The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 15.07.2015 13

Review for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on PC

For a long time now, AAA games have become stagnant and repetitive slogs, but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a nice return to what those games should be. That is to say, full of detail, excitement, exploration, and enjoyability. Developed and published by CD Projekt Red, The Witcher 3 is a sad reminder of how low the AAA bar has fallen, not because it is bad, but because it is one of the first games in a long time to soar over where it used to be. Cubed3 has already given two very different verdicts on the PS4 edition, so read on for another take, this time on PC.

The Witcher 3. Is. Wonderful. It is so nice to see a game come out that manages to excel in so many unique and interesting ways, and capture the feeling of what an epic game should be like. It is an outright breath of fresh air. Continuing the story from its prior games, The Witcher 3 tells the story of Mr. Scowly, who may be named 'Geralt,' as he embarks on a quest to find his adopted daughter, reunite with his old friends and lovers, find an old lady's pan, become a master of playing card games, and do many other things along the way. The game is stuffed full of content from beginning to end, to the point where major detours need to be taken in order to find and complete all the side-quests and get all the collectables. Where to start?

Firstly, The Witcher 3 is beautiful to look at. Everything is lush and distinct, and the detail is simply outstanding. Normally, high-end graphics get wasted on rock textures and muzzle flash, but here, the developer worked hard to ensure that the graphics are put to wonderful use. The detail on a gryphon's wing, the tattered remains of a dead bride's gown, the interior wallpapering of a castle, watching Mr. Scowly's beard grow in real time (okay, not that amazing, but that attention to detail is impressive) is all great, especially since the game actually uses this very well.

Image for
How? By placing it in a vast, open world and landscape full of interesting little discoveries, tasks, and side-quests. The starting zone alone is simply massive, and, despite being intended as basically nothing more than a tutorial to get used to how things work, has multiple side-quests, treasure hunts, and events to complete. Sometimes it's something as simple as dispersing a bandit camp, other times it's clearing out a village so people can return to it to live once again and revitalise the land - and that is just the beginning.

That's not to mention the many other bits of content, such as playing Gwent, a card game inside of the game that is… serviceable, the engaging and decently good monster hunts, and more within. It would be easy to rave and praise the game for all it gets right.

The Witcher 3 is not without its faults, though. The biggest and most outstanding is Mr. Scowly himself, and how the world reacts to him. Mr. Scowly, as his name implies, always seems to be growling and have a frown or scowl on his face. While being a witcher, a person who undergoes various augmentations to become able to fight monsters, is almost certainly tough work, Mr. Scowly almost always seems to have the same tone and expression, which can become quite grating, especially when the villagers treat him with constant fear and suspicion, even as he drives out the monsters to let them return to their villages. For anyone else this would probably elicit at least a 'thank you,' but Mr. Scowly never seems to catch a break.

Screenshot for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on PC

Then there are the controls, which can make Mr. Scowly a bit difficult to control fluidly. In combat, there seems to be some issues with the lock-on working right, and out of combat, Mr. Scowly is a bit sluggish and clunky to control. There are some glitches, as well; big ones - ones that can stop an area from being 'completed.' That's not to mention that, later on, things become repetitive and samey. There is so much more good and bad, but there is something key that needs to be talked about.

The Witcher 3 is a unique and rare breed nowadays, which is particularly sad. The game gets praised and it deserves every bit of it; however, it is a shame to think about how rare it is to see how other AAA games have handled this in the past. Gwent is a "meh" sort of game within the game. It cannot compete with the likes of Spheda from Dark Cloud 2, the monster battle arena from Dragon Quest VIII, or even Blitzball from Final Fantasy X in terms of its depth and quality. At the same time, it is one of the few games now that actually seems willing to gamble so much on having a game within a game that is anything more than a basic poker knock-off or arcade-style distraction. The sheer volume of content is simply impressive, but it's what an AAA game of this scope should have.

This is what makes this sad. The Witcher 3 is huge and expansive, but there are many other huge and expansive games out there, as well. It is stuffed full of side-quests and secrets, but so are the Zelda and Metroid games. Why should The Witcher 3 get praised so much for these things when others have done them, as well, then? That isn't to say that this game is bad in any way; just that the things it is doing is what AAA games should be doing in the first place. Everything is beautiful and lovingly crafted, well made, with only a few major faults, but many other games have done so and not been remembered for it. The Witcher 3 deserves every bit of praise it gets and is an AAA game, but it is also a sad reminder of how low the bar sank in the first place.

