The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PS4) review

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in 2011 did not feel anything like a video game. That feel of being trapped in a giant and beautiful, full of adventures and places you want to discover, that overwhelms you with so many possibilities, and where you know you will be submerged for world months, losing track of time every time you wear to play.

When in 2013 CD Projekt announced that the third installment in The Witcher saga would be a huge RPG open world, with Skyrim as inspiration, but in order to overcome it, it sounded too ambitious to many of us. Four years later, it is surprising to see The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, has not only met expectations, but has also made it dated to the great game of Bethesda, and exceeds almost any aspect, something that may surprise least who played The Witcher (2007) and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (2011), who already know the good work of the Polish developer.

Precisely nobody better than them to appreciate the tremendous developments that have been among their three games, culminating in an action role-playing adventure in huge open world. We believe will mark a before and after in the genre in some respects, and are set to benefit both those who are initiated in the series with this issue, as on all those who have already played the previous titles or have been read novels, for which The Witcher 3 will be a feast.

We are facing a clear example of game in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as if we analyzed some of its sections separately, they would not reach outstanding, and are not exempt from errors or upgradable details. But there are so many strong virtues, that would be a little bitter set more than needed in their defects, and if you like the genre, especially in its most ambitious and open shed, you'll have a great time, worth every penny it costs, and is overly generous in providing content, all of great quality.

Chasing Ciri
It is curious that such a gigantic and complex, with so many good stories within the game, the plot is as "simple", which especially thank those in the premiere series. Once again we take control of the charismatic sorcerer Geralt of Rivia, this time walking in the footsteps of Ciri, a kind of adoptive daughter who trained to become a witch, and has extraordinary powers to be the bearer of the 'old blood'. That is why he who is being pursued by the Wild Hunt, a brigade of ghostly knights who wants to take the incredible powers of Ciri, which according to prophecy can end the world.

With this simple starting point, find Ciri before the Wild Hunt, we will explore a huge open world divided into three major regions: Orchard White (stage smaller and simpler serving touchdown in the game), Velen: Tierra de Nadie (a land ravaged by war with swamps and dark forests, where the gigantic city of Novigrad, in which we spend many hours) and Skellige Islands (an archipelago of Nordic atmosphere that surely will remember much Skyrim).

In our journey to find Ciri live many adventures, we meet new characters, we will find old acquaintances, and what is more interesting and should be emulated by other RPGs in the open world is that although there are a thousand and one reasons to lose his world and leave parked the main story, if it is very interesting that whenever you feel like it and take it up again. This is the reason that sometimes overwhelms a little, not because it has tons of side quests, but because almost all are interesting, elaborate and makes sense within the game world and our role of sorcerer. Want to do them all, and do not know where to start.

Something that consistently benefits the adventure is to have a protagonist with such strength and charisma as Geralt of Rivia, with a distinct personality and complex past, unlike other western role games in which we created a character, almost always mute, no personality. Not spend unnoticed wherever we go, we are an institution, and this leads to a lot of interesting situations, both allies and foes, but often the barrier is diffuse and not very clear who we are. Geralt always behaves according to your personality and profession, but through the decisions we make as players we define our destination in one of the systems of decision-making and consequences more satisfying that we have ever seen in a video game, which make you feel real protagonist of the events of history.

Not only do we make important decisions in the main plot, also in secondary missions, which almost always have different solutions, and sometimes surprise us the repercussions of our actions, which are not always desired (we have loaded some unintentionally entire village ...) . There are no lines of "good" or "bad" dialogue, and is an adult and nuanced game, which often don’t have clear whether what we are doing is right, and if it will be worse the remedy that disease. It's great how they fit arguably many of the side quests with the main plot, and are always justified and make sense, we will not see Geralt collecting ten kinds of herbs to give them to a guy who does not know anything.

In fact, in our role as a kind of mercenary witch who hunts monsters and break curses, as well as investigating crime scenes and look for clues of detective, sometimes we have to negotiate with whom we reward commissioning the work, a mechanism that is not really important, but it helps as many other details to get into the skin of the character, charismatic than most. We think we are Geralt, empathize with him, and we would try to behave like a witch, something few RPGs get, much to leave us choose the look of the character and give it a name.

It all adds up when we dive into this ambitious RPG, as it is well written, the charisma of the characters, and all the relationships that Geralt has been engaging over two games and nearly ten books, flowing into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in one way or another, which makes it arguably very rich and interesting. Fear that not initial in the saga with this game, you can enjoy and continue smoothly, and there are some good glossaries of the characters and monsters that are updated as we go, and all kinds of books that we are on the stages that tell stories and we talk about politics and other interesting aspects, entertaining and concise manner.

Yes, you are warned that it is a game to be easy to play savoring, not put any specific date to finish. It is immense, overwhelming in content, with a huge amount of dialogue, and constantly inviting you to wander through its sites discovering new stories and details. If we may say so, it is even literary enough to be a game, have a leisurely and slow, but at the same time is quite film when compared to other open world RPGs, with a lot of high quality cinematic scenes.

