I went back and forth about picking up this game ever since it released. I had tried the first two Witcher games and they didn't click with me, but I kept hearing rave reviews about the series. Then this third game launched and it's ended up on so many game of the year lists that it's crazy.
One of the biggest Witcher advocates I've seen is Syl. She's a long time blogging and twitter friend of mine (she's awesome, you should follow her on twitter) and I think she finally got sick enough of my indecision that she grabbed the game for me when it was on Steam sale.
I have to say, thank you so much Syl! This game is great!
I didn't think I was in a mood for another open world game, but this game has been fantastic. The story hooked me within the first hour and I went almost entirely critical path ever since then.
Even going critical path through this game I could see the detail to worldbuilding and dedication to realistic side quest encounters. I chose to stay on the main quest because it feels like it's time sensitive and I just constantly wanted to see what was next, but the few times I let sidequests pull me away I was floored by how much detail was put into them. I can see why so many people put so many hours into this game.
The main story finds Geralt (The Witcher) trying to track down his adopted daughter Ciri who is on the run from The Wild Hunt. She's an adult and very capable of taking care of herself but she's definitely in over her head. The whole chase to find her I constantly felt like I was about to catch up to her. That's the main drive that kept me on the main quest. No random stranger I don't have time to kill a monster for you, I have to find my daughter. As a parent it's a strong motivation.
While the story and worldbuilding excelled, the gameplay itself was... fine. It wasn't anything groundbreaking. Almost every gameplay system I touched felt like games that I've played before. They all worked fine but they weren't the main draw of the game for me.
With the storytelling, characters, and worldbuilding I can definitely recommend The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. If you've been on the fence about it maybe it's time to jump in.
The developer, CD Projekt RED, truly impressed me. While I loved the main story and felt driven throughout the entire game, this old medieval style isn't really my favorite setting. But wow did they commit to it and flesh it out into a full world. Imagine my joy to learn that their next game is a Cyberpunk futuristic sci-fi romp. Cyberpunk 2077 was barely on my radar before but now it's staying on my most anticipated games list.