Screenshot for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on PC

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The real question here is not "Why is this exceptional?" but rather, "Why is this not a masterpiece?" For that, the answer is simple. The Witcher 3 is an impressive game all around, with a strong story, great visuals, decent gameplay, and so forth. However, it is bogged down by Mr. Scowly's attitude, how the world treats him, the glitches, and the repetition later on. To top that off, story aside, it doesn't actually bring anything truly brilliant to the table. What it delivers is great, but if gaming was a sport, The Witcher 3 would be the promising rookie that does one or two things incredibly well, possibly better than 90% of the team, but is lacking elsewhere. Had there been extra focus on developing Gwent, mixing up the side-quests a little more, and polishing out the bugs (which CD Projekt Red will hopefully do), it would be worthy of being regarded as a masterpiece.

Developer

CD Projekt Red Studio

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

What makes this really sad is that I was playing Resistance: Fall of Man earlier and noticed that the game got a 9/10. It does not deserve that score, yet this game does. Because it is a great game. That shows just how much the bar has fallen for a great score and serves as a reminder of why a 5 should be average and not a 7.

personally, i find a 9 rating too generous since pretty much every review for this game on cubed3 criticizes the combat and the interface- both of which are the core components to this game. 

this game is a masterpiece, i bet u think that skyrim was a masterpiece but the w3 its not .. fuck off

gamerkiller1 said:
this game is a masterpiece, i bet u think that skyrim was a masterpiece but the w3 its not .. fuck off

i dont

Insanoflex said:
personally, i find a 9 rating too generous since pretty much every review for this game on cubed3 criticizes the combat and the interface- both of which are the core components to this game.

My problem with that statement is that there are plenty of great, even amazing, games that do suffer from under-whelming/repetitive combat. That doesn't suddenly mean that they're bad games, especially when most games not developed with deep combat in mind devolve to the same level. While you could claim that it's 'basic' to claim that it's bad or outright horrible reeks of bias in my eyes.

I've noticed a trend of late where people intent on giving 'accurate' reviews instead turn around and rip into games that they dislike, but are not actually bad, and justify their dislike with the claim that they're being objective. This is just as bad as giving a game too high a score. Even worse as it might turn people away from legit-good games in favor of the churned out shlock. 

( Edited 19.12.2016 15:18 by Azuardo )

Snowtwo said:
Insanoflex said:
personally, i find a 9 rating too generous since pretty much every review for this game on cubed3 criticizes the combat and the interface- both of which are the core components to this game. 

My problem with that statement is that there are plenty of great, even amazing, games that do suffer from under-whelming/repetitive combat. That doesn't suddenly mean that they're bad games, especially when most games not developed with deep combat in mind devolve to the same level. While you could claim that it's 'basic' to claim that it's bad or outright horrible reeks of bias in my eyes.

I've noticed a trend of late where people intent on giving 'accurate' reviews instead turn around and rip into games that they dislike, but are not actually bad, and justify their dislike with the claim that they're being objective. This is just as bad as giving a game too high a score. Even worse as it might turn people away from legit-good games in favor of the churned out shlock. 

i dont think there is a problem in liking a bad game.

Okay... I don't see what that has to do with people using the claim of being 'objective' to mask that they really don't have a point and are just hating on a game.

you've never liked an objectively bad game?

Ian - you know what shocked me recently? Members of J-Idol group Dempagumi love this game! Some of the members are hardcore gamers and this was one of their favourites. They asked ME if I'd heard of it...I was like, umm...yeah, I WORK for a gaming website Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Adam Riley said:
Ian - you know what shocked me recently? Members of J-Idol group Dempagumi love this game! Some of the members are hardcore gamers and this was one of their favourites. They asked ME if I'd heard of it...I was like, umm...yeah, I WORK for a gaming website Smilie

Wow! That's pretty awesome and cool!
Insanoflex said:
you've never liked an objectively bad game?

Of course I have. X-blades, for example, is very bad but I had a bunch of fun playing it. Thing is that I can look at it and say 'yes, it's a bad game. Terrible floaty combat, bad writing, and stupidly unbalanced combat; but it has a certain lulzy appeal to it' as opposed to me going 'because I like this game it is a 7/10 while I hate that HDN stars japanese girls so it gets a 3/10! Ummm... Because of the bad combat system and... ummm... plot! Nevermind that I would give it a 3/10 no matter how good it got.'