More to the point, "passed" The Witcher 3 can make a 50 or 60 hours, without wasting too much, and as you like what you propose, you're going to spend more than 100 hours without giving too much consideration, it sounds exaggerated. Of course not all the side missions are equally interesting and made-that the price to pay in such gigantic game, and even the main plot sometimes has problems with rhythm and feel a bit stretched artificially, but rarely have the feeling that you lost playing time, and always try to surprise one way or another. Treasure hunt, hunt monsters, tournaments melee, horse racing, play Wind a curious and elaborate game type Magic cards - or just explore the beautiful world and enjoy the beautiful images that it offers, authentic cards you don’t get to see, with an elaborate cycle of day and night, and variable weather conditions.

An RPG which incidentally contains within it enough doses of humor, a little black at times while playing and committed serious issues, because one thing is not at odds with each other, and there are many RPG though we might say "games" in general they are taken too seriously. It is noted that The Witcher 3 is made of market research, but with a team of talents who love their work, they respect and almost worship the material on which they are based, and they treat the players like an equal, well aware that they are doing a game intended for adult audiences. There are a lot of blood itself, and some-not sex we are used to seeing in the video games- but none of these things has seemed in no case to be presented for free, and they are always more or less justified.

We took a long time talking about the game and have not yet said anything about the "playability" and is simply because we believe that where more shines The Witcher 3 is in its history, characters, creating a so believable world as beautiful, in its processed side missions, etc., rather than in a combat system that meets and entertains, but not protruding, with too unruly camera, an automatic system for setting targets that gives more problems than solutions, and few enemy attacks too predictable routines although the combat is much better than The Witcher 2.

The mini-games that have gotten to provide variety not too bright, and turn them on several occasions not to forget that they are there, as horse racing, and not very enjoyable. The riding is well resolved, with different speeds gallop, a bar of force and even a panic attack when we filled, pull the horse to the ground. And the possibility of sailing boat is interesting, offers very beautiful moments, but not as fun ways to dive, very frustrating and poorly executed, bordering the disaster.

Overall in playable fails so as outstanding as in the other sections, but does not do anything bad enough to spoil the overall outcome. And not by chance, since the grace of the fighting is the great freedom we have to address them, if we can avoid elaborate sections of the game, like alchemy. How could it be otherwise repeat the two-swords, the steel to normal beasts and humanoids, and silver for magical creatures, with two types of attacks, powerful and fast, the possibility of counter if you press L2 at the right time, and two evasive movements, roll and dodge with side steps.

On the side of the magic we can use simple spells for being a witch, with five signs: shield, telekinetic blast, magical trap, persuasion and fire. These are the basic powers, as in the skill tree can win new combat moves and boost the signs, unlocking new powers.

And to make the most complex combat has added the crossbow for long-range attacks, which comes in handy to shoot down flying enemies and to hit them with the sword. We can equip different types of bolts, and perhaps because it was not a welcome development, this weapon is not very powerful and very useful, at least we will have failed to take big game, except to throw down a winged beasts.

You see the battle has many possibilities, but don’t end entirely by exploiting some enemies with a little elaborate artificial intelligence, and very few routines and predictable attack, something that is evident in fighting one on one, as in certain bosses very poor, more appropriate to a smaller game. These shortcomings are also seen in the moments when we control Ciri, too simple linear sections as playable, having no signs or potions, or different types of weapons, and only serve a narrative function, to go slowly discovering which he has been doing this interesting character, key in history.

The good thing is that not only combats have much freedom when it comes to addressing them, and how we want to evolve the character in the skill tree, but also if we do not have to fight over the bill, it goes in no case, and how best to level up is beating secondary missions, which in many cases we do not have to fight, based on pure research scenarios and dialogues. Believe us that we have come to throw two or three hours without progressing almost have to draw the sword, and is a rich narrative game you need not resort to action to entertain constant manner.

Following playable possibilities, which are many, and Sorcerer that we cannot miss alchemy, and there are countless ingredients that we can collect, prepare potions, bombs, and oil. Each enemy has a weakness, and we discover them after facing a monster like reading a book that contains this information. The game one way or another often give us clues to what kind of danger we will face below-a much fairer system than what we saw in The Witcher 2.

Exploring the scenarios we can collect a huge amount of objects, being able to feel overwhelmed by not knowing what to do with so many things, and it's funny because almost all are good for something, not just sell and get money. Whether alchemy ingredients for oils, pumps and Potions, or articles of manufacture for the crafting system, so you can create boots, armor, swords, gauntlets, pants or bolts for the crossbow. Not with our own hands, but we have to go to blacksmiths to build all these tools, you have to be unlocked by obtaining diagrams. Blacksmiths also repair equipment as weapons and armor degrade with use, and can improve almost any object inserting runes.

