So let start off by saying that I have not finished the game yet, not nearly. As of last night I think I had around 80 hours of time in the game, and considering there is supposed to by 200+ hours of content I would say that is not half way through yet. I’m also still on what can be called “Act 1″ (based on how the strategy guide is laid out). Also, yes I bought the guide, I’m just not using it. I got it because of the goodies that came with the collectors edition version, and for when I play through a second time, because there will be a second time.
If you’re not familiar with the Witcher series of books and games then you might want to brush up. I can’t say I know everything about the series, most of what I know has come from research and a friend that has read all the books and played all the games. I’ve yet to read the books that the games are based on, and I’ve never finished the two previous games in the series, which at some point will need to be remedied.
One of the things I researched before buying the game was whether or not I would need to play the previous games to understand the story for Witcher 3. Everything that I read said that while you didn’t necessarily need to play the games it would certainly help. There is some dialogue in the game that explains the concepts of what witchers are and who the character of Geralt is. The game also has character bios that should fill in the blanks, though I haven’t read them yet. There are a lot of characters in this game, and it does feel a bit daunting at times to keep track, but not that bad compared to some other rpg games.
You do meet plenty of characters that are from the previous games, and possibly the books and it does assume you know who they are. Whenever you meet someone in the game it opens up the bio page for that character in your journal, which I would assume would at least give a brief synopsis of the character and their history with Geralt.
That being said, I think it might be beneficial to play through the other games even if playing through Witcher 3 first. The only thing is that, currently, the first game is only available on PC and the second game on PC & Xbox 360. I had heard rumor that they might re-release in HD, but that is only a rumor at this point. I own the PC version of Witcher 2, but never got very far, mainly because of PC issues and that I don’t care for the Xbox controller. I should also note that I’m playing the PS4 version of this game, not the fancy PC version. Just keep that in mind for anything else I happen to write about this game.
The main lesson I’ve learned while playing the game is that there are no good choices. There are bad choices and their are worse choices. You will often find yourself making a decision that might have far reaching effects on the overall story. The other thing is that this game touches on some things that will make you have to sit and contemplate your action and the possible consequences of them, and even then you might make the “wrong” choice. I can give one example that isn’t really a spoiler, at least not to the story. I’m going to separate it out though so if you want to skip it you can.
[POSSIBLE SPOILER – NOT MAIN STORY BUT A CONTRACT]
While on the Skellige islands I came across a contract to help a man whose son has been afflicted by a curse. You tell the man that there are two possible ways to handle it, the first being that you can try to convince the person to lift the curse OR you can redirect the curse back on that person effectively killing them. After investigating you find that the person who is responsible is the mans ex-girlfriend who he left to be with another woman. Out of spite she placed the curse on the mans son because she felt he shouldn’t exist. The only way she will lift the curse is if the father renounces his family and comes back to her.
You talk to the man again and tell him what is going on. The father says he can’t disown his family because it would sentence them to shame and poverty for the rest of their lives and he can’t do that to them. He asks you to go with the “kill” option so that his son will live. You an still choose not to do this, but I went the kill option. I’m not sure what would happen otherwise, but both are equally “bad” choices. I think killing the woman who was going to kill a child on spite seemed like the rational response, but it is not an easy choice to make. You’re condemning someone to death, which is not a light choice.
So the point of that was, there are no good choices in the game. You are making choices you feel are the right ones, and you have to live with the consequences of your actions. Sure you can reload your save and make a different choice but I personally feel that is like reading a “choose your own adventure” type book and keeping your finger on the first page until you find the “best” choice. This is the first game that I’ve played in a while, if not ever, that I’ve actually had to sit and think about my choices. I’m not using the guide, so I don’t know the “optimal” path, or if there even is one. Some dialogues, the really important ones, even go as far as to give you a timer on you choice. You can’t set the controller down and think about. You have to go with what you think is best.
That is one of the things that I enjoy about the game, and will touch on in another post. The choices you make have serious affects on how the story plays out. A lot of games make this claim but I feel this is one of the few that actually make good on that promise. There are supposedly 36 different endings to this game, and any number of choices can affect that. I want to see how the story ends and then play through again. I might use the guide on the second playthrough to get the “best” ending, but I might not at the same time. With so many different endings to the game you can probably play through multiple times making different choices each time and never get the same ending.
That is the other thing, there is so much to say about this game that I can’t do it in one post. I plan to make several posts about the game. This one is just a simple one, I plan to do one talking about the usual stuff like graphics and gameplay, and at lease one more talking about some tips for playing.
Source: Floor Tank
On Witcher 3 – Characters and Choices