We should strive to be objective in reviews and present honest, transparent, material. We'll never achieve 100% because we are individual humans; but that doesn't mean we should use objectivity as justification for our hate. If a game is a 4/10 we should dislike it for being a 4/10. Not dislike it and say it's a 4/10 because of that.

Skyrim is a solid and great game through and through. A lot of people complain about it but, at the end of the day, people who claim it's an objectively horrible game are more likely than not just haters using objectivity to mask their hate than seeing the game as objectively bad.

Edit: Also, I love HDN. I just am using it as an example cause I know a lot of people hate it as well.

( Edited 18.07.2015 22:59 by Snowtwo )

Christos (guest) 28.08.2018#11

Well, it is hard to hate on a 9/10 review, but for Witcher 3 i will take an exception. Giving Witcher 3 anything lower than a 10/10 means you are just a nitpicking hipster. I read about your criticism of the game and i was left in shock because you actually had no valid argument.

"Repetition"? Is there any game in the world history of video games that does not get repetitive after 80-100 hours of playtime? If there is, i would like to find out about it.

Glitches? All fixed by now.

Attitude? You realise Geralt is based on a book character that was almost striped by emotion due to (somewhat failed) mutations and to top it all, has been fighting monsters all his life, been backstabbed a lot, etc. I would like to see YOUR real life attitude after experiencing what he experienced dude... This is just true to the lore...

Seriously, you have no argument. The game is a masterpiece but you want to avoid giving it its deserved 10/10 so you attempt to nitpick ridiculous things. Bad review for this reason alone.

Christos (guest) said:

"Repetition"? Is there any game in the world history of video games that does not get repetitive after 80-100 hours of playtime? If there is, i would like to find out about it.

that sounds like a fundamental problem with the game's design.
You realise Geralt is based on a book character that was almost striped by emotion due to (somewhat failed) mutations and to top it all, has been fighting monsters all his life, been backstabbed a lot, etc. I would like to see YOUR real life attitude after experiencing what he experienced dude... This is just true to the lore...

so?

Christos (guest) said:
Well, it is hard to hate on a 9/10 review, but for Witcher 3 i will take an exception. Giving Witcher 3 anything lower than a 10/10 means you are just a nitpicking hipster. I read about your criticism of the game and i was left in shock because you actually had no valid argument.

"Repetition"? Is there any game in the world history of video games that does not get repetitive after 80-100 hours of playtime? If there is, i would like to find out about it.

Glitches? All fixed by now.

Attitude? You realise Geralt is based on a book character that was almost striped by emotion due to (somewhat failed) mutations and to top it all, has been fighting monsters all his life, been backstabbed a lot, etc. I would like to see YOUR real life attitude after experiencing what he experienced dude... This is just true to the lore...

Seriously, you have no argument. The game is a masterpiece but you want to avoid giving it its deserved 10/10 so you attempt to nitpick ridiculous things. Bad review for this reason alone.


I suppose this is what happens when I end up going into hibernation due to multiple factors sapping my desire to play games. I do feel I should at least respond to this comment.

First off, it's true no game will not end up feeling repetitive after 100+ hours of gameplay. However, I also felt that I was hitting that point much earlier than I should have. It's entirely possible that this was just my experience with the game. After all, everyone's playthrough is different, and were I to review it again, maybe I wouldn't notice the same problem (it was over three years ago). 

As for glitches; one huge issue with any game is that future patches can fix any 'problems' that a game has in theory. While glitch-fixes are the most common I recall encountering a sizable chunk. More than I would have considered acceptable (though not on the level of ME:A either). I recall having the game crash on me twice, falling through the floor once, and a few other, minor, things. I didn't hold it against the game too much since I do also recall acting a bit abnormal when said glitches happened as none of them seeming to be the result of sloppy/lazy programming, but I only get one review. When I make my review I have to do so with what material I've gotten/played/etc.

As for his attitude... So what? Just because something is justified and there is a reason behind it does not mean I have to like it. I felt Geralt's disposition (and the worlds in general) was dragging the game down and it felt like it was hindering my enjoyment of the game. Unfortunately this is something that can only rarely be objectively measured and I will state that Geralt is MUCH better as a character than a lot of other characters in multiple mediums. However, that doesn't mean I liked it either. As I said, I did feel it was dragging down the game.

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