It's hard not to ignore and leave without comment any aspect of such a complete game, which in its role-playing side will leave satisfied at all, and has not "randomized" to reach a wider audience. The only concession that has been done about it is that its default difficulty level, the second of the four available, is particularly simple, and any skilled player should start playing at least the third "blood, sweat and tears" although this is not a problem since you can change at any time. The more daring have a room, "the death march" of the game literally says "you're like a goat, and that you love."

A lovely although technically improved game
We produce mixed feelings graphics Witcher 3-always talking PS4- version. On the one hand artistically and it seems a beautiful game of the nicest we've ever played in the purely visual. They leave us spellbound its landscapes, sunrises, sunsets, walking through a forest at night lit by moonlight, while all vegetation convincingly shaken with the wind way, with atmospheric phenomena very well done. Some scenarios full of detail, with beautiful natural landscapes, abundant, varied and well-made interior design and great characters and enemies. And a game spectacularly colorful, something unusual in the Western role, and we thank.

But on the other hand we have a technical section that disappointed us a lot, in case of actual version of PlayStation 4, which is the only one we could play for this analysis. Maybe it rains it pours, but we were commenting for some time that this title would be a great test for the new consoles, and they have not entirely overcome, or at least not with flying colors. We do not know how much the fault of hardware limitations or CD Projekt has failed to take full advantage, but difficult to assimilate a new generation game awaited as this can not maintain stable 30fps.

We do not always coveted 60fps, and we did not have minded to sacrifice 1080p resolution (in the case of PS4), but at least the minimum that we asked a next generation game is to have a rate with reasonably stable images, and it is far from it, with declines in all situations, be it rare to remain at 30fps. For example, in the first stage of the game, White Garden, one of the least complex polygonal, the game is pretty good, and only lowered notes when fighting. But as you progress through the adventure and explore increasingly complex scenarios play in the rain or get to the big city of Novigrad, ever bother most slowdowns, constant during the fighting, which comes to affect gameplay, spoiling for timing example when dodge attacks.

We must clarify that we have played without the patch day one, which is supposed to fix and improve a few things, such as performance, but we have to talk about what we tested, and we can not make a faith act. The truth do not expect miracles in terms of performance improvement, at least not for now, since there seems to be something simple to fix, considering framerate descents are very serious at times. If when the game is launched and we test with the patch day one a substantial improvement in performance occur, we will be the first to tell you about it and celebrate it.

Then you have other graphical defects that bother much less compared to what the framerate, as certain problems with loading of textures, the quality of these sometimes leaves a bit to be desired, or a discrete anti aliasing. And upgradable details such as facial expressions and animations in general. We have also encountered a few bugs and visual glitches, classics such as ambitious games (because they are not exclusive to Ubisoft and Bethesda), but we have similar anecdotal and have not reached us bitter experience, or impede the Progress on a mission.

Other technical aspect also tarnishes the overall result are -a prolonged load times of over a minute and a half each time departure-loads, and some small loads between cinematics, hindering the pace of the narrative. During the rest of the game as you explore the scene, either indoors or outdoors, no load times, you perform quick trip only when necessary to move between the three main regions. These may seem like many drawbacks for a game that we insist, it is very nice and we love how it looks, but we do not know if excessive ambition has played tricks on him, at least in the version of PS4 which is what we tested.

The sound does an outstanding manner, with a great soundtrack, with music and beautiful folk choirs feel him like a glove to the atmosphere, with melodies that they know to be epic when he plays, and environmental, relaxing and almost mystical in parts of scan. The only downside is that it is slightly varied, and that are missing more compositions, as sometimes you spend many hours in a single location, listening too often the same tune. The dubbing in English is very good, especially commendable considering the huge number of lines of dialogue that includes all audio. Spanish-speaking players can enjoy smooth thanks to a good translation into Spanish, which has a handicap that has bothered us a lot: some subtitles too small.

A problem that does not mean every time we are in a game, and here comes a really extreme concern, for example in the descriptions of the objects, the glossary of characters and animals, or books that are a source of letter lowercase. They seem to think we all played half a meter from the screen, and in a 32-inch TV, two or three meters away, you have to force a lot of sight, we expect solve a problem, because there will be many complaints to respect.

A colossal game
If one of the greatest successes can have a game that is to transport us to a fantasy world in which losing track of time and forget about reality for tens of hours, living incredible adventures and meeting fascinating characters, The Witcher 3 will get like few others, and has the ability to absorb you only get the big games. Exemplary in many aspects, such as its network of missions and the great decisions and consequences system, only one improved gameplay in certain aspects, and a technical section that leaves a little to be desired console him away from that perfection than many expected.

Perhaps the expectations that have been generated around it are too high, and may more than one this will play a trick and disappointed, but if you like RPGs open world, and ultimately the adventures in capital , you're here waiting for a game with more than 100 hours of entertainment of great quality, that will not stop surprising you from the beginning to the end, and again set the bar very high in the genre.