I just want it stated for the record that I’m not playing The Witcher 3 this month because of the huge uptick in the game’s popularity thanks to the new Netflix series. I’m just a guy who is very, very behind on playing his Steam backlog.
Actually, Syl has been pushing this one hard on me for a couple of years now, and I’ve about run out of reasons not to play it. I’ve been dragging my heels because (a) I don’t have 500 spare hours to beat this reportedly huge game and (b) wasn’t that in love with The Witcher 1’s action combat style. But I’m down for playing it for a single month, to dig into it and see what’s there and if it’s worth completing in the future.
I did start it a few weeks ago but didn’t get much further than the tutorial. Then I ran into a problem with cutscenes not showing or stopping the game entirely, which was fortunately fixed by repairing all of the game’s files. In the first week, I’ve gotten through the entire first area, clearing out all of the quests and points of interest. It went from a game that I dragged my feet on to one I was honestly excited to boot back up and play.
And I don’t think it’s for the somewhat generic fantasy world or its growly, hypermasculine hero. Instead, what hooked me was the exploration of it all. The cutscenes lend a lot of weight to each quests (the lady howling on about her pot had me chuckling) and the Guild Wars 2-style of world exploration encouraged me to just roam, fill out the map, and bump into all manner of encounters. Between the combat style and the map and the quests, all of this reminded me of Elder Scrolls Online, which isn’t the worst thing in the world.
The little side-stories, as usual, have me more interested than the big main one. Helping a dwarf uncover who burned down his house or figuring out how to drive a haunting spirit away from an abandoned village was infinitely more exciting than trying to find friends who failed to leave forwarding addresses.
I’m still not that keen on the combat, but there’s an option to reduce difficulty to focus more on exploration and questing. Call me weak, but I’m going with that just to enjoy my time in the game more.
And apparently this song from the show is super-popular right now, so I’m required by nerd law to include it: