Welcome to COMPACT GAMING!
‘Compact’ because it’s a short summary of all the key points about a game that you need to know, and ‘gaming’ for obvious reasons.
I’ve recently been obsessed with Sapkowski’s Witcher universe after I started playing Wild Hunt and since getting the books a week or so ago, I have already read two of the six.
After colonising the unclaimed lands of Temeria, genetically altered humans known as Witchers were created to defend mankind from beasts and monsters. Many people have since treated Witchers with contempt, treating them as outcasts, but entire villages will pitch in for a Witcher when the need arises, because they never work for free. Geralt of Rivia, the eponymous Witcher of the novels and games, was especially resilient when subjected to the Trial of Grasses and so underwent further mutations, turning his hair white and potentially becoming even more powerful than other Witchers.
Spoiler warning from this point on.
3. Look at my Roach, my Roach is amazing
The maps are huge in The Witcher 3, and so you need a sturdy steed to get you to and from locations. One of the very first companions of Geralt that I was introduced to was the infamous Roach. Geralt is noted to have named all his horses Roach, and as for this incarnation of her, all I can say is… you will hate this horse.
She’s fine at first because it’s the tutorial, and you can just ride her on autopilot for a while. It’s when you decide to deviate from the beaten path that she- actually, scratch that. Roach is just insane. The amount of times that I suddenly became stuck behind objects or structures, or when Roach would randomly decide that she would stop because bridges are scary, or the way she would majestically emerge from the water when you call her when stood near the sea was astounding. Never, and I mean never, have Roach nearby while you’re in a fight. Just trust me.
Honestly, most of the time it was frustrating because Roach just simply didn’t want to cooperate, but it did make for some hilarious moments as well. I highly suggest trying to ride Roach down a mountain side, because I was almost on the floor with how hard I was laughing. I once managed to finally get her to walk across a bridge, but there was a gap that we had to jump. I could do it on foot, but I still had a ways to go once on the other side, so I jumped with Roach.
She ended up falling down the gap, landing on what remained of a dinghy and was looking very guilty as I swam away.
2. The Wolven Storm
Be prepared to become emotionally attached and invested in practically all of the characters. Geralt can be fairly plain when considered as a lone character, but all the colourful personalities that surround him are what make him and this game so brilliant. Priscilla is one of these many people, and she was such a joy to interact with. Her introduction is by far the best that I have seen across all games that I have played.
I wasn’t expecting to sit through one of the best moments in gaming that I’ve ever witnessed, and it’s actually because of this scene that I originally wanted to write a list of my favourite events and experiences in games. Priscilla performs what I can only describe as a beautiful recital of ‘The Wolven Storm’, a song about Geralt and Yennefer. I was captivated by Priscilla’s perfomance and felt as though I was actually there with the audience in the Kingfisher Inn. It all felt so real because of the reactions of the spectators, and even Geralt himself. They were all losing themselves in the moment and I was too.
Many references throughout the game went over my head because I’m not so well versed in The Witcher lore as of yet, though I do know a lot more now than I did at the beginning of this game since reading the books. It didn’t take much for me to realise what the lyrics of the song were about, but as a former literature student I found myself analysing them as Priscilla sang and I just found that it was simply poetry for the soul.
1. Lads Night at Kaer Morhen
This game revolves around your choices and there are several endings to the overall game that are determined by your decisions and actions. This part is just one small example of being given different dialogue trees to follow and in the above screen shot, it’s pretty clear that I decided to be nice to Lambert for once, seeing as he’s forever cynical when sober. Sometimes your decisions don’t have immediate effects, but instead come to reward you later in the game. Equally, your decisions can also make life difficult for Geralt later down the line as well. Be careful, your choices matter.
In this instance, with all the talk of battles and the ancient Witcher creation methods, we needed some humour and CD Projekt Red delivered. Geralt and two of his fellow Witchers from the School of the Wolf, Eskel and Lambert, decide to have a couple drinks together. A couple turns into a few, and a few becomes many. This section of the game allows you to have a bit of fun, as the trio initially start by drunkenly playing Never Have I Ever, and the things you find out about each other is brilliantly and hilariously written.
As many drunken escapades turn out, eventually Geralt, Lambert and Eskel all decide that it would be a great idea to bring some ladies to the fortress. Lambert believes calling the Sorceresses of the Lodge is a great idea. It’s safe to say I decided that Lambert was a genius and to commit to this until the bitter end. All I’m going to reveal is that the night ended with a questionable change of attire and a very irritated raven-haired sorceress on my case. Worth it.