Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
System: [PC], PS4, XBOXONE
9/10 Presentation is top-notch. Everything from menu dynamics to story presentation & cutscene quantums are all high class & pure grade stuff.
9/10 The graphics are rich. Everything is highly detailed. Textures are crisp. Animations fluid. Special effects attractive. My only gripes here are with the art-style. It looks great but it's oversaturated. Too gloomy. This kind of art-style belongs with games like Fable. Witcher has always been dark and mysterious. It was like that in the previous Witcher games... in fact it was like that in Witcher 3 initially (go watch original E3 footage), but then unfortunately the game went through some redesigning and downgrades, along which came the art-style change. But that small issue aside, the game still looks gorgeous and very explorable.
9.5/10 The OST of Witcher 3 is close to phenomenal. Absolutely absorbing and memorable. Something truly dynamic and deserving of critical acclaim. It's just too brilliant. Best of all, it blends well with the story, as if they sync. CDPR has really outdid themselves here. Witcher 2 had exceptional music itself, but this takes it a step above. Really amazing & mesmerizing stuff. That aside, the dialogues and sound effect are top notch as well. Every single voice actor has done a fantastic job at their lines. Really put effort into bringing emotions & depth into the quotes. No complaints whatsoever. This is as good as it gets.
9/10 The strongpoint of Witcher series has always been it's glorious stories, and that has remained it's top perk. It's emotional, gripping, conjectural yet rewarding. Unlike the predecessor that focused on Thrones, this targets Bonds, and that makes it that much more identifiable. Simply put, it's about a man that would do anything to protect those he loves. There's a lot of other matters involved which must be addressed before doing so. In the game you'll face everything. Action, joy, tragedy, love & redemption. All at it's peak. My only gripes here are with it's disconnection with Witcher 2. It's like the choices i made in that game have little to no effect on this game. I understand they made it this way to make it less complicated for the newcomers (mainly console peasants), but as a PC gamer who has followed this series since the beginning, i felt nothing but dissapointment in this regard. Still, at least they haven't cut out any important characters from the series, and the beloved redhead is available for pursue, even though the game goes out of it's way to push the other one your way. That aside, the characters are well-written. Everyone remains their distinctive identities throughout. Ciri is a brilliant entry into the series. Although it remains to be seen which characters will remain relevant in future entries of the franchise.
8.5/10 Gameplay is similar to Witcher 2 except in a open-world. There are some Mass Effect 2 inspired quicktime events as well. Combat has been much improved over previous games, it's much more action-oriented now. Diolog choices are there as usual, which affect some outcomes in the story. Unlike the 2nd game, there are not 2 story paths to choose from, just one. There are two main romances though (more if you count one-night stands). There are 3 endings (36 total endings if you count small variations in-between). The 2 main positive endings are both satisfying (although i recommend the Witcher one). These things aside, the gameplay largely remains similar to Witcher 2, which is perhaps not the best, but nothing to complain about either. It's great on it's own right, just lacking some diversity and sandbox aspects.
One thing that particularly bugged me throughout the game were the bugs (pun intended). I started the game with Patch 1.07 & midway upgraded to 1.08 but even with these new patches i periodically encountered issues like getting stuck in objects. GPS malfunctions. Quest failing without reason. Quest stuck updating until restart. Occasional texture flickering. But these periodic issues aside, i had a smooth playthough.
One thing I'd like to applaud CDPR for is the optimization. The game looks phenomenal but still runs relatively well on the usual gaming PCs. Unlike some recent games that demand overthetop hardware & still manage to run like crap & look inferior.
9/10 The campaign is pretty long. Took me weeks to end it. There's tons of side-quests to do if you're interested. Some of the side-quests affect the ending, others are just there to gain experience or add playability to the game. Some are hilarious, other the usual kind. All in all it'll last you a long time, but once you do finish it, you might not want to play it again right away as there's only one story path, but give it some time, and you'll find fun playing it again with some of the meaningful alternative dialog choices.
It's a brilliant game, with a brilliant protagonist, memorable characters, astonishing graphics, incredible music, and entertaning gameplay. It's the most ambitious game CDPR has ever made & it has made it's mark on the top of the genre. If you truly love videogames, then you owe yourself to play the complete Witcher series.
Goodbye Geralt, it was amazing to encounter your journey...