Monday, June 1, 2015

Witcher 3 First Impressions

The game does not look this good on my old computer.

The Witcher 3 is my most anticipated game of 2015. I don't even know what else is coming out this year; this was the only game on my list. The first two games in the series were excellent, though not without their problems (those collectable sex cards in the first; the harsh difficulty curve in the second). Inspired by the fantasy books of Polish writer Andrezej Sapkowski (no clue how to pronounce that), the Witcher series follows monster hunter Geralt as he recovers from amnesia and tries to find his lover and adopted daughter. The third title features an open world, similar to Skyrim, as well as an intricate, multi-pathed storyline. Here are my first impressions, after about twenty-hours of play.

1. This game is a beast. The Witcher 3 is the second coming of Crysis. Admittedly, my system is about three years old now, and my Radeon HD 6950 is positively ancient, but on low settings, I struggle to hit thirty frame per second. After lowering the resolution to 900p, I was able to tweak a few settings and make the Witcher look pretty decent. Apparently the consoles have problems hitting a constant frame rate. Maxed out, this game looks phenomenal. Unfortunately, I cannot afford a three-hundred dollar graphics card.

2. This is a huge world. Skyrim is a natural comparison, since both games are RPGs set in fantasy worlds. But the Witcher's world is more detailed and more fun to explore. I think this comes down to two things. In Skyrim, you couldn't walk a foot without being molested by a bear or something else that wanted to kill you. You really couldn't interact with the world other than by violent means. That's not necessarily untrue with the Witcher; there are still low-level monsters that harass you from time to time. But it's not as bad as Skyrim. The quests are the other big difference. Skyrim was filled with fetch quests, dungeon clearing quests, and not much else. Every single quest I've taken in the Witcher so far has been unique and entertaining. I've uncovered a tragedy on an island involving social strife, forbidden love, and revengeful ghost. I've discovered a love triangle focusing on a simple hunter who happens to be a werewolf, and tracked him to his lair. I just helped an alcoholic baron atone for his wife's miscarriage by giving the vengeful spirit a proper burial. It's like the developers actually took the time to write decent stories in their huge open world game.

3. Combat is fun, but fairly deep. This is no Dark Souls, but the Witcher is fairly challenging. Along with two attacks, you have signs, which are simple magic spells, potions which give you a variety of buffs, and ranged weapons like crossbows and bombs. Everything is useful, though this game certainly plays best with a gamepad rather than a keyboard.

4. This is probably the best RPG/Open world game ever. The Witcher 3 is the whole package. It's not without its faults, namely the steep system requirements. But I think we'll be playing this game all year. I don't think there's ever been an open world game with this much attention to detail. I think the main problem is that I don't know if I'll have enough time to finish it.

Still looks pretty good, but obviously nothing compared to the first screenshot.

No comments:

Post a Comment