The Witcher 3 Is Still The Bar To Meet For Open-World RPGs

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CDPR Outdid Themselves With Witcher 3!

Story Highlights
  • The Witcher 3 is arguably the best modern RPG game of all time, challenging the likes of Elden Ring.
  • The game’s open world is in a class of its own due to stellar art direction and atmosphere.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a timeless game that fascinates me, even eight years after its launch.

Created by CDPR, this RPG firmly holds its position among the greatest games of all time. Launched in 2015, this game not only won many awards, including Game of the Year but also sold over 50 million copies worldwide.

Looking back at gaming history, The Witcher 3 stands out as a beacon of innovation in a time when the industry often stuck to the same old formula. Unlike the small changes seen in many modern games, this game dared to be different, embracing a depth reminiscent of the golden age of gaming.

Why it matters: What makes The Witcher 3 stand out, even after eight years, is its exceptional world-building, consistently combining little details, unique characters, and delightful gameplay experience.

The Witcher 3

The Epitome of Story-telling

In a time of ‘checklist games’ with repetitive quests in cluttered open worlds, The Witcher 3 shines as a model of quality. Unlike some games that follow a set formula, each quest in this world is carefully made, providing varied stories and gameplay.

Whether navigating a trippy conversation with animals or mediating between ghostly spouses, every quest is a special mystery, offering players valuable in-game rewards like gear, skill slots, mutations, or crafting resources.

Playing through The Witcher 3’s main story is a deep dive, whether you’re helping the Bloody Baron, searching for Ciri, or facing the Wild Hunt at Kaer Morhen. The game’s storytelling shines in complex relationships and tough in-game choices.

The father-daughter bond between Geralt and Ciri, especially considering her ties to Emhyr var Emreis, adds a touching layer, making Geralt’s quest for her a bittersweet journey.

Every quest in this RPG is worth it. Each side quest tells a unique story, fitting perfectly with the main tale. The game blends main quests and side activities, ensuring every quest is a valuable exploration of the detailed open world.

I’ve often lost track, thinking I was on the main quest because the side quests are just that good. In my opinion, these quests set such a high bar for side activities that even CDPR struggled to match them in Cyberpunk 2077.

Villains such as Gaunter Oโ€™Dimm present a fleshed-out backstory, making for a tale unlike any other. These elements show the brilliance of this RPG.

The Witcher 3 Gaunter O'Dimm

Visually Stunning & Detailed Open World

Before I went into quests and characters, The Witcher 3 grabbed me with its stunning visuals. Everything, from trees and grass to creatures and houses in Novigrad, strikes a perfect balance between realism and a painterly style.

The game’s lively colors, natural lighting, and little details make a visual treat that goes beyond typical fantasy RPGs. The next-gen update offers better visuals, ray tracing, and all DLCs, guaranteeing a visual feast for new and experienced players.

Unlike many open-world games focusing on huge worlds, The Witcher 3 stands out by valuing content over sheer size. Its world is meant to immerse rather than keep players busy.

Instead of vast landscapes with little to do, CDPR invites players into a world bustling with life and activities. The Northern Realms, Skellige, and White Orchard provide unique settings, making sure every part of the world holds the thrill of discovery.

Consider the ‘A Frying Pan, Spick, and Span’ quest, where a troubled old lady locked out of her house over a stolen frying pan kicks off a complex journey involving investigation, murder, and pan recovery.

This small episode showcases the game’s richness; every NPC and quest offers memorable stories.

Skellige Witcher 3

Combat Is Good Enough

Combat in The Witcher 3 isn’t just mindless button-mashing. It requires strategy, using magic, blades, potions, and oils. The game’s combat is a refreshing change that urged me to think tactically.

In my opinion, the strategy is to adjust to various enemies, making players use different resources to exploit weaknesses. On harder levels, careful preparation is crucial, stressing the importance of knowing and predicting each foe’s weaknesses.

Moreover, The Witcher 3 brings crafting and alchemy systems that smoothly fit into the gameplay. It lets players decide how much or how little they want to invest in these features without messing with the overall experience.

Some people are quick to think that combat is easy, but I beg to differ. I believe the game successfully captures the feel of a sharp longsword. Geralt moves fast and handles his blade with finesse. The game sees swords as skill tools, not just heavy clubs.

Overall, the combat might not be comparable to Sekiro’s, but it isn’t as terrible as some people make it out to be.

Witcher 3 Combat

Final Thoughts

With about 100 hours just for the main quest, this unforgettable title provides an experience that goes well beyond finishing it once. The world stays open, encouraging players to explore unresolved quests and mysteries. 

Meanwhile, the game continues to get support from the developers at CDPR.

The studio recently announced that this RPG will receive a mod editor in 2024. While official content is no longer being produced, this mod editor is set to become a gateway to new possibilities within the game.

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