Game of the Year Intern's Pick: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
What can I say that hasn't already been said about this masterfully crafted RPG? After winning the GOTY award, can we say The Witcher 3 truly deserved it?
CD Project Red showed us that with a little time, even a small developer can make can make big waves in the industry. As someone who has been gaming for over 20 years, I can say with a clear conscience that The Witcher 3 truly deserved the appraise it has gotten.
And in an age of DRM and useless season passes, it's refreshing to see CD Project Red put no DRM on the PC version of the game, released a season pass actually has more content than some standalone games, and they even posted a sincere thank you note to people who were illegally downloading the game from the pirate bay.
So, why do I think The Witcher 3 deserves game of the year?
Anyone who has played The Witcher 3 will recognize that poor fellow above as the Bloody Baron. This is a man who went through hell fighting wars. He developed PTSD and to cope he became an alcoholic. After he learns that his wife was cheating on him, he became violent and started beating her.
It's a back story that's filled with tragedy, and it left many players sympathizing with him. It also left many players hating him even more. There was no clear cut villain in the Baron's story, and that's refreshing. Most RPG's tend to have black and white choices, but The Witcher 3 will constantly have you wondering if you did the right thing.
Maybe I'm too much of an unfeeling robot, but when I'm playing video games I almost never stop to just take a look at what's around me. Sure I do stop to smell the flowers when something is exceedingly beautiful in a game, but it's rare.
I don't know what it was about The Witcher 3, but I found myself constantly stopping what I was doing just to take a look at how amazing the environment is.
Sometimes I would be running through deep woods at night only to reach a hillside clearing with the moon high in the sky, and a beautiful sight of the open forest around me. Sometimes I would be in an open field surrounded by mountains. Sometimes I would be atop those mountains. I just can't believe how beautiful the game looks.
The atmosphere in The Witcher 3 might be the best I've seen in a long time.
While The Witcher 3's combat isn't groundbreaking, it's fluid and smooth enough to stand on its own. When you are fighting humans and smaller monsters, parrying blows and side stepping becomes important to stopping the momentum of your enemies. For bigger monsters quick attacks and dodge rolling will be your best friend. Add some magic spells in there and you have some decent variety.
The soundtrack to this game is astounding. While not every piece nails it, most of the music amplifies the atmosphere around you. The music is unique in its own way compared to most soundtracks, but it fits the world of The Witcher perfectly.
Crafting and Leveling
I feel like if the game falls short anywhere, it's here. The crafting system lacked depth, especially compared to something like Fallout 4's complex crafting. That said, the crafting isn't terrible. It's about what you'd expect from any good RPG.
The talent system provided some unique choices for when you leveled up, but ultimately I felt like it was a wasted opportunity, they could have really made something special with the mutagens and talent choices.
The Witcher 3: Game of the Year
I love all RPGs. I've played everything from Persona to Mass Effect, from Daggerfall to Skyrim. Out of all the RPG's I've played, The Witcher 3 doesn't have the best combat, it doesn't have the best story, it doesn't have the best crafting system. Don't get me wrong. However, those are still great parts of the game.
What makes it better than the rest is how it pulls it all together. I've never played such a cohesive RPG where I feel like I matter to the game world.
The Witcher 3 is such a tight, well-crafted experience, but somehow still manages to be open world and never once does that detract from how it all comes together.
That was my reaction after playing the game, and to call it a video game is misleading, because The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a work of art.