which I haven’t even gotten to yet.
In these undiscovered locations you will find hidden treasure, monster nests, bandit camps, prisoners, and other surprising events. Finding these locations are challenging because oftentimes, you’ll run into high-level enemies which will be tough to defeat. You will be at a level disadvantage which you will need to use your creativity in battle to overcome. A good comparison is thinking about the scale of this game is Grand Theft Auto 5, but with a Witcher and in a medieval time period. However, with everything I have yet to explore, this game is definitely bigger than Grand Theft Auto 5.
In Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the developers changed how the talent tree operates. When you level up, you gain a skill point. You can spend these skill points in either the Sword, Signs, Potions, or Special Skill talent trees. However, just because you spend the skill in a particular section of the tree doesn’t mean that skill is activated. For example, in the Potions tree, I spent five points on the Oil Preparation skill. In order to activate that skill, I have to first spend the points, activate the skill, then put it in a slot to the right in the official talent tree.
The particular skills you spend points in will not work unless you put them in a slot in the official talent tree. This part of the game I do not like because I think it is unnecessarily complicated just to get basic skills to activate properly. It should be that once you spend the skill, that particular ability should activate immediately. I shouldn’t have to wait to unlock slots in the official skill tree through leveling just so I can activate a skill I already spent skill points on.
I have spent a lot of time looking over all the talent trees. There is a strong case to be made that the Potions tree is the most overpowered. I mainly invested my points in Oils, Bombs, and Mutagens, which has resulted in my character becoming a demigod in the actual game. I have played over 120 hours and I have died no more than three times in battle.
For example, with my skills spent in Mutagens, I can activate two decoction potions which instantly grant my character an extra 2,000 hit points in Vitality. Combine this with the damage reduction I get from the decoction potions along with the damage reduction I get from putting the right oil on my blades and I become very hard to kill. With this in mind, I am going to increase the difficulty because the Potions tree has made the game too easy to beat.
Gwent is the side card game introduced in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Before the game begins, each player draws ten cards from their deck of 30 cards. This game is not like Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic the Gathering where you can keep drawing cards after each round. In Gwent, the only cards you will ever play in the match are the ten you draw at the start of the game. There are a total of three rounds and the first person to win two rounds wins the match. To win a round, you need to place cards on the field to get a total card strength number that is higher than your opponents.
In the screenshot, I am playing against a computer with a Monster deck. In this round my opponent has a total card strength number of 100 on the field and I only have a total card strength number of zero. So, there is no way I will win this round and I am purposefully losing this round against the Monster deck. This is because once the computer passes and I pass, then he wins the round since he has a higher total number
However, the next two rounds I will win because he only has five cards and there is no way he will beat me when I have ten cards in the next two rounds. That is because my cards are way stronger then his, since he used all of his best cards to win the first round. Once cards have been placed down on the field, after the round they are discarded and put into the graveyard.
At first I thought the game of Gwent was really dumb since I couldn’t draw any more cards after each round. This was until I got three decoy cards and three spy cards which allowed me to draw more cards. When you play a spy card, it goes on your opponent’s side of the field but you get to draw two cards from your deck. If you play all three of your spy cards, you get to draw an extra six cards from your deck in a single match. But if your opponent plays three spy cards then you can get even more cards.
This is because you use decoy cards to replace your opponent’s spy cards on your side of the field and then play them again to draw an extra six cards. Using this strategy, I was able to create a Northern Realms deck that has allowed me to stomp any computer opponent I play against. It’s made Gwent boring to play since I have all of the best cards and no computer player can beat my strategy.
Buy This Game!
In conclusion, The Witcher 3 has hundreds of different locations you can explore, it has a variety of talent trees to suit a variety of play styles, and it has a fun side game in Gwent. I haven’t played an RPG this fun since The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings and Fallout: New Vegas, both of which came out years ago. If you have time to spare this summer and are looking for a fun role-playing game to play, look no further and pick up a copy of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
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