Sure, plenty of places have already called The Witcher 3 one of the greatest games of all time, and they might be right. But PC codes for the epic RPG from CD Projekt Red just went out yesterday, so you’ll have to stomach us getting our review done after the rest of the known world. Today, we’ll go into our thoughts after spending the first couple of hours in Geralt’s final adventure, with the full review coming next week.
I was surprised to find that I can easily run Witcher 3 on Ultra with my set up. Yes, I do have a Geforce 980, but I also have a last generation i5. I think the SSD and 16GB of DDR3 are helping compensate for an i5 that’s below the recommended specs, as I’m still getting 60 frames. I’ve also tested the game on Ultra with my gaming laptop, which uses a more recent i7, a high RPM HDD, 16GB of DDR3, and wields a mobile Geforce 770m. Similar results there as well, with the frames only dropping to around 50 a few times so far.
Stability wise, the game’s been a bit of a mixed bag. While it runs very smooth and load times are speedy, I’ve had a couple of random crashes as well. Once when alt-tabbing out, and once when starting a game of Gwent (the title’s own self-contained card game). I also completely lost sound on one occasion, and the physics of the game have glitched out my horse and random NPCs clothing or armor a few times as well.
I won’t belabor the mechanics of the game here, as I think it’s fair to say that most of the readers of this site know what an open world RPG is about. What I will say is that I’ve played Wild Hunt for about three hours, equally with the controller and the mouse/keyboard combo. Both have their drawbacks: the M/KB makes controlling Geralt in the world a fair share easier, while the controller seems to be better suited to combat and menu browsing. It’s clear that CDPR tried their absolute damnedest to make the game play well across platforms though, and PC gamers won’t be disappointed into thinking this was just another “console first” game.
Combat has been absolutely stellar so far, with subtle improvements over Assassins of Kings that make the whole experience more tactile, while still retaining the need to keep your wits about you. Of course the devs have gone ahead and given players multiple difficulty levels from the most casual to the hardcore of hardcore, with rule changes to meditation and healing at the higher levels.
I loved the original Witcher, despite its issues. The Witcher 2 was a game that I never could sink my teeth all the way into… something about the story and the presentation didn’t ring true. It was too far a departure from the original game. But with Wild Hunt it feels like CD Projekt Red has found a way to merge their original inspirations with the more open and varied world they sought to create in Witcher 2. So far none of the quests feel incidental or needless. Even helping a lady get her prized frying pan back sets fire to a new deeper story hidden in the details. Where say, Dragon Age Inquisition felt content to send you on collection quests, Wild Hunt takes pride in giving weight to even the mundane tasks.
It’s still way too early to assign a score to this one, as we have dozens of hours to go, but so far it feels like The Witcher 3 just might live up to the monstrous amounts of hype being pushed behind the game. There’s definitely little else on my mind right now aside from pressing on with the journey, and that’s a surefire hint that a game has something special.
Stay tuned for our full review late next week.